HC Deb 31 March 1847 vol 91 cc674-5

was anxious to take the opportunity of correcting an inaccuracy in the statement which was made by him the other day with regard to the operation of the rule reducing twenty per cent of the men employed on the public works in Ireland. He, on that occasion, stated correctly that the directions issued from the Government in England were that a reduction of twenty per cent should be made upon the aggregate number of persons employed on the public works; and then proceeded to state that a discretionary power was left with the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and the Board of Works to apply that rule of reduction in such manner as to them should seem best; reducing in some cases more than twenty per cent, and in others less, according to their own discretion, provided they adhered to the principle that the reduction made on the aggregate should be twenty per cent. He found that the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland did not conceive that any discretion was, or ought to have been, left to him; but he conceived that it was, and ought to be, left to the Board of Works, as acting under the Treasury, and not under the Lord Lieutenant. He made the statement which he was now desirous of correcting, because, although there was no express authority for doing so, yet the Board of Works was in the habit of communicating with the Lord Lieutenant. The Lord Lieutenant, however, was of opinion that, under the particular circumstances, he ought not to exercise any discretion, but that the order having been made by the Treasury, and issued to the Board of Works, both the discretion and the responsibility for exercising it should rest upon the board, and not upon him. He thought it due to the Lord Lieutenant to make this statement, because what he stated on a former occasion, when not fully aware of all the circumstances, was certainly calculated to leave a false impression on the mind of the House. He thought the Lord Lieutenant had exorcised a sound judgment in this matter, and that under the particular circumstances of the case it was for the Board of Works to exercise their discretion in carrying out the rule, and that the Lord Lieutenant judged rightly in leaving the matter altogether to the Board of Works, acting under the direction of the Treasury in London. In point of fact, the discretion was given to and exercised by the Board of Works in Ireland without reference to the Lord Lieutenant.


considered the decision of the Lord Lieutenant a sound and wise one. He was happy to be able to state that the discretion exercised by the Board of Works in his own locality had given very general satisfaction.