§ MR. ROCHE (Galway, E.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that Mr. Timothy Clarke is at present undergoing a sentence of three months' imprisonment in consequence of his signing the Relieving Officer's book, in his capacity as Guardian in the Portumna Union, for outdoor relief given to Lord Clanricarde's evicted tenants, and for which he was surcharged by the Local Government Auditor, summoned before Petty Sessions Court, and ordered to be imprisoned for the above term; whether it is a fact that on a former occasion Mr. John Eyre, J.P., late Chairman of the same Board, signed the Relieving Officer's book for a sum four times the amount given by Mr. Clarke; whether Mr. Eyre, although surcharged by the Auditor in the amount signed for by him, and decreed at Petty' Sessions for same, no attempt was made to levy the amount, and no punishment was inflicted upon him for his default; and if he will explain why such different treatment was accorded to these two Guardians?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I am informed that Mr. Clarke was proceeded against in the circumstances stated in the first paragraph, and that the Magistrate issued a warrant of distress for the amount, £47 10s., with the alternative penalty of three months' imprisonment. Upwards of two and a half years previously Mr. John Eyre was proceeded against for a surcharge of £40 10s., a decree obtained, and a warrant issued 1635 to levy the amount, which, however, proved unproductive. The failure in Mr. Byre's case and some other cases about the same time arose from the fact that the proceedings were taken under the 28th section of the 10th Vict., chap. 31, which gives no power to the Magistrates to order imprisonment in the event of failure to distrain. To obviate the possibility of a recurrence of a miscarriage of this nature, the auditor has brought all cases since then under Sections 95 and 103 of the 1st & 2nd Vic, chap. 56, which gives the power of imprisonment in the event of the amount of the surcharge not being recovered.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY (Longford, N.)
Has the attention of the Lord Chancellor been called to the case of Mr. Eyre, who is a Magistrate and a man of substance?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
That question does not arise out of the question on the Paper. I was simply asked why two different modes of procedure were taken in two separate and distinct cases. I have pointed out that the proceedings in the first case were abortive.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
Is it the fact that a Conservative Magistrate escaped scot-free, while a Nationalist got three months?