§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £32,339, he granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1901, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Local Government Board in Ireland."
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
I cannot better describe the feelings which exist in Ireland with regard to the administration of the Local Government Act by the Local Government Board than by reading to the House two resolutions passed recently by two local bodies in the north of Ireland—bodies in which, so far from there being a Nationalist majority, there is only a very small Nationalist minority. The first is the Ballymoney Board of Guardians, and the resolution is as follows—Resolved unanimously: After six months experience of the working of the Local Government (Ireland) Act we find that the benefits conferred by it are largely rendered nugatory by the action of the Local Government Board, and that an inquiry should be made with a view to having the powers of the said Board curtailed.The other resolution is a long one, passed 1128 unanimously by the Ballymena Board of Guardians, and the following is an extract therefrom—We hereby protest against the serious increases of taxation now being imposed on the ratepayers against their will, and above the requirements of the case, by the imperative orders of a body on which the ratepayers have no representation whatever. To give one example from many, an Order was recently issued that all dispensary doctors should have one month's holiday in each year, and not only are the ratepayers to pay a substitute, but they are denied the right to fix the fee of the substitute at market prices or at the average rate of the salary of the doctor; thus an increase is made of over one-twelfth of the medical officer's salary in the standard year.What happened in this particular case was that the Local Government Board, in the spirit of constantly desiring to dictate, interfere, and meddle with the local bodies in the country, issued a ukase that the medical officer of each union should have four weeks vacation every year, and that his substitute should be paid at a certain rate. If I were on the board of guardians I should strongly support the proposal that the medical officer should have a vacation, but I should resist to the very uttermost it being imposed upon me by a body which is not at all representative of the ratepayers. On this question, one board of guardians has fought the matter out in the courts, and it was decided only a fortnight ago in Dublin by the Chief Baron that the Local Government Board had exceeded their legal authority, and that the guardians were the judges of the amount of vacation to be granted to the medical officers. The Order of the Local Government Board, therefore, after being in force for nearly a year, was quashed, and in giving judgment the Chief Baron used a very strong expression. Referring to the section under which the Local Government Board professed to act, he said that it was quite clear from the words of the section that the local boards were really the judge in this matter, and they were not to be treated, as they had been in this case, as more conduit pipes for the Orders of the Local Government Board. Those are very strong words coming from a Judge in the position of the Chief Baron, and they are applicable not only to this particular instance, but to many other cases in which the Local Government Board have shown a desire to treat the local bodies as mere body servants or officers of the Board. I cannot imagine a con- 1129 dition of things more calculated to create friction and to interfere with the smooth working of the Local Government Act in Ireland than the spirit which has been displayed by the Local Government Board. The Act is a very complicated measure, and it has been made much more complicated and difficult to work by the multitude of Orders in Council and Local Government Board Orders and rules which have been showered upon the local bodies. One would imagine that the object and desire of the Local Government Board—more especially when dealing with a country like Ireland, which for generations has been practically denied all voice in the local government of the country—would be to do everything in their power to simplify and to assist the working of the Act by dealing with the local bodies in a spirit of helpfulness and sympathy, and wherever there was any doubt as to their authority, or where the local bodies protested against their authority, to give the local bodies the benefit of the doubt. If that had been done the Local Government Board would have obtained an influence over the local bodies which would have enabled them by a little patience to get many of their views carried into effect, without creating undue friction, and relations similar to those existing between local bodies and the Local Government Board in this country might have been established in Ireland. I say with confidence that if the Local Government Board in this country were to attempt to deal with the local bodies in the same spirit as has been displayed by the Local Government Board in Ireland they would very soon be brought to their bearings. There are two points which I desire to mention at the outset as those to which I shall direct special attention. The first is the spirit in which the Local Government Board have worked the Act—a spirit which I declare to be one of harshness, of undue desire to exercise their authority, of arrogance and of dictation, and a spirit which has produced friction and distrust, the very opposite of the true feeling which should be cultivated, and which is essential for the smooth working of a system of local government under which local bodies are more or less checked or controlled by a central board. My second point will be the persistent policy of the Local Government Board of increasing salaries in spite of the protests 1130 of the people. This is a point of the most vital importance. That policy has been pursued to such an extent as to force on the public mind in Ireland a grave suspicion that there exists at headquarters the settled intention of discrediting the representatives of the people and the whole system of local government in Ireland. I think there is very great ground for that suspicion, because we remember that during the debates on the Local Government Act, and for years previous to those debates, when the right of local government was refused to the counties in Ireland, the main and most effective argument was that if you allowed local government in the Irish counties you would swamp the ratepayers with expenditure, jobbery would prevail, high salaries be granted, and the ratepayers utterly ruined. One great reason why a large grant was made to the Irish landlords was that in view of the alleged probable avalanche of expenses which would be caused by the Local Government Act it was absolutely necessary to save the landlord from the danger of extinction. Let me quote in support of! that view an extraordinary statement made by the Duke of Abercorn in a remarkable speech which he delivered as President of the Landlords' Convention, reported in the Dublin papers on 2 8th April. In that speech he gave the most absurd description of the position of the Irish landlords, declaring that the country was sunk in misery and despair, that the landlords were starving, that country house after country house was being shut up, and that each Government that came into office exceeded its predecessors in doing injustice to the landlords. Then he went on to say that even in France after the Revolution he believed that compensation was given for land that had been confiscated, and that it was only now that the ordinary landlord saw his doom was sealed. I only wish my doom was sealed in the same way. Lord Abercorn continued—He (the landlord) has no voting power, and therefore Governments vie with one another in making him a victim. It is said that there is the Agricultural Grant, but everybody sees now that these new bodies are certain to double and treble the old taxation, so that the