HC Deb 06 March 1896 vol 38 cc354-5
MR. C. J. ENGLEDOW (Kildare, N.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland—(1) whether he is aware that in the case of the Galway County Infirmary the Court of Queen's Bench decided that the governors and governesses of county infirmaries were not corporations constituted for the management of any private endowments, nor trustees for the management of property belonging to institutions of private foundations, and that consequently neither the Archbishop of Armagh, nor the bishops and incumbents of the dioceses and parishes in which county infirmaries are situated are governors of such infirmaries; that the Rev. Mr. O'Sullivan did not become a Member of the said corporation of governors and governesses on his appointment as incumbent of the parish in which said infirmary is situated; and further, that the Rev. Mr. O'Sullivan, as vicar or incumbent of the parish of Galway, is not a Member of such corporation, or ex officio a governor thereof; (2) whether he will state in what respect the circumstances of the Carlow County Infirmary differ from those of the Galway County Infirmary, referred to in the decision of Mr. Justice Harrison, given 14th January 1889; and (3) whether he has yet decided to have the accounts of these institutions audited by the Government auditor?


The first paragraph states the facts with substantial accuracy. There is no difference between the cases of Carlow and Galway, and I am now advised that the Rector of Carlow is not entitled to act ex-officio as Governor of the County Infirmary. In the answer previously given, it was assumed by the Law Officers that the circumstances were not identical, but on further inquiry it has been ascertained they are. As regards the third paragraph, the Local Government Board have carefully considered the whole question, and are clearly of opinion that, as the duties and powers of their auditors are all expressly defined by Statute, and as there is no enactment in force giving them authority to deal with the accounts of county infirmaries, which are supported by Grand Jury Presentments, an audit of these accounts could not be carried out by those officers under the existing law. The circumstances of the Galway Hospital are on a different footing in this respect, inasmuch as it is supported out of the poor rates of the county, and the Act of Parliament establishing it imposes upon the Local Government Board auditor the duty of auditing the accounts.