§ MR. TULLY
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1) whether a sworn Inquiry has been held by the direction of the Local Government Board into the administration of outdoor relief in the Mullingar division of the Mullingar union; (2) whether he can state if the outdoor relief books were properly checked from time to time by the officials responsible for their accuracy; (3) what has been the Report of the Local Government Board auditor on the nature of the abuses alleged to exist; and (4), what action (if any), has been taken with regard to the officials concerned in the transactions?
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
The reply to the first paragraph is in the affirmative. The outdoor relief books were checked by the Union clerk from time to time, but the irregularities occurred owing to the practice adopted by the Guardians in ordering relief for indefinite periods contrary to the Rules of the Local Government Board. The auditor disallowed relief in the case of 22 persons who were not destitute, and 1314 surcharged the presiding chairman with the illegal expenditure incurred, and he also disallowed relief in 12 other cases and surcharged the Relieving Officer with the cost of same. The auditor further stated that in view of the unduly large amount of outdoor relief distributed in the Mullingar as compared with other Rural Unions, amounting as it did to more than £3,000 a year, the Guardians by neglecting to revise at regular intervals all cases on the relief lists in future, would render themselves liable to surcharges which the auditor would enforce. As a result of this Inquiry the Relieving Officer, whom the Local Government Board pronounced unfitted for the position, resigned his office. The Board also pointed out to the Guardians that they had failed in their duty as trustees of the ratepayers and administrators of the Poor Law, and requested them to take prompt and decisive action to remedy the abuses brought under their notice.