§ [MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT.]
§ *SIR THOMAS ESMONDE (Kerry, West Division)
rose in his place, and asked leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely, "the recent action of the Local Government Board for Ireland in raising the salaries and qualifications of the county and district surveyors in county Wexford, and in endeavouring to enforce the payment of these increased salaries as from to-morrow, by sealed order, notwithstanding the protests of the county council.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. G. W. BALFOUR,) Leeds, Central
As a question of order, may I 971 ask whether this can be a matter of urgent public importance, seeing that the question was fully discussed on the Vote for the Irish Local Government Board more than a month ago? † I do not see how, under the circumstances, it can properly be regarded as urgent.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
Theoretically and in fact I have no knowledge of what was said in Committee of Supply.
§ *SIR THOMAS ESMONDE
The Government are attempting to coerce the Irish county councils by means of a sealed Order.
§ MR. SPEAKER then called on those Members who supported the motion to rise in their places, and not less than forty Members having accordingly risen—
§ *SIR THOMAS ESMONDE
I have to thank hon. Members who have been good enough to give me their support in this matter, and at the same time I wish to express my regret at having to deal with this question in this particular way. But under existing Parliamentary conditions it is absolutely impossible for Irish Members to deal with important Irish questions as they arise. It is quite impossible to deal with important Irish matters in the two or three days allotted to Irish Estimates. If I must put the House to inconvenience on this occasion hon. Members must blame the system under which Irish affairs are managed in, England, and I hope, therefore, I shall not be blamed for standing between the House and the more interesting debates on the Tithes Bill. The Chief Secretary for Ireland, in answer to several questions addressed to him to-day, gave the House the views of the Irish Local Government Board on the situation which has arisen in Ireland with regard to the action of that Board towards the Irish county councils in increasing the salaries of the county officials. Listening to the answers of the right hon. Gentleman I could† See The Parliamentary Debates [Fourth Series], Vol. lxxxiii., p. 1127.972 not help thinking how utterly he failed to realise the very serious position which has been created in Ireland within the last few weeks. The action of the Local Government. Board in raising the salary of certain county council officials has given great dissatisfaction not only to members of county councils, but also to the constituencies they represent, and the rate-payers at large have not hesitated to express to their county councils the extreme dissatisfaction with which they view the rapid increase of rates all over the country. I am chairman of a county council, a district council, and a board of guardians, and during the last twelve months the expenditure of each of those bodies has considerably increased, the increase being mainly due to the action of the Local Government Board in ordering us to do this and to pay that. It appears there is no escape from an Order of the Local Government Board—there is no way of protecting the ratepayers. It has, therefore, become necessary that we should again direct public attention to this matter, and endeavour to obtain the assistance of this House in guarding the interests of the Irish taxpayers against the unjust interference of the Local Government Board. I do not propose, and you, Sir, would not allow me, to deal in generalities; I wish to direct attention to the specific case of the treatment of the County Council of Wexford. It is necessary under the terms of my motion that I should adopt this course; but I may point out that other Irish county councils stand in precisely the same position. In county Wexford there is a road mileage, excluding the roads in urban districts, of 1,982 miles For the management of that mileage we have a county surveyor, whose salary we are ordered by the Local Government Board to increase by 33 per cent. This gentleman heretofore has had a salary of £650 a year, and that was considered ample for the work he has to discharge.. We have also four deputy surveyors, whose salaries we are commanded to increase by 87½ per cent. The old salaries were £80 a year, and they were considered quite sufficient for the work to be performed, the best proof of which is that whenever a vacancy occurred there were dozens of applicants for the position. In addition to these increases of salaries, we are also ordered to appoint an additional 973 assistant surveyor at a salary of £150 a year. Seeing that during all the years of grand jury management the county managed to get along with a county surveyor at £650, and four assistant surveyors at £80 a year, it will be interesting to know why it is suddenly found necessary, as soon as the people have obtained control of the local administration, to increase the salaries to this large extent and to employ additional officials. This question has been in debate between the County Council of Wexford and the Local Government Board for some time; we have protested against the decision of the Local Government Board, and given the reasons upon which we based that protest, but our protest has been disregarded and our arguments apparently refused a hearing. Now, as a climax, the Local Government Board issue a sealed Order to compel us to submit to their decision in this matter. The Chief Secretary will no doubt explain the meaning of a sealed Order and what it purports to be. As perhaps the perfect accuracy of my version of the story might be suspected, I must trouble the House with some correspondence which