HC Deb 07 July 1868 vol 193 cc827-8

, on rising to put a Question to the Chancellor of the Exchequer respecting the amount levied off the Irish counties by compulsory presentment under the head of Audit, referred to the circumstances under which Mr. Anthony Blake was appointed to the office of Chief Remembrancer under the Act of Parliament passed in 1833. In his opinion compulsory presentments had been levied off the Irish counties in a very unconstitutional manner. For works on the Shannon, which had not effected the objects for which they had been undertaken, as much as £300,000 had been so levied. He hoped his right hon. Friend would state how much had been levied for audit expenses. He would beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, For how many years the sum of £500 a year, part of the amount levied off the Irish counties by compulsory presentment under the head of Audit, has been placed to the credit of the Consolidated Fund; and, whether it is intended to appropriate the accumulated sum towards developing the resources of Ireland?


said, that in answer to the first Question of the right hon. Gentleman he had to say that the money referred to had been paid into the Consolidated Fund since the Act passed authorizing such payment, which was in 1843. There was an Act passed in the first year of the present reign to provide for the audit of accounts in Ireland, and a fee of not exceeding 5s. per hundred was to be paid to constitute a fee fund. The Lord Lieutenant could charge on that fund any expenses necessary for carrying out the Act; and it was provided that the expense of auditing the Treasurer's accounts should be borne by the counties. In 1843 an Act was passed having relation to the offices of Chief and Second Remembrancers in Ireland; and since the passing of that Act the duties formerly discharged by one of the Remembrancers in regard to auditing the accounts, for the audit of which the fees were levied, had been performed by one of the Masters in Chancery, who was paid out of the Consolidated Fund. It seemed not unreasonable, therefore, that the respective counties should in respect of the audit, contribute to the Consolidated Fund a sum equal to that which they formerly paid to the Remembrancer. He was not aware that there was any accumulation from those fees. If his right hon. Friend could show that there was, he would have the matter inquired into. He could, however, assure his right hon. Friend that the Consolidated Fund was a considerable loser by the offices of the Court of Chancery in Ireland, as the fees received from them did not amount to the sum which had to be provided for those offices.


said, he did not think the explanation of the Chancellor of the Exchequer satisfactory. The Master in Chancery who audited the accounts referred to only received the same salary as the other Masters of the same Court.