§ "Page 42, leave out clause 72, and insert the following clause—
- "(1) Where the business of any authority is transferred by or in pursuance of this Act to any county or district council, the existing officers of that authority employed in that business, and not in any other business of that authority, shall become the officers of the council of that county or district in like manner, subject to the provisions of this section, as if they had been appointed by that council; and for the purpose of this section any existing secretary of the grand jury, county treasurer, county surveyor, assistant surveyor, county solicitor, public analyst for a county, and a high constable and collector, or collector of a barony, and a deputy collector, duly appointed under section one hundred and forty-eight of the Grand Juries Act, 1836, and also any existing deputy of the county treasurer or secretary of the grand jury, appointed with the approval of the Lord Lieutenant, who has devoted his whole time to his office, shall be deemed to be an existing officer of the grand jury, and the existing officers of every lunatic asylum shall be deemed to be existing officers of the governors and directors of that asylum; and every existing officer of the grand jury of a county shall be transferred to the council of the county, and not to the council of any urban district not a county borough.
- "(2) The foregoing provisions of this section shall apply to a county of a city or town; but if it does not become a county borough, any existing officer of the grand jury shall become the officer of the council of the county at large of which such county of a city or town will by virtue of this Act form part.
- "(3) For the purpose of the enactments relating to superannuation, the service of any existing officer of any authority before the transfer to a county or district council shall be reckoned as service under that council.
- "(4) Any existing secretary of the grand jury, unless he dies or resigns, or is removed with the concurrence of the Local Government Board, shall become and continue the secretary of the county council up to the last day of March, nineteen hundred, and may then, if he has given three months' previous notice in writing to the county council of his intention to retire, retire from office, and shall thereupon be entitled to receive an allowance under this Act of the same amount as if his office were abolished.
- "(5) The county council may, by notice given three months next before the said last day
636 of March, require such secretary to retire, and if they do so, without the concurrence of the Local Government Board, he shall be entitled to the same compensation under this Act as if his office were abolished.
- "(6) If at any time after the said last day of March such secretary retires voluntarily, he shall be entitled to receive from the county council a superannuation allowance on the scale provided by the Acts and rules relating to Her Majesty's Civil Service, and the amount of such allowance in case of dispute shall be determined by the Treasury.
- "(7) If at any time before the said last day of March such secretary satisfies the Local Government Board that he is unable, through age or infirmity, to discharge the duties of his office under this Act, he may retire from office, and shall thereupon be entitled to receive an allowance under this Act of the same amount as if his office wore abolished.
- "(8) The secretary of the grand jury of each of the counties of Cork and Tipperary shall become the secretary of the council of each riding of such county, and the foregoing provisions of this section shall apply as if he were separately the secretary of each such council, and the proportion of the remuneration to be paid by each riding shall, in default of agreement, be determined by the Local Government Board.
- "(9) An existing officer of the grand jury of any county of a city or town who by this Act becomes the officer of the council of the county at large of which such county of a city or town will form part, shall perform under the like officer of the council of that county at large the like duties as he has hitherto performed as respects the county of a city or county of a town, but in other respects the foregoing provisions of this section with respect to the like officer of a grand jury of a county at large shall apply to him.
- "(10) Every county council shall within one month after their first meeting submit to the Local Government Board a scheme setting forth their arrangements for the collection of the poor rate, and the officers they propose to employ for the purpose, and the names and descriptions of the existing officers transferred to the county council by this Act (whether high constables and collectors, or collectors of a barony, or deputy collectors, or poor rate collectors of the guardians) whom they propose to employ as officers under such scheme, and the scheme shall not authorise the employment of new officers if sufficient existing officers have expressed their willingness to serve.
- "(11) The scheme shall provide for the existing officers employed under the scheme receiving remuneration substantially identical with that which they formerly received. Every officer who under such scheme when approved is not continued as an officer of the county council shall, if he holds an office in respect of which he would, if he had served a sufficient number of years, be qualified under the existing law for the grant of a superannuation allowance and has expressed his willingness to serve, be entitled to receive from the county council
637 the same compensation under this Act as if his office were abolished, but if he does not hold such an office, or if holding such an office, h has not expressed his willingness to serve, he shall be entitled to receive from the county council a gratuity according to the scale in Part I. of the Seventh Schedule to this Act: Provided that, until the expiration of not less than 12 months after receiving a gratuity under that schedule, an officer shall not be qualifier to be appointed to any office under the county council, unless he refunds to the county council the gratuity. Of such gratuity, one-half shall be repaid to the county council out of tin moneys standing to the Local Taxation (Ireland Account by virtue of the Local Taxation (Ireland) Estate Duty Act, 1896, and the half of any gratuity so refunded shall be repaid by the council to that account.