landlords will he worse off than ever.I say that such language goes a long way to confirm the suspicion that there does exist a deliberate purpose to force these 1131 local bodies by monstrous increases of salaries to increase the rates, and then to use that increase as an argument that the Irish people are unfitted for self-government. The Local Government Board have adopted throughout the length and breadth of the country a consistent policy of increasing salaries, and have pursued that policy not only after consultation with the local bodies, and despite their protests, and without any justification in the shape of increased work to be discharged by these officials, but in many cases without consulting the local authorities at all. I will take one or two cases, although it is a matter which does not require to be argued. It is admitted universally in Ireland that the policy of the Local Government Board in this respect is a policy of absolute extravagance. Of course we were charged in the old days with being jobbers, and it was prophesied that the south of Ireland would be a scene of jobbery and extravagance as soon as these local bodies came into existence, but what are the facts? Take Kerry, which is a purely Nationalist county. The majority of the county councils were of opinion that £500 a year was a sufficient salary for the county secretary, and in spite of the protests of the council the salary was forced up to £900 a year. Take Mayo, which has been made the subject of a monstrous and outrageous onslaught by the Local Government Board, simply, as I believe, because it was the cradle of the United Irish League. There is in that county an assistant surveyor of roads named Mr. Garvay whose salary two years ago was £60 a year. Six weeks before the power of the grand jury came to an end they increased his salary to £80. The Local Government Board under the new Act issued an Order requiring the county council to increase Mr. Garvay's salary to £140, at the same time halving his district, and ordering the county council to appoint another surveyor at a salary of £130. Therefore the work which was done under the grand jury for £60 a year two years ago is now done under the Local Government Board for £270, and I have also been informed that the Local Government Board have not objected to Mr. Garvay being appointed petty sessions clerk at £60 or £70 a year. If that be true it is a most astounding state of affairs, because it shows that Mr. Garvay can spare time from his duties as 1132 surveyor to act as petty sessions clerk, and there is therefore no justification for increasing his salary on the ground of increased work. All that was done against the unavailing protest of the local authorities. I now pass to the north of Ireland. At a meeting of the Fermanagh Council presided over the Earl of Erne, S the following resolution was passed—We hereby protest in the strongest possible manner against what the council consider the most high-handed action of the Local Government Board in fixing the salary of the secretary of the council at £500 with £100 for bringing the Act into operation, and that we hereby refuse to accept their decision.That is a council on which, as far as I recollect, there is a Unionist majority. Now I come to the County Council of Deny, which has as one of its representatives in this House the Attorney General for Ireland. They have had a long struggle with the Local Government Board on the subject of salaries, and on the 23rd April they entered a most vigorous protest against the action of the Local Government Board in increasing the salaries of officials, and that protest was supported unanimously, irrespective of political opinion. One member said it was rather a cool proceeding on the part of the Local Government Board to take such an important step without asking the council why they had refused to increase the salaries, and without giving them an opportunity of stating their views on the matter. Mr. Glyn, another member of the council, said the Local Government Board travelled a little too fast, and went on to say that the Local Government Board were running up expenses as far as possible in order that it might be said that the local bodies had increased the expenditure. That is the very point which I wish to impress on the Committee. Another member said it was not the slightest use telling the people that power was placed in their own hands when it was immediately taken away by the Local Government Board, who treated them as a parcel of fools and told them they were not even competent to fix the salaries of their own officials. Similar statements were made at a meeting of the general council of the county councils. Mr. Smith, who represented West Meath, said that a day should be appointed in order to consider these matters, and another gentleman said that the Local Government 1133 Board were determined to make the Act a mockery. A resolution was passed condemning the Local Government Board for increasing the salaries of officials, and requesting that the resolution be sent to the Chief Secretary and to the Irish Members. This is a most astounding policy on the part of the Local Government Board. Why docs not the Local Government Board allow the local bodies in Ireland to settle down? Even if they do show a disposition to pare down the salaries I should have thought that the last people to complain should be the Local Government Board, who should only interfere, if they interfered at all, when the local bodies showed a disposition to jobbery and to inflate salaries out of all proportion to the duties of the offices. But I know that there exists in Ireland another view, and one with which I entirely sympathise, and that is, that one of the strong reasons operating in the minds of the Local Government Board for this nagging interference with the general control of the officers of the local bodies in Ireland is the desire to set up all over the country a body of officials who, being nominally the officers of the local bodies, will look not to their employers, but in the direction of the Local Government Board in Dublin. If the Local Government Board in Dublin persist in continually overruling the local bodies and say, "You must pay these officers more than you are willing to pay, and grant them longer vacations, and do this, that, and the other," how can you expect—would it be reasonable to expect —that these officers would look to their employers in the country as their real masters? On the contrary, they would look to Dublin; and you are therefore sowing the seeds all over the country— whether of set purpose or not, I cannot say—of differences between the county councils and their officers. It is a most mischievous policy, and one calculated, to my mind, to have very far-reaching-effects. So much on the question of expense and increase of salaries; and I shall wait with curiosity what explanation the Government will give. I think the Irish Nationalist Members ought to take this the earliest opportunity to emphasise the fact that all the charges which have been made against the people of Ireland when local government was denied us, and that all the insinuations that were made from those benches when local government was 1134 finally granted in 1898—charges which were renewed only last week by the Duke of Abercorn in Dublin—are absolutely false and baseless. And if the rates rise, as they must undoubtedly, that rise will be due to the outrageous interference of the Local Government Board of Ireland. Then there is the question of the complication of machinery. A great deal of the increase of expense is due to the fact that under the old county administration of grand juries, the accounts could be kept by a small staff of clerks; but under the new system the amount of clerical work and accounting work has increased beyond all reasonable limits. I know it would not be in order for me to go at any length into the question of how far that increase is due to the drafting of the Bill. The distribution of the agricultural grants-in-aid has led to a most monstrous complication of accounts as compared with