HC Deb 09 August 1883 vol 282 cc2077-8

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If he is aware that the Grand Jury of Wicklow passed a Resolution requiring the county surveyor to give notice to contractors of the time he intends to inspect their work, and also to give them notice in writing of his objections, if any, to the way in which the work is done whether the county surveyor of Wicklow has not only not complied with the Resolution, but has withheld payment on the mere report of his subordinates; whether he could ascertain if it is a common occurrence for contractors to appeal to individual members of the Grand Jury, who know the state of the roads in their districts, to intercede with the county surveyor to get paid; and, whether there is any legal redress for contractors who fulfil their contracts, when a county surveyor refuses to return their work for payment on the report of his assistant, and without discharging the duty for which he is paid by personally inspecting it?


Sir, I have received Reports on this subject both from the Secretary to the Grand Jury and the county surveyor, and I am informed that the facts are substantially as stated in the Question. The resolution of the Grand Jury has not been complied with, because it is not found practicable, and it is in direct opposition to an important provision of the contract for the different works; and I must say also that I think it is likewise in opposition to the Resolutions regarding the inspection of all public works. Its withdrawal has been recommended by a Committee appointed at the last Assizes to consider it, and whose Report will be laid before the Grand Jury at the next Assizes. It is distinctly stated in the specification that no notice will be given of the time of inspection. The county surveyor ap- pears, from his oepnrt, to object very much to the kind of interference mentioned in the third paragraph, and I presume he is not influenced by it. As a matter of course, the county surveyor is frequently obliged to depend on the Reports made to him by his assistants. With regard to this, and the last paragraph of the Question, the Secretary to the Grand Jury reports as follows:— There being 1,200 miles of road in the county, both the county surveyor and his assistants (who are appointed for this purpose, and paid by the county) are continually engaged in inspecting the same. … Any contractor who believes he is wrongfully refused payment can bring the matter before the Grand Jury at Assizes, when the subject will be investigated; and full directions to this effect are printed in the beginning of the Abstract of Presentments, which is distributed to contractors twice every year; but in no instance since the county surveyor was appointed have contractors thought it necessary to avail themselves of such redress.