HC Deb 29 March 1886 vol 304 cc92-3
MR. SEXTON (Sligo, S.)

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, with regard to the opinion given by the late Attorney General for Ireland, that the Collector General of Rates for the city of Dublin was entitled to make in the rate books of the city the alteration which he has made in the rate books for the current year, by adding a column for occupiers not liable for payment of rates, Under what circumstances the opinion of the late Attorney General was sought for, and whether it was given by him in his capacity as a Law Officer of the Crown; whether the present Attorney General for Ireland has been consulted on this question, and whether his opinion agrees with that attributed to the late Attorney General; whether portions of the English Rates Act of 1869, and of the English Registration Act of 1878, incorporated with "The Representation of the People Act, 1884," direct that occupiers, whether liable for payment of the rates or not, be returned for every qualification dependent upon rating; whether at the current revision of the lists of Poor Law voters in Dublin, the Revising Barrister, notwithstanding the provisions cited, is excluding from the Poor Law franchise occupiers not liable for payment of rates; and, what steps will be taken to prevent the disfranchisement of thousands of occupiers in Dublin, and to execute the purpose expressed in the Franchise Act?

THE CHIEF SECRETARY (Mr. JOHN MORLEY) (Newcastle - on - Tyne)

The opinion of the late Attorney General was obtained from him in his capacity as Law Officer. As I mentioned before, on that particular matter, both he and the present Solicitor General, and Mr. Carton, Q.C., have given an opinion in accordance with that given by several other eminent counsel, that the Franchise Act of 1884 does not apply to the Poor Law franchise. The matter can only be solved by a legal decision, which can be readily obtained in the Courts of Law.