§ MR. W. JOHNSTON (Belfast, S.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is 642 aware that the Clogher Board of Guardians have, en the 16th instant, re-elected Miss Ann Eliza Magill as rate collector for the parish of Errigal; whether he will re-consider the decision to refuse the confirmation of this appointment, the duties of which she has efficiently discharged for five years; and whether, if there exists any difference between the laws of Ireland and England, to the disadvantage of Irish women, he will consider the advisability of amending the law in justice to the women of Ireland?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY TO THE LORD LIEUTENANT OF IRELAND (Mr. GERALD W. BALFOUR,) Leeds, Central
I am aware of the fact mentioned in the first paragraph. In reply to the second paragraph, I must remind my honourable Friend that if this lady had been discharging the duties of the office for five years she can only have done so by virtue of an irregularity on the part of the rate collector, as collectors have no power to act by deputy. I do not think that the Irish law could with advantage be altered with the object of enabling women to hold the position, and I am afraid I cannot undertake to re-consider the decision arrived at. Of course my honourable Friend will understand that this decision is in no way intended to reflect upon Miss Magill in particular, but is dictated by general considerations.
§ MR. W. JOHNSTON
But will not the right honourable Gentleman take into account that Miss Magill has held the office for over five years?
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