HC Deb 21 June 1888 vol 327 cc800-2
MR. COX (Clare, E.)

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether it is the rule or usage of the Local Government Board to dismiss, by sealed order, Poor Law officials in Ireland, without any previous communication with the Local Board of Guardians; what offence was Mr. Patrick Loughry, rate collector in the Tulla Union, charged with, which resulted in a sentence of 14 days' imprisonment, for which he was dismissed by sealed order of the Local Government Board; what was the date of his trial, and the date of his dismissal; whether it is a fact that the Guardians have advertised for a successor to Mr. Loughry, that no candidate has presented himself, and that no rates are being collected in the five Divisions formerly under his charge; whether he is aware that in consequence of this the Tulla Board of Guardians have been compelled to refuse out-door relief to applicants for it, and that the duties thrown upon poor rate collectors in Ireland under the Franchise Act are undischarged in this district, and a large number of electors thereby disfranchised; and, whether he will lay upon the Table the Correspondence between the Guardians and the Local Government Board on the subject of Mr. Loughry's dismissal?


The Local Government Board have occasionally acted as indicated, the case being one which they deemed it right to take entirely into their own hands, and to deal with without consulting the Guardians, and for which they have full statutable authority. Loughry appears to have been prosecuted under the ordinary law, on January 23, for taking part in an unlawful assembly. He was dismissed on April 5. It is a fact that the Guardians have advertised for a successor, with the result stated. The Local Inspector reports that the Guardians have been able to give almost no out-door relief since October, 1887; but this has been owing to the general financial condition of the Union, and not to the cessation in the collection in the district referred to. The duties under the Franchise Act are not being discharged in the particular district. I am, however, advised that payment of rates to any person authorized by the Guardians to receive them will have the effect of preventing disfranchisement; and that it would be lawful for them to authorize the Clerk of the Union to receive rates which may be tendered to him before July 1 from the collecting district which is vacant.


May I ask whether in the case of Wilson, the Clerk of the Limerick Union, the Local Government Board refused to dismiss him, after they had become aware that his accounts were inaccurate to the extent of £200, until they first consulted the Guardians; and with respect to this case of Loughry, I wish to ask whether the unlawful assembly was simply a meet of the hunt of the local harriers; and, also, whether the real offence was on his receiving a forged letter from Head-Constable O'Callaghan, enclosing £10 as a bribe if he would give certain information to the police, that he instead sent the money to the Tenants' Defence Fund?


With regard to the Question about the Limerick Union, the hon. Gentleman will be good enough to put it on the Paper. With regard to the Question about Loughry, his offence was not simply hunting with the local harriers. Neither, as far as I know, was any cognizance taken of the incident of the letter to which the hon. Gentleman refers. I am totally ignorant of the circumstances, the accuracy of which I greatly doubt.


said, the right hon. Gentleman had not answered the first paragraph of the Question; whether it is the rule of order or usage for the Local Government Board to dismiss by sealed order without consulting the Guardians; or whether, if the right hon. Gentleman would refuse to publish the Correspondence or lay it upon the Table, he would state if it was a fact that the Guardians at the meeting refused to deem it their duty to let the Local Government Board know that it was the belief of the Guardians that no eligible person would apply for the office so long as the sealed order with Mr. Balfour's signature to it remained in force?


said, he had no knowledge on the subject; but if the hon. Gentleman put a Notice on the Paper he would inquire.

SIR WILFRID LAWSON (Cumberland, Cockermouth)

Would the right hon. Gentleman have any objection to state what the unlawful assembly was?


Sir, I cannot give full information on the point; but I can say that the unlawful assembly was of an intimidatory character directed to tenants.

MR. T. M. HEALY (Longford, N.)

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman—


Order, order!