MR. PATRICK O'BRIEN
I beg to ask the Attorney General for Ireland whether he is aware that the Recorder of Cork has confirmed the sentences given against Mr. Edward Fitzgerald, P.L.G., of Cork Union, in eight cases of forging and tendering proxy voting papers in his own favour in the late Guardians election; and whether the Local Government Board propose to remove Mr. Fitzgerald from the Board of Guardians and order another election; if so, when?
§ MR. MADDEN
The Local Government Board for Ireland have been informed that the Recorder of Cork has confirmed the convictions against Mr. Fitzgerald. The Board have accordingly taken steps to set aside his election, and for the ordering of an election to fill the vacancy caused thereby.
I beg to ask the Attorney General for Ireland whether he is aware that Major Kirkwood, Local Government Board Inspector appointed to conduct an inquiry into the circumstances attending the election of three Guardians, Messrs. 1268 Creane, Roche, and Fitzgerald, alleged to have been returned to the Cork Board of Guardians by means of the forgery of proxy voting papers, refused to take evidence on the question of forgery, on the grounds that he (Major Kirkwood) could not go outside his instructions; and whether, as it was to investigate charges of forgery that the inquiry was asked for, and as one of the three Guardians (Mr. Fitzgerald) has been convicted of eight charges of forgery, the Local Government Board will so extend the scope of the inquiry as to enable Major Kirkwood to take evidence as to forgery?
§ MR. MADDEN
The hon. Member appears to have been misinformed. The only cases in which the Local Government Inspector declined to take evidence in regard to forgery were those in respect of which no votes had been allowed, and which therefore, even if they were forged, did not affect the result of the election; but where it was alleged that votes had been recorded by the returning officer in respect of the forged papers evidence was taken by the Inspector. The Local Government Board see no necessity for re-opening the inquiry.