§ MR. TULLY (Leitrim, South)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, whether he can state if the Local Government Board have employed a staff of competent lawyers to prepare the legal opinions which they are giving to candidates and others on the subject of the Local Government (Ireland) Act of last year; whether he can state the names of these legal advisers; and, whether, in the case of the elections of candidates, who are contractors or officers to certain of the local boards, and who have been advised 327 by the Local Government Board that they are eligible for election being set aside by the courts on petition, the Local Government Board have any fund available out of which they can defray the legal expenses incurred on petition by those candidates?
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
The Local Government Board have now and always have had a legal adviser, but they have not employed any staff to give legal advice to intending candidates on the construction of the Local Government Act and Orders thereunder, nor are they in any way bound to do so. The Board endeavour to give all possible assistance and information to the public generally upon questions of difficulty which arise under the Act. The views of the Board as to the qualifications of a candidate are given whenever it is deemed proper to do so, but candidates, in such cases, are made aware that their qualifications, if questioned, must be decided upon by the proper tribunal. I cannot believe, as suggested in the third paragraph, that the Board, in the case of candidates who are contractors or officers to certain local bodies, have been advised that they are eligible for election to those bodies. The Local Government Board have no funds at their disposal to make good any costs incurred by any candidate, nor would such a course be in any case admissible.