HC Deb 16 July 1885 vol 299 cc903-4

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether he will inquire into the case of poor rate collector Philip Doyle, against Richard Fenton, receiver under the Court of Chancery over the estate of Mrs. Courtney, heard at Tinahely Petty Sessions on the 1st instant; whether it it is true that the presiding magistrate was induced by Dr. Toomey, the solicitor acting for Mrs. Courtney, to dismiss the case, on the grounds that the agent, Mr. Fenton, was not liable, and could not be sued for rates; whether Dr. Toomey, who acted for Mrs. Courtney, also acts as solicitor to the Board of Guardians; whether the Board were specially represented by a solicitor on that occasion; and, if not, why; and, whether the magistrate was justified in the action he took under the circumstances?

The hon. Member also had the following Questions upon the Paper:—"Whether he will inquire into the circumstances under which Dr. Toomey, Solicitor to the Grand Jury of the county Wicklow, at Tinahely Petty Sessions, on the 1st instant, advised the High Constable of the barony of South Balli-nacor to return the farm lately held by Peter Fleming, as being in bankruptcy; whether Dr. Toomey was acting as solicitor for Mrs. Courtney, as well as for the Grand Jury; and, whether the payment of the county cess was evaded by the course adopted?"

"And, if he is aware of the fact that Mr. Richard Fenton, agent for Mr. Fitzwilliam Dick, and also under the Court of Chancery, in the county Wicklow, has recently refused to pay the Poor Rate on holdings valued under four pounds, and, when the tenants have themselves paid, has refused to allow the whole Poor Rate to any who hold their farms at a rent under the amount of the Poor Law valuation; and, whether any, and what steps can be taken to guard against the consequent disfranchisement of the people?"


I will answer together, so far as I am able, this Question and the two following. In the first place, I am advised that Mr. Fenton, being merely a receiver under the Court of Chancery, was not liable to be sued for the poor rates or county cess in question; and that the magistrates took the legal course in dismissing the cases. I am informed, in the second place, that Mr. Toomey was not acting for Mrs. Courtney, nor otherwise engaged in the cases; and that the Guardians were not concerned in the case, as the poor rate collector was acting on his own responsibility. I have no control over Mr. Toomey, nor any means of inquiring into the circumstances in which he gave any advice to the high constable of the barony; but I am informed that the high constable is about to proceed for recovering the county cess. Thirdly, I have no means of ascertaining the nature of the dealings of Mr. Fenton and the tenants as to the payment of poor rates.