the English system. I believe if the English system had been carried out in Ireland it would have saved the county councils of Ireland a large staff of officials. I venture to say that the Local Government Board in prescribing this system of accounts have not shown that desire for simplicity which they ought to have shown; nor have they displayed a thoroughly friendly and patient spirit with a body of men unaccustomed to all this detailed work of administration introduced for the first time—a system far more complicated than that in England, although in England the officials had long been accustomed to local government. I think the Local Government Board ought to have approached the county councils with a full appreciation of these difficulties, have given them some kind assistance, done their very utmost to simplify the system of accounts necessary under the Act, and enabled them to start fair. According to the information which has reached me, the action of the Local Government Board has been different from what we would naturally have expected. On the contrary, there has been a good deal of friction as to the form of the accounts, and instead of helping the local bodies they have sneered at those who have not at once fallen into a faultless method of dealing with this extraordinary mass of detailed accounts. There are several other points on which the Local Government Board have shown a very unreasonable spirit. Take the case of the county secretaries. It will be in 1135 the recollection of the Committee that we had considerable debate when the Act was passing through in regard to the clause which gave power to the Local Government Board to control the appointment of the county secretaries. By a curious side current, that power was taken from them by another clause, which, however, enabled the Local Government Board to prescribe the qualifications of the secretaries of counties. Just as I expected, in the Dublin Gazette of 19th December, 1899, there appeared a general Order of a most extraordinary kind—an Order "regulating the qualifications of secretaries of counties." There is a passage in that Order which, in my opinion, entirely destroys—if carried out in the spirit which has been exhibited in other matters by the Local Government Board—the liberty of the county council in appointing these secretaries. It is—Now, therefore, we do hereby order and direct that no one shall be appointed [a secretary to a county council] unless he shall have been examined and his qualifications tested by some person or persons appointed by the Local Government Board.Now, I absolutely protest against the introduction of that provision. Why do they not examine the secretaries to the grand juries? Do you prescribe an examination for the secretaries to the county councils in England? What right have the Local Government Board to introduce such a provision under this new Act in Ireland? It did not apply under the old system, when, as everybody knows, it was the common practice for grand juries in Ireland to appoint men as secretaries who were absolutely incapable of doing the work, but got poor sweated clerks to do it. You never proposed examination then. I protest against the introduction of this system. In my opinion, it is really a breach of faith, because when we passed that sub-section giving that power to the Local Government Board we were given to understand that nothing novel or unusual would be introduced that all the Board wanted to have was a general formal kind of power which would prevent a notorious drunkard or a thoroughly incapable man being appointed. Now, the Local Government Board of Ireland are not a proper examining body, nor are they a Civil Service body. I say that many of the men who are inspectors under the Local Government Board, and 1136 who would be sent down to examine these secretaries, are not fit to do so. The Local Government Board would have to examine their own inspectors first. I speak with knowledge, and as a man who has had experience of these matters; and I maintain that if the inspectors of the Local Government Board were to be subject to examination of their qualifications there would be a very considerable clearance. Is it not a monstrous thing that an Irish Board, not constituted to examine candidates, and not competent to do so, should be put into the position of the Civil Service Board? One of the reasons why I feel so strongly on this question is that I have no confidence in the impartiality or the honesty of the possible examiners. We know perfectly well that when you are going to appoint officers as examiners, the first necessity is to surround the examining body with safeguards, so that the candidates may get fair play. I have no hesitation in saying that a Nationalist would have no chance in an examination conducted by an inspector of the Local Government Board,, no matter how high his qualifications would be; whereas a Unionist might give what answers he pleased, and he would be appointed at once. If there was any doubt on that point, it would be removed by the last pargraph of the Order—That no person shall be appointed who is unable to satisfy the Local Government Board as to his age and character.In what respect is he to satisfy the Board as to his age and character? Is he to satisfy them that he never took part in Nationalist meetings, that he never-touched any such wickedness as the Plan of Campaign or the National League? Anyone can see that if that programme is to go on it is a programme drawn for the purpose of allowing the Local Government Board to exclude from office any man who is obnoxious to the Local Government Board, and it leaves them an absolute discretion as to what qualifications would satisfy their requirements. There are various other provisions in the Order to which I object. A man may not be appointed an official of the county council if he has been condemned to prison without the option of a fine. Well, I know myself an instance in which the magistrates have taken a hint from the Order, and sent a man to prison without the option of a fine, who would not have 1137 been sent to prison but that they wanted to disqualify him from employment as a county council official. That is most outrageous; it places in the hands of the Local Government Board the enormous power of ostracising their political opponents. Again, from one of their recent circulars the Local Government Board would appear to claim some power of control over the appointment of poor-rate collectors. That claim is made under Sub-section 5 of Section 3 of the Act of 1898, which says that—The Local Government Board shall also have the same power as regards collectors of poor rates appointed by the county council, and their accounts, as they would have if these collectors had continued to be officers of the board of guardians.The Local Government Board have published an Order in Article 4 of which they say that—The county council shall, subject to the approval of the Local Government Hoard, appoint from time to time such and so many as they deem expedient collectors of the poor rates.Now, where did they get that authority? The sub-section, in my view, applies to having the same power of removal of and control over the collectors of poor rates after they have been appointed by the county councils as when they were still officers of the board of guardians; but that does not convey the power to control the appointment of the collectors by the county councils. If there be any doubt as to the power conveyed by that sub-section, I say it would be the clear duty of the Local Government Board to accept that doubt in favour of the representatives of the people, rather than straining it against them. They have power to lay down certain restrictions and qualifications; but this Order goes beyond the question of qualifications and reserves to the Local Government Board the power to object to an appointment, even if the qualifications are all right. If there is any doubt it ought to be given in favour of the representatives of the people.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. ATKINSON, Londonderry, N.)
