§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL (Donegal, S.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, if he has received copies of resolutions passed at meetings of the Guardians of Glenties Union, held on 4th and 31st March, and of the Rural District Council held on 15th April, calling attention to the fact that the Guardians are liable for a sum of nearly £500 in connection with proceedings taken against them in actions in the Superior Courts at the suit of Ward and M'Cabe, whose houses, at Kendew, in the Glenties Union, were burned in the interests of the public health by the sanitary authority, at the instance of the sanitary officer of the district, as an indispensable necessity for staying the progress of a fever epidemic, that the amounts which should be applied to other purposes are now swamped by these charges, that the treasurer has refused to give any overdraft, and requesting the Local Government Board to advance the 348 amount for which the Union, in the discharge of an absolute duty, has been thus rendered liable; will he explain why the Local Government Board declined to accede to the request of the Guardians for permission to advance sums of £20 each to Ward and M'Cabe as compensation for the burning of their houses, which they were willing to accept in complete discharge of all causes of action; and, what steps will be taken by the Government with a view to the relief of the Union from liability for the sum incurred by legal proceedings into which it was unavoidably launched by the refusal of the Local Government Board to permit the Guardians to accept the proposal made before the institution of the actions for the reasonable settlement of these claims.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. G. W. BALFOUR,) Leeds, Central
Copies of the resolutions referred to in the first paragraph have been received. As regards the second and third paragraphs, when the Guardians asked the Local Government Board to sanction a payment in money to the occupiers of the houses in question to compensate them for the destruction of the houses, the Board informed the Guardians that they had no power to sanction such a payment from the rates. Recognising, however, the difficult position in which the Guardians found themselves, the Board instructed their Inspector to attend before the Guardians and suggest that they should take steps under the Labourers' Acts to erect dwellings for these people, for which special purpose there were funds at the disposal of the Guardians; but they declined to act on the Board's recomnmdation. Had the Guardians adopted this recommendation, the legal costs of which they now complain would probably not have been incurred. There are no funds at the disposal of the Board, or of Government, from which the advance asked for by the Guardians could be made.