HC Deb 28 May 1886 vol 306 cc308-9
MR. CRILLY (Mayo, N.)

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If the attention of the Local Government Board has been called to the Belfast newspaper reports of the proceedings of the Belfast Board of Guardians at their meeting of the 16th March 1886, in which Mr. Mitchell, one of the members, made a report against John Y. Brown's conduct, as contractor for the hardware to the union for the year ending 25th March 1886; is it true that Brown supplied goods inferior to sample (previous to his arrangement in bankruptcy) and as a part of his contract; is it a fact that sometimes bogus invoices were delivered to the workhouse master, as well as invoices on which no prices were set forth; is it true, as the master stated, that Brown delivered goods frequently without orders from any person in authority, and that he (the master) received them into stock, and passed the accounts to the guardians for payment, and which payments Brown duly received until the irregularities were detected, and the frauds exposed by Mr. Mitchell, has the extent of the impositions been as yet ascertained; and, if so, have the contractor or his sureties been made accountable to the ratepayers; is it true that Mr. Hamilton, the Poor Law Inspector, delivered a panegyric on the management of the Belfast Workhouse in his last half-yearly report to the guardians, and made no reference to this apparent collusion between Brown and the master; and, will the Local Government Board institute any inquiry into his case?


Mr. Speaker, this matter, I understand, has been under investigation by a Committee of the Guardians, and the result has been that the only substantial fault to be found is that certain goods supplied by Brown outside his contract, but on proper authority, were shown to have been overcharged for. The amount of the overcharge is £2. Mr. Brown explained that the reason was that the usual trade discount was not allowed. The account was not paid, and it was ordered that this amount be deducted from it. The Master denies having made any such statement as is attributed to him. It is quite true that the Inspector spoke favourably of the general management of the workhouse.