There is no doubt.
§ MR. DILLON
I beg leave to differ from the Attorney General; I think 1138 there is some doubt. And I beg to point out that there were two cases in which, in spite of the legal opinion of the right hon. Gentleman, he was wrong in the interpretation of this Act. The right hon. Gentleman broke the law in regard to the case of granting extra vacations to the medical officers.
§ MR. DILLON
Then we are to understand that his advice was not asked in that case. But whoever gave the advice, the law was broken, and broken in endeavouring to strain the authority of the Local Government Board, and to push and extend it beyond the power given in the Act. Nothing can be more certain than that the judgment of the Chief Baron distinctly conveys the impression that the Local Government Board had exceeded their powers. My point is that the law was broken by the Local Government Board, and the answer of the Attorney General is that they broke the law by misinterpretation of their own rules! I come to another extraordinary case in which the Local Government Board broke the law. The right hon. Gentleman will remember the Order of May 15 of last year, by which the Local Government Board altered the incidence of taxation under the Irish Public Health Act, in a number of small towns and villages in Ireland. That Order provided that the cost of sanitary works of various kinds, which had hitherto been a charge on the towns or villages which derived all the benefit, should be spread over all the rural districts. A more extraordinary Order was never issued by any public body in Ireland. What was the result? Immediately a, large part of these rural districts were practically in a state of rebellion; and in my own district the agitation against the Order was in full swing until the authorities intervened. I should like to hear from the Attorney General some explanation of the exact present legal situation on that point. The Order was issued on loth May, but after considerable agitation and consideration in this House a large number of districts were eliminated by a new Order on 15th July from the operation of the Order of 15th May, and placed in the same condition that they were in before the issue of the first Order. 1139 Other districts protested, but the Local Government Board sent a curt answer containing no argument whatever, but simply referring to the Order of 15th July, and stating that the cost of the works in question had been debited to the whole rural district. I am informed that the Local Government Board in so doing were acting under entirely illegal authority. That is a pretty position for a Government Department to get itself into, simply and solely from their unnecessary hurry to do things without listening to the people. What was the next step? In the Public Works Loans Act last year a clause was introduced to the effect that the Order of the Local Government Board in Ireland of 15th May, 1899, save so far as altered by that of 15th July, shall determine the areas on which the expenses of works are to be charged. Was there ever a clause of that character introduced into a Public Works Loan Bill before? It was simply inserted to validate their illegal act. I have examined the Public Health (Ireland) Bill. What does that Bill do? It proposes to enable you to do with the consent of the Local Government Board what you undertook to do without their consent last year. If that is not the meaning of the Public Health Bill I cannot understand it. I think the fifth clause of the Public Works Loans (Ireland) Act makes the arrangements under the two Orders of last year permanent, and then you require a fresh Bill to obtain the consent of the Local Government Board. I have no objection to that because it can only be done now by the consent of the rural district council. That is a strong illustration of the way in which the Local Government Board approaches this subject, and of its disregard of the wishes of the locality and the opinion of the local authorities. They are in a great hurry to assert their own authority. There was no real hurry in a question of this kind, and you should have given the people an opportunity of expressing their views. There is one other matter I desire to say a word upon before I sit down. That is the case of Dr. Cullen. I shall not touch upon it at any length, as my hon. friend the Member for the Harbour Division of Dublin proposes to deal with it. That is another instance of the spirit which I contend is shown by the Local Government Board. Apart from the question whether Dr. 1140 Cullen was right or wrong, I consider, in view of the trial the man got, that it was a case of persecution and the greatest possible injustice. There is a great body of opinion that it was deliberate, and that there was spite against this unfortunate gentleman. I put aside altogether the merits of Dr. Cullen's conduct. Whatever the merits, I say the man got no fair play, and the examination was conducted in such a way as to leave on the public mind a most disagreeable impression. I draw the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to the fact that the Dublin Board of Guardians, which is an important body, at their last meeting passed a resolution placing on record their protest against the conduct of the Local Government Board in not sending to that Board a reply to their communication on the subject, instructing the clerk to ask a reply, and also to ask a copy of the evidence taken at both inquiries in the case. The hon. Gentleman refused to give a copy of the evidence on account of its being very voluminous. There is a very strong feeling in the City of Dublin and in Dr. Cullen's own district that he has been most unjustly and cruelly dealt with. Here you have an Act conferring local government upon people who for generations had been debarred to a large extent from all experience and practice in the art of local government. That is an experience which we know perfectly well cannot be acquired in a moment. We were told over and over again, when you were giving the people local government, that we would disgrace ourselves, and show ourselves not fit for control. I have heard over and over again from all quarters of the House comic descriptions of the state of things that would prevail in Ireland if the control of local government were handed over to the people. It has been handed over to the people under an Act which, as I have already pointed out, calls for at the hands of our people a great deal more experience in affairs than is the case in England. The working of the Act is superintended and controlled by a board in Ireland which has far more stringent power's than the English Local Government Board. If one did not live in Ireland, and if one was not a citizen of that country, one would imagine that the Local Government Board in Ireland would have done everything in their power to make the yoke of their authority sit as 1141 lightly as possible, so that it might be little felt by the local boards, that they would have endeavoured to win them by patience, counsel, and assistance before resorting to their coercive powers, and that they would have been animated by a sincere desire to make this great experiment a success. The policy they have adopted is precisely the opposite. They have shown a desire to stretch their authority, to dictate orders, and to interfere with the operations of the local boards at every turn. They have also, as I have shown beyond all question, so exercised their authority as to enormously increase the cost of a very expensive system, owing to the manner in which the Act was drawn. It will be proved by experience that no people on being first gifted with the power of local government could show greater capacity than my countrymen for working it, and that would more than anything justify the granting of local government in the case in Ireland, but this additional credit will have to be given to them, that any good results achieved were brought about in spite of an unsympathetic, harsh, and exasperating administration on the part of the Local Government Board. I beg to move the reduction.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Item A (Salaries) be reduced by £1,000."—(Mr. Dillon.)
