HC Deb 26 August 1886 vol 308 cc532-3

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether about ninety-five per cent. of the money advanced under the Seeds Bill has been repaid, and if the collection of the remaining five per cent. is attended with considerable difficulties to the unions responsible for it; whether the information in his possession shows that these difficulties are caused partly by the fact that the inhabitants of the unions in debt are poorer than the average, and partly because the magistrates at Petty Sessions have some doubt as to their jurisdiction, owing to the lapse of time, while the Quarter Sessions, who have jurisdiction, require proof of delivery; and, if, under these circumstances, he would inquire as to what portion of the balance is fairly recoverable, and if he would request the Local Government Board to see if an arrangement could be made by which, on the unions paying a share of the balance owing, the remainder might be wiped out and the account closed?


Between 92 and 93 per cent of the loan has been repaid. In many cases the difficulty in obtaining payment has arisen rather from indisposition on the part of the recipients of the seed than from positive inability to pay for what they received. No doubt, the inhabitants of some of the Unions still in debt are poorer than in Unions where the rate has been fully paid up; but there would be evident objections to selecting any particular Unions with a view to remission. I am not aware of any reason for such a doubt on the part of magistrates with regard to their jurisdiction as is suggested. Magistrates are bound by law to adjudicate on poor rate cases "at any time after the date of the warrant authorizing the collection." As for proof of delivery, the signed receipts of the recipients have been produced when asked for, but the Local Government Board are not aware of any general demand of this kind. My Predecessor in Office announced last March a concession on the part of the Treasury by which the uncollected balance will not be pressed for until the month of April next year.