HC Deb 10 July 1879 vol 248 cc16-7

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Whether, in connection with the fact that by letter, dated the 18th of June, in reply to a letter from the Corporation of Dublin, dated the 22nd of April, he informed the Corporation that the law advisers to the Crown in Ireland were of opinion, that the Parliamentary and Municipal Elections Act of 1875 did not extend to Ireland, he is aware that serious confusion and doubts have arisen as to the procedure to be adopted in municipal elections in Ireland, and that the Corporation of Dublin are advised that they must, if this opinion of the law advisers be correct, revert to the procedure with regard to nominations prescribed by the Municipal Corporations Act of 1859, long since repealed as regards England; whether he is aware that a candidate has been nominated by a single burgess, and the nomination in pursuance of this advice accepted as valid, that no effective means appear to exist for testing the validity of nominations, that a candidate may nominate himself, that nominations and elections must take place so rapidly after the occurrence of a vacancy as to be a cause of public complaint, and to deprive the burgesses of reasonable opportunity of selection; and, whether he will take steps during the present Session to assimilate the procedure with reference to municipal and parliamentary elections and nominations in Ireland to that prescribed for England and Wales by the Act of 1875, or otherwise to remove the inconveniences which at present exist?


Yes, Sir; it is the case that the Law Officers have expressed the opinion that the Municipal Elections Act, 1875, does not apply to Ireland; but the hon. Gentleman is in error in alluding to that Act as the Parliamentary and Municipal Elections Act of 1875, since the Act in question was one passed by a private Member, and has no reference to Parliamentary elections. As to an assimilation of the law in Ireland to that prevailing in England, should be prepared to introduce a short Bill with that object, provided that had reason to think it would not lead to discussion and Amendments extending beyond the proposal for extending the English Act to Ireland. If, however, it is to give rise to any controversy, should not feel justified in attempting to deal with the matter at all in the present state of Public Business.