HC Deb 08 May 1884 vol 287 cc1684-5

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If it is true that the conduct of Mr. James Hopkins, the returning officer at an election of Poor Law Guardians for the Shillelagh Union in 1883, was censured by the Local Government Board, and the election declared void, on the ground that he illegally refused to receive the nomination paper of a National candidate; whether, at the late election of a Guardian for Ballinglen Electoral Division, he allowed a greater number of votes to Earl Fitzwilliam than he was entitled to, and thus returned Mr. James, the Conservative candidate; whether the election has, consequently, been declared void by the Local Government Board, and a new election ordered; whether the election for the Tinahely Electoral Division, when Mr. Haydon, the National candidate, was defeated by allowing a greater number of votes for Earl Fitzwilliam than lawful, has also been declared void, and a new election ordered; whether, as President of the Local Government Board, he will take steps to have the National candidates declared duly elected; and, whether he will adopt some way of having elections of Poor Law Guardians in the county Wicklow impartially carried out?


On the 18th of June last I fully explained to the hon. Member the result of the sworn inquiry held with regard to the disputed election of last year—namely, that the election was declared void; but that the Returning Officer was absolved from any graver charge than want of care. It is the case that at the Ballinglen and Tinahely elections this year the Returning Officer allowed to Earl Fitzwilliam a greater number of votes than he was legally entitled to, and that the result of the elections was affected thereby. The Local Government Board have, therefore, declared these elections void, and new elections will be ordered; but they have no power to comply with the suggestion that the defeated candidates should be declared duly elected. In these cases the Returning Officer acted under a misapprehension as to the law on a somewhat complicated and difficult point; but there is no reason to believe that he did wrong intentionally, and the Local Government Board do not think the circumstance shows any sufficient cause for placing the election in other hands.