HC Deb 17 June 1898 vol 59 cc574-5

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether the Treasury, on the payment of the sum of £8,500 to the various county court officers in Ireland for clerical assistance, require each official to whom any part of such sum is paid to formally and properly vouch his account of expenditure in the same manner as accounts of disbursements of public money are invariably audited and vouched; or are the payments made on the simple receipt of the official drawing the grant; and if so, is there any reason why that course should not be discontinued and the accounts of all grants under this head be regularly submitted to the usual audit?


Under the County Officers (Ireland) Act, 1877, the Treasury and the Lord Chancellor may appoint for each county office such staff of clerks as they think necessary, and by another section the Treasury may grant to any county officer such allowance as they think proper for necessary clerical assistance. These allowances have been the rule; and they have been fixed in each case with a view to prevent the officers from making any profit out of them. If any case of abuse were brought to the knowledge of the Treasury it would be considered a reason for revising the allowance. I am not satisfied as to the grounds on which the expenditure out of these allowances has not been required to be fully vouched; and I am at present making inquiry into the matter with a view to see if a stricter regulation can be adopted.

MR. D. SULLIVAN (Westmeath, S.)

On behalf of the honourable Member for North Louth I beg to ask the Attorney General for Ireland is he aware that the tenant in the case of Westropp v. Elligott, although successful in the House of Lords, was put to such expenses that he was evicted from his farm; has his attention been called to the notice to claimants (Land Commission Record, 497), by which the landlord is seeking to get public money by the sale of the evicted holding; is this sale intended to be made to a relative of the landlord; and will the Land Commission sanction an advance of public money under such circumstances?


The tenant was evicted for nonpayment of a year's rent, £150, but whether his pecuniary embarrassment arose wholly or in part from the expenses incurred in unsuccessful litigation in which he was engaged I am unable to say. The landlords have presented to the Land Commission Court what is equivalent to petition for sale. No agreements for purchase have as yet been lodged, and the Land Commission have consequently no information on the concluding paragraph of the Question.