HC Deb 12 June 1890 vol 345 cc704-6
MR. M'CARTAN (Down, S.)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, with reference to the alleged increased business and insufficient staff in the Registry of Deeds Office, Ireland, whether his attention has been called to the letter of Mr. James T. Ellis, Public Record Searcher, which appeared in the Freeman's Journal, of 8th May last; whether, as therein stated, the number of deeds registered for the five years, 1880 to end of 1884, was 78,900, and for the five years, 1885–9, the number was 81,600; whether he is aware that of the 2,700 deeds registered in excess of the number given for the 'previous five years, the greater portion is made up of Land Commission Deeds, which, owing to the number of granting parties, involve greatly increased work in the preparation of index books; whether it is correct, as stated by Mr. Ellis, that in the six index letters quoted in his letter there are 797 pages for the five years ending 1884, and that this number increased to 1,252 for the five years ending 1889; at what date will the consolidated indexes for the years 1880–89 be available for public use; and whether, considering the complaints which are made as to the insufficient staff, he will have it adequately increased, or have the seven hours' scheme of attendance applied?


My attention had not been called to Mr. Ellis's letter until this question was put on the Paper. Mr. Ellis, though described as a Public Record Searcher, has, I believe, no official connection with the Registry of Deeds. The duties of the Registry and the staff required for their performance formed the subject of inquiry by a thoroughly competent Committee in 1885, and the present staff is considerably in excess of the number which the Committee recommended as sufficient for the proper discharge of all the work of the Department. There is no intention to increase the number of the staff; but I hope that the rule requiring a regular daily attendance of seven hours in the Registry will be very shortly introduced. I cannot say when the consolidated indices for the period from 1880 to 1889 will be completed; but I am not satisfied with the progress which has been made since 1885, nor am I satisfied that the work of the Office is discharged as promptly as it could be. I am considering the best means of securing the completion of these indices, and if it be found necessary to afford some temporary assistance in order to effect this object at an early date the Treasury will give the necessary sanction.