HC Deb 26 July 1883 vol 282 c533

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, What determination the Land Commission have come to with regard to the charge of fraud under the Arrears Act brought against the Dublin Collector General of Rates; if he is to be prosecuted; and, whether the Government intend to retain this official in a position of great financial responsibility? He also asked whether the right hon. Gentleman had the admission of Mr. Byrne that he did antedate the tenants' receipts; and, whether, although Mr. Byrne denies that he had anything to do as principal with these affairs, as a matter of fact the whole of the tenants' applications were not in Mr. Byrne's own handwriting?


Sir, the case, undoubtedly, is very suspicious, and Mr. Byrne has made admissions which are against him. I cannot, however, say that he has admitted all which the hon. Member has referred to. The Land Commissioners have prepared a statement of the facts, with a view to the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown being taken on some points. As I stated in reply to a former Question, under the circumstances I cannot prejudge the case by making a statement upon it.


Might I ask, apart from the prosecution or non-prosecution of Mr. Byrne, which is a matter that concerns the Land Commission, whether there is not another very grave question for the Executive, and that is the retention of Mr. Byrne in his office of Collector General, seeing that £1,000,000 from the ratepayers of Dublin passes annually through his hands? I will ask the right hon. Gentleman, at a later stage, whether the attention of the Lord Lieutenant has been called to this view of the matter?


Most certainly. The Government, as the responsible authority, is bound to inform themselves in the very fullest manner about it. I cannot prejudge it more than any other question.