§ MR. TULLY (Leitrim, S.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he will state what are the grounds of the objection of the Local Government Board to the publication of the lists of ratepayers in arrear with their rates by Boards of Guardians in Ireland; and whether, as large defalcations by rate collectors have taken place in various Unions in Ireland, notably in the case of a collector named Daly, in Athlone Union, and of a collector named Finn, in Boyle Union, and as these large defalcations would have been impossible if the lists of people returned as in arrear by these collectors had been circulated from time to time amongst the ratepayers, he will authorise the Local Government Board to permit Boards of Guardians to issue these lists whenever they consider it advisable and necessary?
MR. J. MORLEY
The Local Government Board have been advised that it is no part of the duty of Boards of Guardians to publish lists of persons in arrear with their rates, and that the expense of printing and posting such lists could not be regarded as a legal charge on the rates. The Board have also been advised that as the posting of these lists is not part of the duty of the Guardians they would not be in any way privileged in doing so, and if, by mistake, the name of a person not in default were included in the list the Guardians would be exposed to an action for damages. No doubt instances occur of default on the part of rate collectors. In the cases referred to in the question a collector was dismissed in Boyle Union in 1885, and a collector in Athlone last year for this cause, and possibly if lists of persons owing rates were published it would render detection more easy. The Local Government Board consider, however, that if a collector's books are properly and regularly checked by the clerk of the Union fewer cases of embezzlement of rates 369 would occur, and if in every case of default the Guardians insisted upon the sureties making good the amount it would result in greater care being exercised in inquiring into the character of persons appointed to the responsible position of collector. As it is, large sums, I understand, are lost to the rates by the failure of the Guardians to see that a collector's sureties are solvent, and, when they are able to meet their liabilities, taking prompt steps to make them do so.