- "(12) For the purpose of the foregoing enactments a person appointed collector under the County Dublin Grand Jury Act, 1844, shall be deemed to hold an office in respect of which ha would, if he had served a sufficient number of years, be qualified for the grant of a superannuation allowance.
- "(13) The Local Government Board may approve any such scheme with or without modifications; and all officers employed in pursuance of the scheme shall be deemed to be poor rate collectors appointed by the county council within the meaning of this Act.
- "(14) If in the case of any officer the area in which his duties are required to be performed is, by reason of any alteration of any boundary, by or in pursuance of this Act, increased or diminished, the officer shall be bound to perform his duties in such altered area.
- "(15) If by reason of a change made within six months after the passing of this Act in the boundaries of a union, the office of any existing dispensary doctor becomes unnecessary, that office shall be deemed to be abolished within the meaning of the enactment applied by this Act; and any compensation payable to him shall be paid by the guardians of the unions which comprise his former district in such proportion as may be agreed upon, or in default of agreement be determined by the Local Government Board.
- "(16) Subject to the provisions of this Act, every existing officer transferred under this section shall hold his office by the same tenure and upon the same terms and conditions a heretofore, and while performing the same or analogous duties shall receive not less remuneration than heretofore; and if, by reason of any alteration of boundary or other thing done by or in pursuance of this Act, his duties are increased or diminished, the officer shall be bound to perform those duties, and shall receive such increase or diminution of salary in proportion to the increase or diminution of his duties as the Local Government Board may sanction, subject, nevertheless, in case of diminution, to such compensation as is provided by this Act.
- "(17) Section one hundred and twenty of the Local Government Act, 1888, set out in
638 Part Two of the Seventh Schedule to this Act (which relates to compensation to existing officers), shall apply in the case of existing officers affected by this Act, who are remunerated out of the cess or rate raised in any county or district, whether officers above in this section mentioned or not, and references in the said section one hundred and twenty to the county council shall include references to a district council; and if any officer transferred by this Act to a council who can be removed without the concurrence of the Local Government Board or the Lord Lieutenant (and is not a banking company), is within five years from the date of the transfer removed from his office for any cause other than misconduct or incapacity, his office shall be deemed to have been abolished within the meaning of the said section.
- "(18) All expenses incurred by any council in pursuance of this section shall be paid as expenses of the execution of this Act, and in the case of a county council may, if the county council, with the consent of the Local Government Board, so direct, be defrayed as district charges.
- "(19) The provision of a gratuity by a council to any existing officer under this Act shall be a purpose for which such council may borrow, in accordance with the enactments relating to borrowing by such council."—(Mr. Gerald Balfour.)
Line 3, leave out—
And nut in any other business of that authority."—(Mr. Clancy.)
§ MR. CLANCY
I am surprised at what must have been carelessness in drafting this new clause. Some officers of a board of guardians may also hold an executive office, such as a sanitary officer, and it seems to me that if these words are left in these officers will lose one appointment, and some will lose both, and the result will not tend to the efficiency of the council, because the council will have to elect new officers instead. I think the right honourable Gentleman must see that this is an important omission.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
There is a great difficulty in a question of this kind. I am afraid that some offices will be, and must inevitably be, lost by the operation of the Bill. It is not possible for the officer of a county council to be engaged in any other business.
§ MR. CLANCY
This Amendment is entirely in the interests of the officers, who will not receive anything by this 639 Act. What is the objection to it? I do not see any at all.
