§ MR. BIGGAR
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether a number of appointments, temporary or otherwise, have been made, within the past five years, upon the Staff of the Board of Public Works in Ireland; whether any public notification of such appointments being about to be made was previously given; or whether any such appointments were subject to competitive examination; whether it is a fact that persons of little or no pre- 1477 vious training or qualifications have been so appointed to act in matters of engineering, surveying, land improvement, drainage, buildings, loans, reporting, &c.; whether it is a fact that, while persons with little or no previous training, professional skill, or qualifications, have been so appointed, qualified men, some of whom had taken out their degrees and diploma of civil engineering in Trinity College, Dublin, and in the Queen's University, have been unable to obtain such employment under the said Board; and, whether he has any objection to lay upon the Table of the House a Return of all such persons appointed or employed on the Board of Works Staff within the past five years; showing whether temporary or permanent, the dates of appointment, and age then, their pay and allowances, the nature of their employment, and a description of their previously ascertained qualifications?
§ MR. COURTNEY
I understand the hon. Member to refer to the Engineers' and Surveyors' Department of the Board of Works. A considerable number of persons have in recent years been appointed to temporary offices in these branches of the Department without advertisement or examination, which are not required for such posts. The selection has been very carefully made by the Board out of a large number of applicants, and they see no reason to doubt that the best men were selected; certainly, none were appointed who were not qualified by training and experience. It is obviously impossible to answer specifically such general charges as those made by the hon. Member; but if he will bring any particular case before me privately I will make inquiries about it. There is no objection to lay the Return asked for on the Table; but at present I see no justification for incurring the expense of doing so.