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. G. W. BALFOUR, Leeds, Central)
The hon. Gentleman who has just addressed the House began by saying that he could not better describe the feeling in regard to the Local Government Board in Ireland than by quoting two resolutions passed by boards of guardians in the north of Ireland. One of these resolutions was passed by the Ballymoney Board of Guardians, and was to the effect that after six months experience of the Act they found that the benefits had been rendered nugatory by the action of the Local Government Board. The hon. Gentleman did not state the grounds on which that resolution had been passed, and therefore I cannot deal with it. But in the case of the Ballymena Board of Guardians the hon. Member did quote one case in support of the protest which that board made against expenditure due to the central authority. It appears that a general rule was passed 1142 by the Local Government Board under which it was laid down that each medical officer should be allowed an annual vacation not exceeding four weeks, and that the medical officer temporarily employed to discharge the duties of the medical officer for that period should receive such reasonable remuneration for his services as the Board shall approve or direct. The Local Government Board, acting under that Order, insisted that the doctor should have a vacation of four weeks. The matter was brought before the County Court judges, who ruled that the action of the Board was correct and legal, but an appeal was made from the County Court judges to the Supreme Court, which ruled, I understand, that it was not competent for the Local Government Board to insist on four weeks holidays annually, and on the payment of the temporary medical officer in every case. I remember perfectly well when this subject was raised in the House last year I stated, in answer to a question across the floor of the House, that the. Local Government Board had laid down an Order of this kind, and that statement was received on the benches opposite with something like approval. The hon. Member says that this action of the Local Government Board was illegal, and it has no doubt been pronounced by the Courts that the action of the Local Government Board did go beyond what was competent. To that extent, I admit, the Local Government Board made a mistake, but I do not understand that the County Court judges or the Supreme Court! laid down that the Local Government Board had no power to enact a rule that would have covered their action, or suggested for one moment that such a rule would not be a proper rule. [An HON. MEMBER: The question did not arise.] There was this very case the hon. Gentleman cited in support of the resolution of the Ballymena Board of Guardians. It seems to come simply to this, that the Board did not draft the rule in such a way as to give thorn the full power they desired to have. It would have been perfectly competent to draft a rule to have that power, but they somewhat exceeded their power under that rule in insisting that four weeks vacation should be given. The best way to cure any mistake that may have been made will be to alter the rule, and no doubt that will be done in due course.
MR. G. W. BALFOUK
However, that is a very different charge from the general indictment brought against the Local Government Board by the Ballymoney Board of Guardians. The hon. Member went on to give at great length his reasons why he thought that the Local Government Board had acted with harshness, ignorance, and arbitrary dictation. May I, at this point, say how the hon. Member has approached this question? The spirit in which he approached the question may be judged from the fact that he ventured to insinuate, almost to assert, that the Local Government Board in its action in increasing the salaries of existing officers had acted with the deliberate intention of getting the local authorities into discredit. He wished to make it appear that the Local Government Board had a tendency to extravagance. That was his charge against the Board.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
You went beyond that. The hon. Member said that there were very good reasons for Believing it. What was the ground that the hon. Member relied upon? Is it the quotation from a speech or pamphlet of the Duke of Abercorn? The hon. Member appears to think that the Local Government Board has an interest in showing that the local bodies are really unfit for the task committed to them. Who is at the head of the Local Government Board? Is it the Duke of Abercorn or myself? The person responsible for almost all the practices which the hon. Gentleman has attacked this afternoon is the Chief Secretary, or the author of the Bill himself. I never maintained, when the Bill was passing through the House, that the local bodies proposed to be created in Ireland were likely to prove unfit for the work. On the contrary, I always maintained, and I maintain now, that in the long run, after a certain amount of experience, you are likely to find the administration of local affairs in Ireland carried on in a way which, if not in all respects superior to the former system, will, at all events, not be very 1144 much behind it, and will, in some respects, show an improvement. So far from its being my interest to bring these bodies into discredit, the very opposite is the case. My whole interest is to see that they carry on the work of administration very efficiently. The hon. Gentleman complained of the increased and extra expenditure which occurred at the outset of the operations of the new Act. No doubt there have been some increases, but those increases are due, or largely due, to causes which are essentially temporary in their character. In the first place, there are compensation allowances charged upon the rates, amounting to about £100,000. That is only a temporary, not a recurring charge. Then there is the cost of the first elections, which came to about £50,000. That cost, of course, was very much higher than the cost of subsequent elections will be, because very considerable capital expenditure was necessarily incurred, such as for the purchase of ballot boxes and so forth, which would not again happen. But over and above, that there was for the first year of the new administration an additional charge of about £200,000. So far as the road expenditure is concerned, when the new authorities came into being they had to provide not merely for the year up to March, 1900, but also for the road expenditure of the previous three months, with the result that the rates were, of course, increased. But that was only an apparent and not a real increase. I believe that if the accounts of the counties, where this expenditure has been in excess of the amount expended in previous years, are examined and analysed, the excess will be found to depend principally upon the items I have mentioned. Now I come to the charge that we have assumed a persistent policy of increasing salaries. In making this charge the hon. Member never once referred to the clause in the Act of Parliament under which this was done. I will read the portion of the clause which is pertinent to the question.