§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether his attention has been directed to the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General on Vote 28, Class III., of the Civil Service Estimates of 1886–7; whether the illegal payments therein referred to still continue to be made; who is the officer referred to whose salary and expenses were still continued as private secretary to the Special Commissioner to the South of Ireland, after that office had been abolished; and, is that officer still drawing a salary and allowances; and, if so, in what capacity?
THE PARLIAMENTARY UNDER SECRETARY (Colonel KING-HARMAN)(who replied) (Kent, Isle of Thanet)
said: My attention has been called to the Report referred to. The payments in question continue to be made. The hon. Member is probably aware that the Irish Government took steps in 33 former Sessions to define the position of the Divisional Magistrates by legislation; but were prevented from carrying the measure. They now propose to introduce a Bill dealing with the matter in the course of the present Session. Colonel Turner, the officer referred to, is still drawing a salary and allowances in the capacity of a Divisional Magistrate for the counties of Kerry and Clare.
§ MR. DILLON
Do I understand the right hon. and gallant Gentleman to say that, in spite of the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General, the Government have for the last 18 months been making an illegal payment, and that they propose to continue to do so, whether the Bill referred to is passed or not?
§ COLONEL KING-HARMAN
I cannot allow it to pass without argument that the payments are illegal. We have had high legal opinion to the contrary. They certainly have been made legal for the past year by the Appropriation Bill.