§ MR. P. J. FOLEY (Galway, Connemara)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether (1) he is aware that, on the 9th, 10th, and 11th of January last, the county cess collector for the Barony of Ballinahinch, County Galway, Mr. Martin Mongan, with his bailiffs and two policemen, came into the district of the electoral division of Sellerna, in the union of Clifden, to levy the current spring cess by distress and sale; that, although he had previously issued notices calling the people to pay him at his office, and many went there a distance of nine miles, he did not attend; that, on the said day, he refused to take the cess in more than 30 cases unless an additional sum of 2s. was paid in each case, the average amount in each case being about 4s.; that one man, whose cess was only 1s. 6d., was charged 2s. costs, and another was charged 4s., the amount of the cess being about 13s.; that those who had gone to Clifden to pay were charged as well as those who did not go; and that, in a few cases, where costs were at first refused, he made seizures and enforced payment of these costs; (2) with regard to these cases, is it lawful for a county cess collector to levy cess by distress and sale without previously summoning the parties and obtaining a warrant; (3) is any charge over 1s. in the £ on the amount of the cess illegal; (4) what steps did the Government take, before affording a police party to Mongan, to ascertain that his proceedings were lawful; (5) and is the cess collector bound to call at every ratepayer's house for the cess?
MR. J. MORLEY
I am informed that the facts are as stated in paragraph 1. In reply to paragraph 2, the collector can levy cess by distress without previously summoning the parties. In reply to paragraph 3, any charge over Is. in the £1 for the expense of distraining when a distress is made is illegal. In reply to paragraph 4, on each of the occasions referred to, the collector had in his possession a warrant authorising him to collect cess. No special police force was afforded, but 753 two constables were present when the cess was collected. In reply to paragraph 5, the collector cannot levy a distress unless the ratepayer has refused to pay.