§ MR. ATKINSON
The objection is that a man cannot serve two masters. Take the case of a sanitary officer. The sanitary officer is now in the service of the guardians—he may also be clerk of the guardians—and I may say that, generally speaking, the clerk to the guardians is the executive sanitary officer. Very well, you transfer his sanitary work to the county council, and, if you do that, look at the conflicting work that he may be called upon to do. Take the Cattle Diseases Act. You transfer the Cattle Diseases Act to the county council. Is the officer of the board of guardians to go with it? If so, he may be serving at one time both the county council in the administration of the Cattle Diseases Act and in the administration of the poor law by the board of guardians. That would be a very insufferable state of things.
§ MR. CLANCY
The example which the right honourable Gentleman first took is the example he ought to have taken. The clerk of the union is clearly commanded by this Act to serve two masters. He will be clerk to the board of guardians and clerk to the district council.
§ MR. CLANCY
That is the very class of officer I had in my mind. Will the right honourable Gentleman have any objection to making the section applicable to officers now serving boards of guardians in both capacities, and who, if this Act is passed, will have their business transferred to the district council?
§ MR. ATKINSON
In the ordinary course the board of guardians and the district council are the same thing looked at from different points of view. There is no transfer there, property speaking, at all. The clerk of the union becomes clerk of the district council, because he is clerk of the union. The other case to which the honourable Gentleman referred is altogether different. The clerk of a poor law board, which may be situated 20 miles away, will have to discharge certain poor law duties in that town and certain duties in the county.
§ MR. CLANCY
I was not referring to these instances at all. The case I had in my mind was the case of a doctor who, if this Bill passes, will serve the board of guardians as medical officer. His sanitary business will be transferred to the district council and the district council will have to elect a new man, and compensate him at the same time.
§ Amendment negatived.
'Line 28, after 'council,' insert 'and the service of any existing secretary as assistant or deputy secretary in the same county shall be reckoned as part of his service.'"—(Mr. J. H. M. Campbell.)
MR. J. H. M. CAMPBELL
This Amendment seems to deal with the case of two existing assistant secretaries and deputy secretaries of the grand juries. All that is asked to be done in the case of these two gentlemen is this: they have served for many years in the nominal position of assistant secretaries, and during all that time they have done the actual work of the secretaries, and now I ask that the period served by them as assistant secretaries should be taken into account, but unless an Amendment of this kind is introduced it will be impossible to do that. As assistant secretaries they were not officers of the county, because they were appointed by themselves, and technically, therefore, they would not be officers for the county while serving as assistants. The two gentlemen whose names are known to honourable Members on both sides of the House are thoroughly efficient, and have given great satisfaction to all parties, and I think that all members of different phases of politics are agreed in asking the Government to accept this Amendment.
Line 29, after 'grand juries' insert 'or county surveyors of twenty years' service.'"—(Mr. Sharpe.)
§ MR. SHARPE (Kensington, N.)
By this Amendment I want to have the benefit of sub-sections 4, 5, 6, and 7 extended to county surveyors of 20 years' service. It will be a very graceful concession to men who have been valuable officers, and I beg to urge the right honourable Gentleman to consider the propriety of accepting my Amendment.
§ Mr. GERALD BALFOUR
We treated the secretaries of the grand juries in an exceptional manner, because they are in an exceptional position. We have done in their case what we have done in no other case, for the reason that the county councils have a certain date for getting rid of them, and they are to receive compensation, but we could not extend to county surveyors the same privileges.
§ Amendment negatived.
Line 37, leave out sub-section 5."—(Mr. J. H. M. Campbell.)
MR. J. H. M. CAMPBELL
There seems to me to be a discrepancy here. As I read the 55th clause of the Act It proves that no secretary of a county council is to be appointed or removed or his salary fixed or altered without the concurrence of the Local Government Board.
MR. J. H. M. CAMPBELL
I do not think that gets rid of the difficulty, because section 55 unquestionably applies to all officers who become officers of the new county council. Then sub-section 4 says that in the case of three of those who are specified—that is, the secretary, the county surveyor, and the assistant surveyor—they shall not be removed or appointed without the concurrence of the Local Government Board. Then that right is cut down—that is, with regard to the first secretaries of the county 642 council, because the effect of the 5th sub-section is to enable the county council to get rid of them without the concurrence of the Local Government Board. It occurs to me that there is a direct conflict between the 55th section and sub-section 5, because, as I pointed out, section 55 expressly provides that the first secretary of the county council and all future secretaries are not to be appointed nor removed, nor are their salaries to be interfered with, except with the concurrence of the Local Government Board, and sub-section 5 in this new clause proceeds to state that the county council in the case of the first secretaries may get rid of them any time before a certain date without the concurrence of the Local Government Board.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
I cannot see where there is a contradiction. If my honourable and learned Friend looks at sub-section 11 of section 55 he will see that "this section shall be without prejudice to the provisions of this Act respecting existing officers," and one of the provisions is that, at a certain date, it shall be competent for the county council to discharge their secretaries without reference to the Local Government Board.
