HC Deb 21 April 1884 vol 287 cc129-30

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, with reference to a statement made in an official communication by the returning officer of Sligo Union to the Local Government Board—namely, that he had no knowledge of Mr. Thomas Simpson, one of the candidates in the election of a guardian for the Drumcliffe West electoral division, having illegally taken away the voting papers of persons entitled to vote for the said division, Whether it is true that, on the 21st ultimo, the day before the scrutiny, Mrs. Mary Currid, a person entitled to vote for the said division, declared to the said returning officer, in the Board room of the Union, and in the presence of the Rev. J. C. Madden, C.C. of Castletown, Drumcliffe, that Mr. Thomas Simpson had taken away her voting paper against her will, and against her demand and protest, and, on the next evening, had given her the paper of another voter; whether, upon this statement, it was the duty of the returning officer to declare Mr. Simpson disqualified and the other candidate elected, or to report to the Local Government Board, with a view to proceedings against Mr. Simpson, under 1 and 2 Vic. cap. 56, sec. 99, and 6 and 7 Vic. cap. 92, sec. 25; whether any steps have been taken by the Local Government Board, or by the returning officer, to initiate such proceedings or to take the evidence of Mrs. Currid and the Rev. Mr; Madden; and, whether the other candidate has been declared elected, or a new election has been ordered?


The Returning Officer has reported to the Local Government Board that Mrs. Currid did not make the statement that Mr. Simpson had taken away her voting paper forcibly; but that she did state that Mr. Simpson had not given her back the proper voting paper, and that the policeman would not take the paper she tendered to him, as it did not bear the number of that given to her. Mr. Simpson had a majority of 23 votes, and the Local Government Board do not think that it was the duty of the Returning Officer to declare him disqualified, and the other candidate elected, on the statement of Mrs. Currid referred to. Nor was he bound to report the conversation or complaint to the Board, when the votes alluded to could not in any way affect the return. The Local Government Board have informed the defeated candidate that if he has any evidence to support an objection to the right of Mr. Simpson to act as a Guardian by reason of his not having obtained a majority of valid votes, they are willing to inquire into the circumstances; but it is not their practice to institute proceedings under Section 25 of 6 & 7 Vict. c. 92. It is open to any person who may feel aggrieved to take proceedings under that section.