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 as 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 Act, his duties are increased or diminished, the officer shall be bound 1145 to perform those duties, and shall receive such increase or diminution o1 remuneration in proportion to the increase or diminution of his duties as the Local Government Board may determine.What does that clause do? It imposes a legal obligation upon the Local Government Board to increase the salaries of existing officers where the work of those officers has been increased. The Board has no choice in the matter. The hon. Member spoke as if those increases of salary applied not to existing officers, but to all officers. That is true only in a very limited degree, and in the particular cases to which the hon. Member referred everyone of those officers are existing officers. [An HON. MEMBER: Does that apply to Londonderry?] Certainly, it does. The old salary of the secretary of county Kerry was £987.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
Nobody will doubt that the duties wore very largely increased. [An HON. MEMBER: The salary was much too high before.] This is not a question of whether the salary of the county secretary was too high at the time the Act was passed; so long as he did his work he was entitled to his salary whatever it might be, and if the work increased his salary had to be increased. In the case of county Kerry the secretary was in receipt of a salary of £987. The county council, so far from proposing to increase the salary, offered £900. The secretary claimed £1,400; the Local Government Board fixed the salary at £1,000; and as a matter of fact the secretary has since resigned. In the case of county Londonderry, the old salary was £576; the council offered £365; and the Local Government Board fixed the salary at £600. The other case is that of county Fermanagh. There the original salary was £416; the council proposed actually to reduce it to £310; the Local Government Board fixed it at £500. [An HON. MEMBER: Over the head of Lord Erne.] Lord Erne seems to have fallen into the same error as hon. Gentlemen opposite, and to have entirely disregarded the provisions of the section under which the Board has acted. There is no desire whatever on the part of the Local Government Board to go beyond the strict letter of the Act. We were 1146 under an obligation—I strongly insist upon that—to increase the salaries of these officers where their work had increased.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
I do not think the hon. Member will really maintain that we were likely to ignore the county council by coming to a decision in this matter and refusing to take them into consultation. In August the Board wrote and informed the councils that after three months they would fix the salaries of all officers with whom the councils had failed to come to an agreement, and in that letter the Board invited the views of the councils as to the increases of salary which should be given. The letter was read at the meeting of every county council. The minutes of all the councils show that they had before them the claims of their secretaries and surveyors, and after consideration of those claims the councils made their proposals respecting the salaries. Speaking generally, I may say that the Local Government Board did not make an order in the case of any secretary or surveyor until they had the official decisions of the councils upon the claims of their officials. Having made this communication to the councils, and the councils having fought the claims of their officials, the Local Government Board considered most carefully what the general increases of work were, and arranged a general scale of salaries. In order the better to decide in any particular case, they had before them any special observations the officers in question desired to make, and the decisions of the councils, and, over and above that, they had before them the salaries fixed in those cases where the councils had come to a voluntary agreement with their officers. I may say we have been to a very great extent guided in our decisions by the results come to voluntarily between councils and officials, and the salaries we have fixed have 1147 corresponded pretty closely to those so arrived at. Of course, it may he said that those salaries as fixed were as a matter of fact excessive. I have already answered that to some extent by saying that the Board followed very closely the voluntary arrangements. But I would like just to remind the Committee how it came about that this extra work has been thrown on these officials. The secretaries of county councils have to attend the council meetings, keep records of the proceedings, fix the poor rate and county cess, which they had not to do before; keep the accounts of the financial relations between councils and districts; and organise the entire county staff. The secretary to a council has become a very important and responsible official; he has now to be a real organiser. Some idea of the amount of correspondence thrown upon the council secretaries now as compared with former times may be gathered from the words of one secretary, who stated that under the old system his letters numbered about sixty a year, while during the past half-year they had amounted to 1,460. The highest salary given to any county secretary was that voluntarily fixed by the Finance Committee of the county of Cork, the amount being £1,500 a year.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
Co. Dublin arranged with their secretary for £850; co. Antrim, £800; co. Galway, £300; co. Tyrone, £600, and so forth. I need not go through the whole list, but there are sixteen counties in Ireland which arranged with their secretaries for salaries varying from £1,500 in the case of co. Cork to £271 in the case of co Leitrim. Passing to the case of surveyors, these officials under the old system had a considerable amount of leisure at their disposal, which they could give to other work. They have no such leisure now, their whole time being taken up by their work in connection with the county councils. [An HON. MEMBER: Are they bound to give up their other work?] I do not know that they are bound to, but their time is now so much taken up that they cannot do otherwise. Not only has their work greatly increased, but that increased work causes largely increased travelling expenses, and these 1148 travelling expenses are included in their salary. I hope, myself, that while the new system involves this greatly increased labour, it will also involve a correspondingly improved result, and that the roads. in Ireland will be maintained even better than before. Certainly, if they are not, it will not be for want of vigilance on the part of those who have the control.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
I have not the particulars of that case, but I think the observations of the hon. Member will be sufficiently answered by what I am about to say concerning assistant surveyors generally.