has passed between the County Council of Wexford and the Irish Local Government Board. The first act in this performance was the receipt by the secretary of the county council of a circular from the Local Government Board. The circular is dated 29th August, 1899, and numbered 317, so I presume it was the 317th circular we received from the Board between the 1st April and the 29th August last. This circular was sent to the secretary, although some time before the general council of the Irish County Councils had made a request that when an important circular was issued a copy should be sent to every member of the county council interested, because it frequently happened that, owing to the extreme pressure of bringing the Local Government Act into operation, and the great difficulty of dealing with the enormous number of circulars issued, matters of importance escaped the notice of the county councils in consequence of the circulars being sent only to the secretaries. I will take the liberty of reading this circular to the House—The Local Government Board for Ireland desire to draw the attention of the county council to the terms of Section 115, Sub-section 18, of the Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1898, which provide that existing officers transferred under 974 the section shall receive such increase or diminution of remuneration in proportion to the increase or diminution of the duties as the Local Government Board may determine, and that the county council, with the approval of the Board, may make a special agreement with any of their officers in the matter. To enable them to discharge the duty thus imposed upon them, the Board will be glad to receive, within three months from the present date, a statement showing the salaries of the secretary, county surveyors, assistant surveyors, and other officers of the council who are affected by the provisions of the sub-section referred to, and who have not made a special agreement with the council on the subject, together with a statement as to the increase or diminution of work to he taken into account in each case. Any observations which the council may see fit to make respecting the claims of their officers under the enactment in question will receive full consideration on the part of the Board.I may point out that very often these circulars and letters from the Local Government Board arrive just after the meeting of the county council has been held, and considerable time may elapse before the matters are brought to the attention of the council and considered. Last year was the opening year of the local administration in Ireland—a year which gave those entrusted with the administration of local affairs a very great amount of work to do. I am sure the House will agree that it would be perfectly impossible to expect members of county councils, who are unpaid, who are not rich men, who have their own business to manage, who have to support themselves and their families by their own industry, to attend permanently for the purpose of discharging public duties in the county councils. When this circular was issued the Local Government Act had been four or five months in operation, and the whole machinery of local government in Ireland had been put into working order all over the country: That had entailed incessant labour on the part of county councils; there had been constant meetings of the councils and their committees, and at the end of those four or five months the Wexford County Council considered they were entitled to a holiday. This circular was issued in August, but I do not know when the county council met to consider it, as I was abroad at the time. I know that when I left Ireland I had not the least idea that any increase of salaries had been demanded by any of our officials, and I do not know at all when the circular was first brought to the notice of the council. Surely a circular of this 975 importance ought to have been brought more prominently before public notice than was the case. The county council met in—I believe—November, and the circular was laid before them. They very properly decided to leave the matter open until it was seen what other county councils were doing in the matter. They instructed their finance committee to investigate and report. All this time there was absolutely no communication whatever with the Local Government Board, who knew when the county councils met, and it was their business to draw the attention of the county councils to that circular. Nobody thought this question would be decided in camera. A great many of us were prepared to leave the matter in the hands of the Local Government Board, thinking that they would communicate with us, and ask for information upon various points. We never believed that they would take upon themselves the responsibility of deciding the question in opposition to the interests of the ratepayers. The finance committee met on 22nd November, and recommended that the county surveyor's salary should be £600 a year, and that he be allowed £50 for expenses. The old grand jury considered that the salary of the county surveyor was too high, and the council agreed with that view, for they considered that the existing salaries were quite large enough, and they simply adopted the existing salaries as the basis for making a reasonable compromise. All this time no specific demand was made by the officials. We never had any demand by the officials for any specific salary, and it was absolutely impossible for us to name any specific sum under the circumstances. All this time the Local Government Board gave us no information, and the county councils were under the impression that the Local Government Board were giving the matter proper consideration, and consequently no action was taken by the county councils. What happened next was that we received a most extraordinary communication from the Local Government Board on the 7th February, 1900, as