§ MR. DILLON
I hope the Government are not proposing to accept the Amendment. It seems to me that it will be a monstrous thing as regards the existing secretaries of the grand juries, who are treated by this Bill with great liberality, that the power of removing them should be taken away from the county councils. That would be a great injustice.
§ Question put.
§ Amendment negatived.
That sub-section 5 stand part of the clause.
§ Agreed to.
Line 72, after 'guardians,' insert—
'Or deputy collectors of such poor rate collectors where such deputy collectors devote their whole time to the work of such collection.'"—(Mr. M. Healy.)
§ MR. M. HEALY
The right honourable Gentleman has altered the clause as 643 it originally stood in the Bill, and he has altered it for the purpose of including in it the deputy cess collectors. The deputy cess collector is not an officer of the grand jury. He is simply employed by the collector to the grand jury, and he was appointed because the Act enabled the collector to appoint him. As a rule, in Ireland, poor rate collectors have had no deputy. So far as I am aware, in no other part of Ireland is there such a thing as a deputy rate collector excepting in the city of Cork, and there they have to devote all their time to the work. It occurs to me that the position of these men is rather hard. Their employment is taken away from them by this Bill, and the man who employs them is compensated only on his net income—that is to say, that allowance has been made for the salaries which he pays his deputies; consequently the fact that he pays his deputies is in no way a burden on the council. On the other hand, the work of collection, of attending revision courts, etc., is always thrown upon the deputies. The case of these deputies is on all fours with the deputy cess collectors, and on what ground the deputy cess collectors can be included without making some provision for these poor men, who are to be deprived of their sole means of livelihood, I cannot, for a moment see.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
I had no reason to think that there were such cases, but if the honourable Member assures me that there are, I see no reason for not accepting the Amendment.
§ MR. MURNAGHAN
Is this Amendment to apply to deputy collectors who only spend a month, or two in the year in the work, or is it to apply only to deputy cess collectors and officers Who give their whole time and service to the work? I should like that clearly understood, so that hereafter there may be no error.
That the words proposed stand part of the sub-section.
§ Agreed to.644
Lines 80 and 81, leave out 'if he is qualified under the existing law for the grant of a superannuation allowance,' and insert 'if his tenure of office is permanent in character.'"—(Mr. J. H. M. Campbell.)
MR. J. H. M. CAMPBELL
The effect of leaving the clause as it stands would be that it would exclude a very large number of poor-rate collectors, who are devoting their entire time to the collection of the poor-rate, excepting in some very small outside particular with which they supplement their income. There are a great many poor-rate collectors of this kind in the county of Dublin, and there are others in many other counties in Ireland, and it would be a very great hardship if, by the mere incident of their trying to supplement their incomes, they should be deprived of the benefit of this clause. I hold in my hand "The Poor Law Officers' Superannuation Act," which is applicable to England, and let me just read one section to show how differently poor-rate collectors are treated in England to what they are in Ireland. Section 4 of the Act of 1896 says—The service by the officer or servant under any authority or authorities to whom this Act applies shall be reckoned for the purposes of this Act whether the service has been continuous or not, and whether his whole time has been devoted to the service or not.There is an express provision of the Statute of 1896, applicable to England, by which every poor-rate collector is entitled to superannuation, or compensation, as the case may be, although he may not have given his entire time to the particular employment of poor-rate collection. Take the case of these men in Ireland. I am aware of cases in the county of Dublin, and I am sure that honourable Members are aware of cases too, where these men were led to believe that their appointments were appointments for life, subject to their behaving themselves. Now this Act steps in, and, as a result, a great many of them will not be required. Some of them may be, and will be kept on, and all that this Amendment does is to put those who have acted as poor-rate collectors, whether they have given their whole 645 time or not, on the same footing as those who have devoted their whole time, and who have not supplemented their income. It will be, I think, an act of justice for the Government to accept this Amendment.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
I think there is hardly any superannuation Act where people have devoted their whole time to the duties of their offices, where it is not made a condition to superannuation. The English Act to which the honourable Member has referred has an exceptional condition, which is that the officer should himself contribute to the fund. With reference to the medical officers in Ireland, they would be entitled to receive superannuation.