§ MR. DILLON
The statement I made was that the surveyor's salary was nearly doubled, while his district was reduced by one half.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
If his district was reduced by one half, that was done not by the Local Government Board, but by the county. Before I deal with the scale of salaries of assistant surveyors, I should like to say a word on the scale with regard to county surveyors. Where there were no special circumstances in the case the general rule followed by the Local Government Board was that they should allow an increase of 20 per cent. upon the existing salaries, with an allowance for travelling expenses calculated at 1s. for each mile under contract. The county surveyors themselves are extremely dissatisfied with this decision of the Board, and consider they have not had justice done to them. They claim, as a general rule, an increase of not 20 per cent. but 75 per cent. Assessment surveyors maintain that their work has doubled. I am not prepared to say it has doubled, but it has certainly very largely increased. The general salary of the assistant surveyors was £80. The hon. Member said £60, but I think he is mistaken in that; I am under the impression that the salaries are fixed by law at £80 a year. The assistant surveyors, like the county surveyors, were in the habit of supplementing their earnings by private work. [An HON. MEMBER: And they do so now.] They may still do so 1149 to some extent, but I am quite sure the amount of their leisure is very limited now. I do not say it is impossible for them to undertake extra work, but I am quite certain that their opportunities in that direction must be very seriously curtailed. The Local Government Board did not get nearly so much assistance from the examples of the voluntary arrangements in the case of the assistant surveyors as in the case of the county secretaries and county surveyors, because there were were very few such agreements. Therefore, having regard to the facts I have already adduced respecting the increase of work, the Board drew up a scale which was to apply generally.
§ MR. MURNAGHAN (Tyrone, Mid)
Does the scale apply in the case where the county councils have already fixed, and the Local Government Board sanctioned, the salary t The county council with which I am connected have fixed the salary of the assistant surveyor, the Local Government Board have sanctioned it, but the assistant surveyor has appealed. In such a case will the Board stand by its sanction? It is important I should be told by the Chief Secretary.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
In any case where a voluntary arrangement has been made by a county council and sanctioned by the Local Government Board, I am not aware of any intention of altering that arrangement, nor do I know that any such alteration has been mooted. In this scale, in districts not exceeding 250 miles, the salary was fixed at £120; and in districts not exceeding 400 miles, at £100. Between those two extremes the salaries varied by advances of £5. County Down voluntarily fixed the salary at £120 a year, rising to £130 after ten years service, and £140 after twenty years service; so that that was, if anything, a little more favourable than the scale adopted by the Board. In county Louth, where the average mileage of districts is about 300 miles, the council gives £140; county Waterford, £130; county Antrim proposed to give £120, but on reconsideration decided to rearrange the districts and to fix the salaries in accordance with the scale of the Board. Tipperary gives the county surveyor £200, and proposes to give the two assis- 1150 tant surveyors who have now to be appointed £140 each. I hope these figures and the explanation I have given of the reasons which actuated the Board will commend themselves to the Committee. At all events there is absolutely no foundation for the statement that the Board have increased these salaries merely in order to show their power. On the contrary, they had no choice in the matter; the only question was as to the amount, and I think the Committee will come to the conclusion that the salaries were not fixed too high. I will deal very shortly with the other points raised by the hon. Member. He complains of the conditions we have attached to the appointment of county secretaries. The only conditions we have attached are that a county secretary should be a competent man, his competency to be proved, in case of necessity, by an examination, and that he should be of proper age and character—that is to say, he is to be of good character and not under twenty-one years of age. As regards age and character, I believe the conditions are exactly the same as are imposed in examinations for the Civil Service. [An HON. MEMBER: Has that system been carried out all through Ire-land?] The Order applies to all Ireland, but in cases where men of experience have come forward we have not considered it necessary in every instance to insist upon the full examination. The maximum severity of the examination has been fixed at that of the second-class clerks of the Civil Service, and I think we get the papers from the Civil Service Commissioners themselves. If there was any real feeling that the Local Government Board were likely to exercise their power improperly, I believe that possibly some arrangement might be made for the Civil Service Commissioners themselves to conduct the examination, but I am not certain that they would consent. To throw broadcast insinuations that the Local Government Board in insisting upon this examination are likely to be actuated by any such considerations as hinted by the hon. Member seems to me to be extremely unjust and far-fetched. Nothing of the kind is likely ever to be done. It is extremely desirable that candidates for the post of county secretary should be competent to discharge the duties they have to perform, and that they should be proved to he so competent.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
I really do not know. I am sorry to say that the necessity for examination has already been proved, as in one or two cases candidates have failed so manifestly in the simplest tests to which they were subjected that I am quite certain they would have been absolutely incapable of carrying out their duties. Take the case of county Mayo itself. I think a gentleman was appointed by the county council, but when he heard that before undertaking his duties and receiving his salary he would have to pass an examination he withdrew, being perfectly well aware that the test would have proved too much for him, and that his incompetency would have been exposed. Since then another gentleman has been appointed who, I am happy to say, passed his examination with flying colours.
§ MR. DILLON
Why did you subject the county Mayo secretary to a more severe examination than the secretaries of other counties?