follows—SIR,—I am directed by the Local Government Board for Ireland to inform you that they have had under consideration the claims for increased remuneration for increased duties made to them under Sections 115 (18) of the Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1898, by the 976 county surveyors who have failed to come to an agreement with the county councils on the matter.The Board have carefully considered all representations which have been received by them from the county councils and their officers in response to their circular of the 29th August upon this subject, and they have also had before them a memorandum prepared by the county surveyors, showing the nature of the increased duties devolving upon them under the Act.The Board observe that the surveyors contend that their travelling expenses are largely increased owing to their having to attend the meetings and adjourned meetings of the county and district councils, and to make quarterly inspections for contractors' payments.They also represent that their additional work in connection with their new duties, including the preparation of plans and specifications and quarterly reports for the district councils, will practically occupy their entire time, so that their private practice must necessarily fall off, and will no longer be the same source of income to them which it has been in the past.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
I cannot conceive that the hon. Member is keeping within the terms of the leave given by the House. I understand that the hon. Gentleman proposed to call attention to some recent action of the Local Government Board, and he is not entitled to discuss the whole proceedings of the Local Government Board in Ireland with the county council of Wexford, extending over many months, and many months before the date on which the matter took place in respect of which the hon. Gentleman has moved the adjournment of the House. That appears to me to be going entirely beyond the definite matter of urgent public importance to which I understand the hon. Gentleman desires to call attention. I understand that some question has recently arisen in respect of some appointment by the Local Government Board in the county of Wexford, but that does not entitle the hon. Member to discuss the whole history of the proceedings of that Board for many months past and to read a lengthy correspondence between the Board and the county council of Wexford. The hon. Member must endeavour to keep to the terms of his leave.
§ *SIR THOMAS ESMONDE
Of course, I will bow to your ruling, Mr. Speaker, but my object really was to strengthen the case against myself. My object in reading this correspondence was to argue 977 the case from the Local Government Board point of view. However, I will not deal with this question of the Local Government Board circulars, although I was anxious to put before the House the replies of the county council to the last circular from the Local Government Board. The county council drew up a detailed reply to every single point raised by the Local Government Board, and to every single point raised by the county surveyors. The next thing was that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland was approached, and he was asked to receive a deputation from the Irish councils generally, in order that they might lay their views before him upon this matter, as they could not get any hearing from the Local Government Board. That request was refused by the right hon. Gentleman. I am perfectly aware that at the time he was not very strong, but I think it was unfortunate that the deputation was not received.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
I must ask the hon. Member not to repeat the arguments which were used during the discussion of this subject upon the Estimates. The hon. Member must refer only to some recent urgent matter of public importance which has occurred since that time.
§ *SIR THOMAS ESMONDE
I have only to say that the right hon. Gentle-man could not receive that deputation because the matter had been discussed on the Estimates. It is much to be regretted that we could not come to some understanding, for the county council had not the smallest intention of refusing to pay reasonable salaries to their officials. All they wanted was that their case should be heard, and that the Local Government Board should take into consideration what was urged on the other side. If salaries were honestly due to the officials we should pay them with the greatest of pleasure, but what we contend is that definite steps ought to have been taken to consider the views of the county councils upon this matter before it was decided. Unquestionably, the views of the county councils have not been properly considered, and all we ask is that they should 978 be considered. The resolutions passed by the Wexford County Council make it perfectly clear that we are prepared to pay fitting salaries to our officers, and to pay for any increased work which devolves upon them owing to the working of the Local Government Act; but what we say is that our side of the question has not been properly considered. The Local Government Board have retaliated by issuing a sealed Order, and that Order, I understand, comes before my county council to-morrow. I will therefore take the responsibility of advising the county council to postpone its consideration for a little longer in order that the Government may be able to find a way out of the difficulty. