§ MR. FINUCANE (Limerick, E.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether Mr. Drury, Local Government Auditor, recently surcharged three of the Limerick Guardians the sum of £9 1s. 6d.; 1380 whether this surcharge is the result of an order made by the Limerick Guardians nearly two years ago directing Mr. John Ryan, solicitor to the Board, to take the necessary legal steps to prosecute 12 armed policemen who invaded the Limerick Workhouse grounds and who refused to leave when ordered to do so by the Guardians; whether the order directed Mr. Ryan to engage special counsel; whether he is aware that Mr. Ryan's bill of costs was taxed, and only reduced by £1, and that Mr. Ryan was obliged to engage special counsel at a fee of £20, and whether that was the exact fee paid by the Government to Mr. Carson in all prosecutions under the Criminal Law and Procedure (Ireland) Act; and whether the powers of an auditor are limited to ascertaining whether any order of a Board of Guardians involving expenditure is illegal or not; and, if not illegal, whether the expenditure is in excess of what ought to be paid?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The facts are as stated in the first paragraph, with the exception that the amount surcharged was £9 6s. 6d. The surcharge was in connection with a resolution adopted by the Board of Guardians in October, 1887, for the prosecution of a party of police for entering the workhouse grounds and refusing to leave. This attendance of the police was, it appears, in consequence of a request made by one of the Guardians, a magistrate, and that police protection had been afforded at previous meetings at the desire of the Guardians themselves. The direction was that the solicitor employ counsel as he may deem fit in the case. The case came before Petty Sessions, and the sergeant in command was fined one farthing for trespass. The original bill of costs was not taxed; but a second one was prepared and submitted to taxation by Mr. Ryan, which, however, the auditor felt himself unable to recognize. The auditor reduced the fee from 20 guineas to 15 guineas, and likewise made some other disallowances to the amount of £4 1s. 6d. I understand that no fixed fee is paid to Mr. Carson, the amount being measured according to the magnitude of the case. The auditor has full power to strike out all charges he may deem illegal or unfounded, and also reduce such as he may deem to be exorbitant.