HC Deb 08 May 1884 vol 287 cc1685-6

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If his attention has been drawn to the censure which, in 1882, was passed on Mr. Bernard Manning, who had presided as returning officer at the election of Poor Law Guardians in Rathdrum Union, by the Local Government Board, in the following terms:— You will see from the enclosed letter that the Board have arrived at the conclusion that Mr. Crofton (the Conservative candidate) did not obtain a majority of valid votes, and was not duly elected, and that an order for a new election will he issued; in making this communication to you, the Board cannot avoid expressing their regret that, after having acted for so many years as returning officer, you should have exhibited such ignorance of the Law governing the election of Poor Law guardians, and the Board trust that what has occurred will cause you to discharge your duties as returning officer more correctly, and with greater efficiency, in future; whether at the recent election Mr. Manning failed to perform his duties correctly by omitting to issue voting papers to two, if not more. National voters in the Kilcoole electoral division; whether in the Altidore electoral division he received a number of votes on the Conservative side, the signatures or initialing of which did not correspond with the rate book, and decided that the objections raised on the part of the National candidates were valueless; whether such ruling is correct; and, whether, in future, some competent and impartial person will be appointed to preside at elections of Poor Law Guardians in the county of Wicklow?


More than a year ago I fully explained to the hon. Member the views of the Local Government Board with regard to the election of 1882, to which the first three paragraphs of his Question refers; and last week I stated that the Returning Officer admitted that by an oversight—which, however, had no effect on the result of the election—he had omitted to issue voting papers to two voters in the Kilcoole electoral division. The Local Government Board now inform me that in the Altidore electoral division objections have been lodged on behalf of the defeated candidate to some votes recorded for his opponent, and that they are investigating the complaint; but are not yet in a position to arrive at a decision about it. At present the Board do not see sufficient cause to supersede the Returning Officer in the discharge of his duties.