Line 150, at end add—
(19)"The provisions of section twenty-seven, sub-section one, of the County Officers and Courts (Ireland) Act, 1877, shall apply to the additional duties imposed by section five of this Act on clerks of the peace appointed under the first year of George the Fourth, chapter twenty-seven."—(Mr. Serjeant Hemphill.)
§ * MR. SERJEANT HEMPHILL
I rather think this Amendment has been provided for by the Amendment moved by the right honourable Gentleman yesterday, but if not, I would beg to move it; it is to add at the end the provisions of section 27, sub-section 1, of the County Officers and Courts (Ireland) Act of 1877. There are seven or eight clerks of the peace still in existence who were appointed under this Act, and certain duties will now be cast upon them which hitherto they have not had to discharge. But I think there was an Amendment adopted by the Government yesterday which would probably cover this Amendment.
§ MR. M. HEALY
I do not know whether the Government have considered the case of the clerk of the peace of the Borough of Belfast, He got a private Act of Parliament that passed with general consent to extend the area of the borough, and it is only fair when he did the work for the extended area that he should be considered. He will now have the additional duties thrown upon him 646 of preparing the local government register. I understand the Government now proposes to make some allowance, in the case of those clerks of the pence, for any additional work which they will have to do. If that is so, they ought to consider whether or not there should be an Amendment dealing with the matter, in common justice to these people.
§ MR. DILLON
Before this clause is put I am bound to say, if it were not for the extraordinary circumstances under which we are now discussing it, I should object to several sub-sections of this clause, because the treatment of the secretaries to the grand juries is something awful. I only want to draw attention to an alteration made in this section, and ask the right honourable Gentleman to consider the matter before the Report stage. It stated originally that—Every county council shall within six months after their first meeting submit to the Local Government Board a scheme setting forth their arrangements for the collection of poor rates.Now that period is to be reduced to one month, and I do not think you give the county council a fair opportunity of considering their scheme. Now what I am afraid of is that the result of the shortening the period to one month will be that the secretaries to the grand juries will do all the work, and it will be cut and dried before the county councils come into operation, and that it will be rushed through without any consideration at all. I merely desire to give notice that upon the Report stage I shall move an Amendment to extend the time to three months.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
I should like to consider the point. I think that six months was put down in the first place, because there was going to be a provisional council. Now there is not going to be a provisional council, but if one month is considered too short a time, I shall be prepared to accept three months.
§ MR. FLYNN
I should like to point out to the Committee that there are some sub-sections in this new clause of a most objectionable character. Take the clause with regard to the existing secretary of the grand jury. Unless he dies or 647 resigns he is to continue as secretary to the county council until March, 1900—that is, for two years, or, on giving three months' notice, he has the option of retiring upon the fullest possible superannuation upon the scale provided for special service. Now, just see for a moment how that works. Here you have a man thoroughly acquainted with county council business, in the flower of his age, and yet he retires within two months of this date, although the local body is perhaps anxious to retain his services. Now it works out in two ways. In the first place these gentlemen are not entitled to superannuation under the Grand Juries Act. The grand juries might, if they chose, grant one to them; but there is no right on the part of these gentlemen to claim one. In many cases, no superannuation was granted, I think; some two years ago there was a Bill brought in for the granting of superannuation to these gentlemen, but it was opposed by a vast majority, and had to be withdrawn. Now, under this Bill they are to get superannuation upon the highest possible scale. It is an injustice. Then there is this to be said: men may retire in two years' time upon full pay, and the county councils will have to have a new official, and will have to pay two salaries, or one superannuation and one salary to the new officer. That is going very far beyond what is reasonable. Unfortunately it is a clause that now cannot be discussed at great length. The time has all been taken up in discussing minor matters at great length, and now clauses like this are rushed through in this hurried manner.
§ Clause as amended added to the Bill.