§ MR. DILLON
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury what procedure has been adopted by his Department for the consideration of claims put before it by way of appeal from the amounts of compensation fixed for existing officers who have refused to act, or are not employed by the county councils in Ireland, under the provisions of the Local Government Act, 1898, and whether any opportunity, and what, is given for the views of the county council being put before the Department in respect of these claims, and how the Departments act when a difficult question of law arises affecting the right of the applicant to any compensation, and which there is not provided by the statute any power to determine by the Irish courts of law; and whether he has any objection to grant a return showing the results of the appeals in these cases up to the present to his Department.
§ THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. HANBURY,) Preston
The practice of the Treasury is to ascertain and sift the facts of the case by correspondence with the parties concerned, and, having done so, and having referred to the statutes affecting the case as well as to previous decisions, if any, to calculate the sum which should be awarded according to the provisions of the Seventh Schedule to the Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1898. Before a decision is finally made, an opportunity is always given to the county council to put its views on the case before the Treasury by letter. When a difficult question of law arises, the Treasury consults its legal advisers. I am not aware of any objection, on principle, to granting the return asked for, but I think it would be better to wait until at least a year has elapsed since the Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1898, came into operation (1st April, 1899), as the appeals as yet decided are few.
§ MR. DILLON
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he has any objection to grant a return showing the result of the action of the Local Government Board for Ireland in fixing the remuneration of county and district council officials in Ireland where there was an appeal to them from the sums fixed by those councils; and what inquiry was made, if any, by the Local Government Board before they fixed the amount, and whether they consulted with the county and district councils concerned in every case before finally determining the amount in order to have their views on the subject.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. G. W. BALFOUR,) Leeds, Central
The salaries of "existing" officers of county and district councils have not yet all been fixed. I see no objection to the publication of the return as soon as it is complete. In August last the Local Government Board wrote to each county and urban district council inviting their observations upon the claims made by their officers for increased remuneration under Section 115 (18) of the Local Government Act, and all representations received from the councils in response to this request, as well as all entries on the minutes of their 287 proceedings upon the same subject, received full consideration from the Board.
§ MR. FLAVIN (Kerry, N.)
Has the question of the legality of all these claims been taken into consideration by the Local Government Board?
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
The Board's functions were confined to the operation of the 115th Section, Sub-section 18.