§ MR. D. SHEEHY (Galway, S.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland what (1) explanation is given by the Clerk of the Peace for the County of Cork of his having omitted to lodge the moneys received by him for registers in 1892 until 17th August 1894; (2) when the Return on the subject was presented to Parliament; (3) why the Clerk of the Peace in Galway omitted to lodge the amounts until a question was put on the Notice Paper of the House of Commons this Session; (4) whether he will cause these Gentlemen to put in a Return showing the amounts received in each year for each constituency in their county, and whether any copies were supplied gratis in contravention of the Statute; and, if so, for what reason; (5) whether it can be ascertained if in the counties and boroughs of Cork and Galway any revenue has been derived from this source since the passing of the Statute 13 & 14 Vic. c. 69; and, if so, what 1027 is the amount; (6) what authority may be invoked to control the Clerks of the Peace in these matters; (7) and whether, in view of the many discrepancies shown in the Return, and the long delay which may take place before sums are placed to credit, he would direct a sworn inquiry into the whole subject?
THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. J. MORLEY, Newcastle-upon-Tyne)
(1) The Clerk of the Peace for the County Cork, E. Riding, states in explanation of the delay in lodging the sums received for sale of Parliamentary Voters Lists in 1892 until the 25th July, not 17th August, 1894, that the moneys were received by an assistant in his office, and that until he was informed of the hon. Gentleman's question he knew nothing of the matter. He promises to take care in future that all such receipts are duly accounted for to the County Treasurer. (2) The Return in question was presented to Parliament on the 14th August and ordered to be printed on the 17th August, 1894. (3) It would appear to be a fact that the Clerks of the Peace for the County Galway and Borough of Galway did not lodge the sums so received by them until the House had ordered the Return in question. (4) The Clerks of the Peace referred to state that the Returns furnished by them contain all sums received by them from this source, and that they have now duly accounted for same to the County Treasurers for each year for each constituency in their county. The Town Clerk of Cork alone admits that he supplied copies without charge according to the custom which has prevailed in his office. (5) The Clerk of the Peace for County Galway states that it does not appear that any sums were received under the Act 13 & 14 Vic. c. 69 prior to the year 1885. All the Clerks concerned now state that they have duly accounted for all receipts in connection with the sale of Voters' Lists. (6 and 7) I am advised that there is no precedent for the Government directing any such inquiry as suggested. Clerks of the Peace appointed before August, 1877, are not Government officers, and Clerks appointed since that date are removable only by the Lord Chancellor and for misconduct or incapacity, and they are 1028 not in any sense under the control of the Executive Government.