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland realises fully the seriousness of the position. The Act of Parliament does not say that the Local Government Board should give greater salaries than ought to be given, but it says that they should award such salaries as are fit and proper. I would like to impress upon the right hon. Gentleman the seriousness of the position. In what I have said I have been careful to say nothing at which he can take offence. The Chief Secretary for Ireland has been ruling Ireland now for four or five years, and probably he will agree with me that during all that time the county of Wexford has given him perhaps less trouble than any other county in Ireland. I think that even the Local Government Board for Ireland will admit that the various local boards in the county of Wexford have given them as little trouble as any other public boards in any other part of the country. The people of the county of Wexford feel very strongly upon this question. They are not an excitable people; they are a peaceful people; they are a quiet people; they are an industrious people. All they ask is to be allowed to do their own business in their own way. But they will stand dictation from nobody. The Chief Secretary may not understand the character of the Wexford people. There is nothing theatrical about them. But they have this peculiarity that they mean what they say, and, if they must fight, they will fight. What the council demand is to be allowed to do their own work in their own way; and, although they are not particularly anxious to fight this question, and would 979 prefer that it should be settled amicably, I take the liberty of telling the right hon. Gentleman and the Irish Government that, if this matter is pushed to extremes, Wexford will fight. The right hon. Gentleman does not know much about that part of Ireland; but if he insists on this Order I am afraid there will be considerable trouble not only in Wexford, but in other counties also. I would take the liberty of suggesting to the right hon. Gentleman, in a perfectly friendly spirit, that he should endeavour to find a way out of the difficulty. All that the county council desire is that their case should be given reasonable consideration. It is no use pointing to Acts of Parliament and to the solitary circular which was issued. Knowing the feeling in the county, I can say that unless ordinary courtesy is extended to the county council not a single member of it will consent to pay a farthing of these increased salaries; and there is not a Nationalist in the county, and I doubt if there are very many Unionists, who will not support the council in that attitude. For political purposes it might be just as well if we had a new casus belli against the Irish Government. Individually I am desirous of saving my own county from the anxieties and the sacrifices which a new war in Ireland would entail; and therefore, knowing the extreme gravity of the situation, I have taken the unusual course of moving the adjournment for the purpose of endeavouring to induce the Chief Secretary to find a golden bridge out of the difficulty, and make peace while he may. There is nothing in the Act of Parliament to prevent the right hon. Gentleman settling the matter in a reasonable manner, and if the right hon. Gentleman chooses to carry it to extremes his is the responsibility It might be as well for political reasons if the Local Government Board declared war on the county councils in Ireland, because it would give us a common ground of action against the Government which would cause us to forget our own differences. Whatever may be the decision of the Government is absolutely indifferent to me. In conclusion, I will only say that Wexford is prepared to fight the matter out if necessary, and is determined not to tolerate such interference from the Local Government Board. Hence I offer the suggestion to the Chief Secretary that he should take steps to preserve peace before it is too late.
§ MR. JAMES O'CONNOR (Wicklow, W.)
In seconding the motion of the hon. Baronet, I desire to say, at the outset, that I think that the Chief Secretary was rather ill-advised in endeavouring to shut up discussion this subject. It is really a most important question which the Local Government Board have wantonly and arbitrarily forced on the people of Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman is aware that local taxation in Ire-land is much higher than in England. But the Local Government Board are increasing the rates at such a speed that really the county councils are very likely to break down under the burden that is being imposed on them. I am aware that in the Act of 1898 there is a clause-, —and this will be the answer of the Chief Secretary—to the effect that the Local Government Board can raise salaries if the county councils will not do it, and if the duties of the existing officers have been increased.. But who is the best judge of whether the duties have increased or not? The county councils ought to be the best judges, but the Local Government Board will not allow that right of judgment, and they insist on saying that the duties of such and such an official have been increased by the Act.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
It may be I was somewhat premature in allowing this matter to be raised on a motion for the adjournment; but at any rate, the hon. Member must confine himself to a definite matter of urgent public importance. I must say that, judging from the arguments addressed to the House it appears as if an endeavour is being made to argue the general question of the policy of the Local Government Board under the powers given to them by the Act of 1898. That would be out of order, because it would not be within the terms of the motion, and it would be discussing a general matter which could not be said to be in any way urgent, although it may be important. Therefore the hon. Member must endeavour to confine himself to the terms of the motion. I certainly understood that an attempt would be made to show that there are specific circumstances in the county of Wexford to which it is, desirable to call attention without delay, not an attempt to discuss the same general matter which was, as I under 981 stand, discussed on the Estimates—the policy of the Local Government Board in exercising the powers given them by the Act of 1898.
