HC Deb 15 March 1883 vol 277 cc546-7

asked the Secretary to the Treasury, Whether General James, lately appointed Assistant Commissioner of the Board of Works, Ireland, to take charge of the loans to Irish tenants for improvement of their holdings, is a superannuated English officer of Engineers; whether such officer, General James, has had any special opportunities of becoming acquainted with the wants of Irish tenants in relation to their holdings, or whether there are any special grounds for his selection as Assistant Commissioner; and, if he has not had such experience, what are the special grounds upon which he was selected to fill the post?


Colonel James was an officer of Royal Engineers who elected to receive retired pay when his period of service in Ireland as Commanding Royal Engineer expired. On retirement, he was allowed the rack of Major General. He was for 13 years on the Ordnance Survey, and has been specially employed on other analogous duties, and in 1879 and 1880 he was selected to assist the Irish Board of Works in examining works presented for the purpose of affording relief during the earlier period of distress, and subsequently in expediting the works of land improvement, for which loans had been granted to proprietors. On the passing of the Land Act, 1881, his services were again sought for by the Board of Works, in order that his experience in connection with the distress works might be taken advantage of to expedite the arrangements for granting loans to tenants. I do not understand what the hon. Member means by "special opportunities of becoming acquainted with the wants of Irish tenants in relation to their holdings;" but from his past experience and efficiency, I conceive that the appointment of Major General James is a very proper one.