HC Deb 21 February 1888 vol 322 cc990-1
MR. BYRNE (Wicklow, W.)

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether it is true that two years ago the Rathdrum Board of Guardians appointed a solicitor under the Labourers' Act at a remuneration of £160 a-year, determinable at three months' notice; how many cottages have been sanctioned by the Guardians, how many have been erected, and how much money has been paid to the solicitor for his services; whether, in consequence of the persistent delay and negligence of the solicitor so appointed, he was dismissed by the Board on the 1st day of February; whether advertisements were then issued by the Guardians, inviting other solicitors to send in proposals for the vacant office; whether, although a number of highly-qualified solicitors sent in proposals to the meeting of the Guardians on the 15th instant, the solicitor so previously dismissed for gross negligence was, by the votes of the ex officio Guardians, as against an equal number of the elected Guardians, retained to conduct the proceedings under the Labourers' Act; whether the Local Government Board (Ireland) will sanction the retention of this official; and, whether he is aware that during the same period the Wexford Union has completed 190 cottages?

THE PARLIAMENTARY UNDER SECRETARY (Colonel KING-HARMAN)(who replied) (Kent, Isle of Thanet)

said: It appears from the Report of the Clerk to the Rathdrum Union that the facts are substantially as stated in the first, third, fourth, and seventh paragraphs of the Question, except that the rate of salary was £165 a-year, and the date of removal from office the 20th of January last. The solicitor, however, alleged that his delay was caused by a failure of one of the Guardians' officers to furnish him with certain necessary information; 85 cottages have been sanctioned, 10 erected, and two are in course of erection. The amount of salary payable for the period to the solicitor was £316 5s. Seven solicitors, including the former holder of the office, applied for the vacancy in response to an advertisement; and on the 15th of February the latter was re-elected by a majority of one vote, apparently on the ground that his terms were the lowest, and that it would be undesirable to change solicitors during proceedings still pending; 20 Guardians voted for him, six of whom were elected Guardians. The Guardians' Minutes relative to this re-election did not reach the Local Government Board until Saturday last. They will give the matter their careful consideration.