§ MR. JAMES O'CONNOR
I had no desire to go outside the limits of the motion, but I understand, and I believe that the Chief Secretary is also aware, that these increases of salaries have been going on since May 24th, the date on which the Estimates referred to were discussed in this House. If these increases had been stopped after that date there would certainly have been no ground for this motion, but the practice continues.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
The practice, as I understand, existed before 24th May, and has been continued since. It is therefore a continuous policy which was discussed on the Estimates, and that policy cannot be discussed on the motion before the House.
§ MR. JAMES O'CONNOR
It is since then that this Sealed Order system was inaugurated, a system to which the Irish people are quite unaccustomed, and for that reason the hon. Gentleman is perfectly entitled to bring forward his motion. The Local Government Board had no right to exercise their judgment as regards increases of salary; that duty belongs to the county councils. My hon. friend has referred to the fact that Wexford is determined to resist this attempt to impose additional taxation on them which they cannot bear, and I trust that not only the Wexford County Council, but every county council in Ireland, will fight the Local Government Board out to the very end, and that they will not allow the Board to impose exorbitant rates on them, which they have been endeavouring to do since the Act came into operation.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
I certainly think that the House will agree with me that this motion is the most extraordinary abuse of the rules of the House that we have ever heard of. It was perfectly obvious from the speeches of the mover and seconder that their desire was to bring forward a question which had taken an entire evening when the Vote for the Local Government Board was under con- 982 sideration, but by your ruling, Sir, they have been prevented from doing that. What is there left to answer? One thing, and one thing only, and that is the action of the Board in issuing sealed Orders. The hon. Member talked as if the sealed Order system was a new thing. That system has been going on for the last fifty years.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
Let me explain why a sealed Order was issued in this case. The Local Government Board, acting under the powers and duties imposed upon them by the Act, made these Orders in connection with the salaries of existing officers. The county council refused to carry them out, and the matter then became one between the officer in whose interest the Order had been issued on the one side, and the county council on the other. His redress, if the county council refuse to give him the increase of salary to which the Board had declared he was entitled, is to sue them before a court, and in the absence of a sealed Order there would be no evidence that the Local Government Board had made the Order as to salaries. It was in order to enable the officer to proceed that the sealed Order was issued.
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
The Chief Secretary states in his high and mighty fashion that the system of sealed Orders has been in force in Ireland for fifty years, but that system—and a very tyrannical system it is—has only been enforced against inferior local bodies— namely, the boards of guardians. That system has been put in force on this occasion, for the first time, against a county council in Ireland. And when the right hon. Gentleman says that this system of sealed Orders has been in force for fifty years, I would put this question to him: Was it ever enforced against the grand juries in Ireland?
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. ATKINSON,) London derry, N.
The Local Government Board can make no valid Order except under seal.
§ MR. DILLON
That is a question of a. technicality—that the Order made is 983 described as a sealed Order. But the object is to coerce and compel, and to furnish the machinery to coerce and compel, the county council to pay this officer a bigger salary than they are willing to do. It may be that the principle of the matter was discussed before; but now we have come to machinery, to the fresh assertion of powers by the Local Government Board against the county councils, who are the legitimate successors of the grand juries, and no such power was ever attempted to be put in force against them. There was no jurisdiction against the grand juries, and that is our point. Why are the representatives of the people, who have now come into power, to be compelled by this most oppressive and coercive jurisdiction to do what the old grand juries were never sought to be compelled to do? It is a most monstrous exercise of power. The right hon. Gentleman tried to run away from this case by making out that our mouths should be closed on this occasion because we have debated the subject on the Local Government Board Vote. He utterly misstated the case when he said that the Local Government Board had no alternative but to proceed by this method of sealed Order, and authorise officials to take action against their own employers. That is not true. The Local Government Board had an alternative. Recollect what happened in the debate on the Irish Estimates. From all sides—equally from that as from this side of the House—there came a protest from the Irish Members against the exercise of this discretion by the Local Government Board, and we were entitled to expect, as a result of that debate in May last, that the Local Government Board, instead of rushing without hesitation to this extreme course of action, which is sure to embroil them in a row, would invite from the county councils a full statement of the grounds on which they object to the increase of the salaries. At all events, they were bound to delay coercive action until ample time had been given for a friendly interchange of opinion between the Local Government Board and the county councils. But what did the Local Government Board do? They incontinently, in spite of the unanimous protest of all sections of the Irish Members, rushed to issue these sealed Orders all over Ireland.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Member is simply continuing the debate which took place in Committee. An Order must be made under seal; and, if the Local Government Board exercise their discretion, they must do so by means of the legal machinery. As to the general policy of the Board in exercising their discretion, that is not a definite matter of urgent public importance. I quite understood that the hon. Member for-West Kerry was going to show in the case of Wexford that some very important action had recently been taken by the Local Government Board; but the hon. Gentleman is making no distinction between this case and that already discussed. in Committee.
