HC Deb 24 July 1876 vol 230 cc1812-3

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland, If it is true that the master of the South Dublin Workhouse has been allowed by the Local Government Board to retain his place although deficiencies, amounting to about £2,500, had been detected in his accounts by the auditor, and although the Board had twice directed the guardians to get the master's resignation; whether the Local Government Board has any other reasons to give for its action than those contained in its letter to the guardians of the South Dublin Union; and, whether he, as chairman of the Board, has sanctioned its action in this instance?


Sir, considerable errors, both in the way of deficiencies and surplus, amounting altogether to a deficiency, not of £2,500, but of £800, were discovered by the auditor in the accounts of the South Dublin Workhouse; and these errors were attributed by the auditor to bad book-keeping on the part of the master, and to the neglect of the Guardians to take stock effectually for several years, during which the errors had accumulated. The Local Government Board, therefore, expressed an opinion to the Guardians to the effect that the master had failed to exercise competent supervision in regard to his assistants; and, in a further communication, while acquitting him of all dishonesty, requested the Guardians to require his resignation, on the ground that he was not equal to the management of so large an establishment. The Guardians at a very full meeting declined, by a majority of 21 to 6, to call on the master to resign, believing that he would exhibit greater efficiency in the future. The Local Government Board then had to decide whether they should remove the master by sealed order—a course seldom adopted where there is no fraud or dishonesty, neither of which were at all imputed to the master in this case. He had been for five years in office, and shown himself a good master in every other respect but in keeping the accounts. The Board, under these circumstances, did not feel justified in taking so stringent a course, but decided on allowing him another trial; and this decision was received with unanimous satisfaction by the Guardians, those who had voted against the master in the first instance openly expressing themselves to that effect. As President of the Local Government Board, I see no reason which would justify me in taking exception to the decision at which my Colleagues have arrived.