§ *SIR THOMAS ESMONDE
As a matter of personal explanation, it was only on Saturday that I learned that the County Council of Wexford had been served with a sealed Order. I had no-idea that any other county council had been served in the same way.
§ MR. DILLON
I really think, Mr. Speaker, that you do not quite appreciate: the line I was taking. My contention is that the Local Government Board, instead of exercising the discretion they have under the Act in a rational and wise way,, have suddenly precipitated a collision between themselves and the County Council of Wexford which may lead to disturbance and agitation, and to a very serious strain upon the whole system of local government in Ireland.
§ MR. FLYNN (Cork, N.)
This motion is a very important concrete illustration of the general conduct of the Government in Ireland and of the Local Government Board. I would like to know whether the Local Government Board or the county council are the most competent to judge as to the sufficiency of an increase in salary to be given to the county surveyor. If there is a difference of opinion between the Local Government Board and the county council on a question of fact in regard to the remuneration of this surveyor, why could not the Local Government Board enter into argument' and friendly negotiations with this particular county council, and settle the matter without this issue of a sealed Order? It may be necessary to issue a sealed Order, but why did the Local Govern- 985 ment Board act so promptly? Surely the County Council of Wexford had given no indication that they were not inclined to treat any man unfairly. So far as I know, the County Council of Wexford had given every indication of their desire to treat their existing officers very fairly, and even in a liberal manner. This gentleman's duties had been increased in a very small degree, and an increase of £50 a year was quite enough. In a poor country like Ireland £650 a year is a salary of no mean dimensions. Whether the Local Government Board are right or wrong, they should be very chary indeed and slow to force their view in regard to the salaries of county officials in this arbitrary manner upon county councils, who ought to be the best judges as to whether the salaries are adequate or not, and whether the increase proposed is commensurate with the increased duties. The value of this particular motion of the hon. Baronet is that it is a concrete illustration of the dangerous practice now being pursued by the Local Government Board in setting aside the decision of the local authorities and coming down upon them in an autocratic manner with sealed Orders. It is trifling to say that sealed Orders mean nothing, and that they are absolutely necessary. That is not the point. The point is whether the Local Government Board ought to set aside the decision of the local authority on a local matter in an autocratic manner and say, "We say so and so, and there is no appeal from our decision."
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)
As I gather, the defence of the Government is that in issuing the sealed Order they were carrying out a mere Ministerial act. I quite appreciate that under the ruling of Mr. Speaker we cannot discuss the general policy of the Local Government Board in regard to these local officials. The narrow point to which we are confining ourselves is as to the issue of this sealed Order. I accept fully the description of a sealed Order given by the Chief Secretary and the Attorney General—that it is an Order with the proper and technical formality of the attachment of a seal. But the Attorney General says that a sealed Order in this particular case was necessary, because without it the county surveyor would not be entitled or 986 enabled to take legal action against the county council. Does not that, after all, come to this: that the Local Government Board have taken upon themselves the responsibility—I will, not say of encouraging, but of enabling the county surveyor to enter into litigation with the county council? If that is so, I put it to the Attorney General whether it was not entirely within the discretion of the Local Government Board to postpone or delay the issue of the sealed Order in question. Reason, prudence, and policy should have dictated them to adopt such a course. But they have shown—I will not say indecent, but considerable haste in issuing this sealed Order, and in that way have driven the county surveyor into litigation with the county council. I put it to the Government whether it is fair to the county councils that they should be forced into this conflict with the authorities, into which they are forced by the action of the Government. Is it in the interests of good government and order in Ireland generally that this contest should be forced and accelerated on the county surveyor? My hon. friend has put his case to the Government, who have met his suggestions with persistent refusals, and now the responsibility of safeguarding the authorities of law, self government and order must rest upon the Government.
§ MR. FLAVIN (Kerry, N.)
felt it his duty to associate himself with the protest which had been raised by the hon. Member for East Mayo. Under the old grand jury system £60 a year was considered a proper and sufficient sum for the salary of the county surveyor, but when popular self-government was given to Ireland the Government thought that the sum should be raised to £150, and, therefore, a sealed Order was sent to the county councils to pay that salary. The only conclusion he could come to was that, the landlords having been relieved of all rates, the county council was now to be compelled to increase the rates for an improper purpose. He protested against the sealed Order being sent down, and thought that the county council ought not only to protest against it, but also to refuse to comply with it. He desired to know whether under the sealed Orders the county councils had a right to discharge the county surveyors with or with- 987 out a gratuity or pension. Having regard to the efforts which were being made in favour of popular self-government, it was the duty of all Irish Members to protest against the action of the Government, and show the constituents that the increase in the rates was not due to the county councils, but to the action of the Local Government Board.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL (Donegal, S.)
said the sealed Order which had been stated by the Attorney General for Ireland and the Chief Secretary to be a more Ministerial act was, in fact, something more. It was a fiat which enabled the county surveyor of Wexford to take action against the Wexford County Council. In his opinion greater discretion ought to have been exercised, and the Local Government Board ought to have waited until the time came when no compromise between the county council and the county surveyor appeared to be possible. The Government ought to have had more discretion than to allow the Local
§ Government Board to have acted as they had done, and to that extent the Government were responsible.
§ MR. POWER (Waterford, E.)
desired to join in the protest which had been made by the Irish Members against the way in which the Local Government Board had treated Wexford by the issue of the sealed Order. He was glad that the county council had taken the step they had with regard to it, for the reason that if matters like this were allowed to pass without protest, the inhabitants of Ireland would look not to the counter councils, but to the Local Government Board, as the local authority. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would show the same regard to the various localities, and not seek to override their action as he had done with regard to this matter.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 114; Noes, 199. (Division List No. 188.)989
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N. E.)||Harwood, George||O'Kelly, James|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||Oldroyd, Mark|
|Allison, Robert Andrew||Hazell, Walter||O'Malley, William|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Hedderwick, Thomas C. H.||Palmer, George W. (Reading)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Holland, William Henry||Pease, Joseph A. (Northumb.)|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Horniman, Frederick John||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Baker, Sir John||Jameson, Major J. Eustace||Price, Robert John|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Johnson-Ferguson, Jabez Edw.||Reckitt, Harold James|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Jones, William (Carnarvons.)||Richardson, J. (Durham, S. E.)|
|Billson, Alfred||Kay-Shuttleworth, Rt Hn Sir U||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Birrell, Augustine||Kearley, Hudson E.||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Blake, Edward||Langley, Batty||Shaw, Charles E. (Stafford)|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cumb'l'nd)||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Caldwell, James||Leng, Sir John||Souttar, Robinson|
|Carew, James Laurence||Lewis, John Herbert||Spicer, Albert|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Macaleese, Daniel||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Cawley, Frederick||Mac Donnell Dr. M. A. (Queen's C.)||Strachey, Edward|
|Channing, Francis Allston||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Colville, John||M'Crae, George||Sullivan, T. D. (Donegal, W.)|
|Crilly, Daniel||M'Dermott, Patrick||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Crombie, John William||M'Ewan, William||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.)||M'Ghee, Richard||Ure, Alexander|
|Dalziel, James Henry||M'Hugh, Patrick A. (Leitrim)||Wallace, Robert|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan||M'Laren, Charles Benjamin||Walton, John L. (Leeds, S.)|
|Dillon, John||M'Leod, John||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Doogan, P. C.||Mandeville, J. Francis||Wason, Eugene|
|Dunn, Sir William||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand||Wedderburn, Sir William|
|Emmott, Alfred||Molloy, Bernard Charles||Weir, James Galloway|
|Engledew, Charles John||Morgan, J. L. (Carmarthen)||Wills, Sir William Henry|
|Evans, Sir Francis H (South'ton)||Morgan, W. Pritchard (Merthyr)||Wilson, Henry J.(York, W. R.)|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Morton, Edw. J. C. (Devonport)||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Moulton, John Fletcher||Woods, Samuel|
|Flynn, James Christopher||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Fox, Dr. Joseph Francis||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Cornnor, James (Wicklow, W.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir Thomas Esmonde and Captain Donelan.|
|Gold, Charles||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Haldane, Richard Burdon||O'Dowd, John|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F.||Giles, Charles Tyrrell||Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford)|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Gilliat, John Saunders||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.|
|Arrol, Sir William||Goldsworthy, Major-General||Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bute|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)|
|Austin, Sir John (Yorkshire)||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Myers, William Henry|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Goschen, Rt Hn G J (St George's)||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury)||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlingt'n|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. G. W. (Leeds||Greville, Hon. Ronald||Pender, Sir James|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Gull, Sir Cameron||Penn, John|
|Barry, Rt. Hn. A. H. Smith-(Hunts||Gunter, Colonel||Percy, Earl|
|Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor||Halsey, Thomas Frederick||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord George||Pilkington, Rich (Lancs Newt'n|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. W. W. B.(Hants.||Hanson, Sir Reginald||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Bethell, Commander||Hardy, Laurence||Purvis, Robert|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo.||Pym, C. Guy|
|Biddulph, Michael||Heath, James||Rankin, Sir James|
|Bigwood, James||Helder, Augustus||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|Bill, Charles||Henderson, Alexander||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Blakiston-Houston, John||Hermon-Hodge, Robert T.||Ridley, Rt. Hn. Sir Matthew W.|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Hill, Rt. Hn. A. Staveley (Staffs.)||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Hoare, Sir Samuel (Norwich)||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Boulnois, Edmund||Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter|
|Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex)||Howard, Joseph||Round, James|
|Brassey, Albert||Howell, William Tudor||Russell, Gen. F. S. (Cheltenham)|
|Brodrick. Rt. Hon. St. John||Howorth. Sir Henry Hoyle||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Glasgow)||Hozier, Hon. James Henry C.||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Carlile, William Walter||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Sandon, Viscount|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Hughes, Colonel Edwin||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. T. Myles|
|Cavendish, V. C. W.(Derbysh.||Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.)||Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. E. J.|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, East)||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Sidebottom, William (Derbysh.|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. Wm.||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J.(Birm.||Kimber, Henry||Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)|
|Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r.)||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Knowles, Lees||Smith, Hon W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Charrington, Spencer||Lafone, Alfred||Spencer, Ernest|
|Chelsea, Viscount||Laurie, Lieut.-General||Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk|
|Coddington, Sir William||Lawrence, Sir. E. Durning- (Corn.||Stanley, Edward J. (Somerset)|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks||Stanley, Sir Henry M (Lambeth|
|Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth||Lea, Sir Thomas (Londonderry)||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Carbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow||Lecky, Rt. Hon. William Edw, H.||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Cornwallis, Fiennes Stanley W.||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Leighton, Stanley||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Curzon, Viscount||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn- (Swan.)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Long, Col. Charles W.(Evesham||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Long, Rt Hn Walter (Liverpool)||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred. D.||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Lowe, Francis William||Warde, Lieut.-Col. C. E. (Kent)|
|Doxford, Sir William T.||Lowles, John||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Welby, Lt. -Col. A. C. E. (Taunton|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-under-L|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||Macdona, John dimming||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir. J. (Manch'r||M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinburgh W||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Malcolm, Ian||Williams, Jos. Powell- (Birm.|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Maple, Sir John Blundell||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.|
|FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose-||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks.)|
|Fitz Wygram, General Sir F.||Middlemore, J. Throgmorton||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Milbank, Sir Powlett Chas John||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Flower, Ernest||Milner, Sir Frederick George||Wyndham, George|
|Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||Milward, Colonel Victor||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Galloway, William Johnson||Monckton, Edward Philip|
|Garlit, William||Monk, Charles James||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.— Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H. (City of Lond.)||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)|
|Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans)||Morgan, Hn. Fred. (Monmthsh.)|