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
Because he was a young man totally without experience. Where we have relaxed the conditions to some extent it has been in the case of men who have had considerable administrative experience. In the case of a perfectly young man we considered it was eminently desirable that he should prove his capacity. Passing from that to the question of the areas of charge, the hon. Member spoke throughout his speech as if the Local Government Board was some completely irresponsible body. In almost every question, and certainly in regard to this question of the areas of charge, I am afraid I must be hold personally responsible. I think we did act with a certain amount of precipitation. On the other hand, the circumstances we had to consider were undoubtedly difficult, and the enormous complexity of the accounts under the old system made us very anxious. A year has passed, and the Local Government Board has, as a matter of fact, exercised the power of altering the area of charge, but it was not until this Order was passed that the question was raised. I admit that, after consulting my right 1152 hon. friend the Attorney General, I did come to the conclusion that probably we had been acting ultra vires, and it therefore became necessary to insert into the Public Loans Bill the clause to which the hon. Member referred. Unless we had validated the Orders already made it might has been possible to make invalid that rate over a largo part of Ireland. I need not say what inextricable confusion such an event would have given rise to. As I say, we passed somewhat precipitately an Order distributing all these charges. Certain exceptions, however, were made in a subsequent Order. We then found it necessary to validate the original Order and the second Order, and after this second Order, which we thought included all cases of real hardship, was made, we heard of certain other cases. The Local Government Board wore perfectly power-loss, because we were in this position: By the very fact of introducing that clause into the Public Loans Bill, we admitted that there was a doubt as to whether we had not acted ultra tires. We therefore could not, after that, make use of a power which we ourselves admitted we did not possess. A short Bill became necessary, and I promised the hon. Member for East Mayo that I would introduce legislation during the present session to remove the grievance, and the Bill was read a third time the other day. I knew perfectly when I introduced the clause in the Public Loans Bill last year validating these Orders that further legislation would be necessary, and we have now added the condition that these powers should not be exercised without the consent of the local authorities. I think I had better not deal with the case of Dr. Cullen now, as I understand the hon. Member for the Harbour Division is going to debate it in greater detail. May I just say, in conclusion, that I do not think hon. Members opposite make quite sufficient allowance for the immense difficulty and labour which has been thrown upon the Local Government Board in this matter. The change made by the Local Government Act has been enormous, and the work involved in bringing that Act into operation has been far greater than hon. Members have any idea of. If, under these circumstances, a Public Department has made any mistakes—and I do not say the Local Government Board have not—I think some 1153 amount of indulgence should be extended to it. I can assure the Committee generally that the Local Government Board have no desire to act in any harsh, arbitrary, or tyrannical spirit, and that it will be our endeavour to work as far as possible harmoniously and without friction with the local authorities.
§ MR. HARRINGTON (Dublin, Harbour):
I do not think there is any disposition on the part of hon. Members on these benches unduly to hamper the action of the Local Government Board. We know perfectly well that increased duties have been cast upon that Department by the Local Government Act, and that those duties are to a great extent novel and difficult. But that is quite a different thing from that of which we have been complaining, namely, the disposition on the part of the Local Government Board to treat with contempt every suggestion of local authorities, and to override their decisions in those matters in regard to which the Act meant to give them a discretion. Take the case of Ballymena. The right hon. Gentleman has not at all met the point which was made both in the Courts and here. The point was not whether the Local Government Board had taken a wrong interpretation of their own Act or rules, but that an officer of the board of guardians had applied for leave of absence, had asked for three weeks, and had been granted by his board, who were his masters and the regular authority for the purpose, two weeks, whereupon the Local Government Board, over the heads of the guardians, deliberately paid him for three weeks absence. Surely that is setting at defiance and treating with contempt the local authorities, and begetting insubordination and contempt from the officers themselves towards their employers. That was the whole gist of the case of the Ballymena guardians. The board of guardians are empowered under the Act to grant annual leave. It was indeed a scandal that when a medical officer wanted to get away on leave he had to get another doctor to certify that he was sick, with the result that every medical officer in Ireland was in bad health at least once a year. It was made clear in the Local Government Act that the guardians had power to grant leave for not more than one month, but that power did not preclude them from 1154 dividing up that month or not giving it at all if they liked. The whole of our case against the Local Government Board is this—that they take out of the hands of the local authorities the management of their own officials. They encourage these officials to treat with contempt the bodies who pay them, and this gentleman who refused to take two weeks leave was backed up by the Local Government Board, who endeavoured to compel the board of guardians to pay his salary. I have touched on that case because it is in some way connected with another case referred to by the hon. Member for East Mayo—namely, the case of Dr. Culler), medical officer of the North Dublin Union. In all my experience of public life I have never known a case in which tyranny, oppression, and injustice have been more freely exercised by the Local Government Board towards an official than in this case. There was an outbreak of fever in August and September of last year in the Castleknock district of the North Dublin Union. That outbreak occurred in the constabulary depot, in a portion of the military barracks, and in one of the metropolitan police barracks, all within the district of Castleknock, of which Dr. Cullen was medical officer of health as well as dispensary doctor. Under the Notification of Diseases Act the doctors attending the depot and the military barracks and the metropolitan police barracks should have notified these cases to Dr. Cullen as cases of infectious disease, but the doctors of the constabulary carefully concealed them, as they were afraid that recruiting might be interfered with if it were known that there was fever at the depot. Dr. Gordon and Dr. Baird had been attending at the depot, but they never reported a single case to Dr. Cullen, and he is now punished by the Local Government Board because he did not report to them cases which had not been reported to himself. After a time the authorities at the depot suspected the supply of milk, and they had different samples sent to an analyst, but no opportunity was offered by them to the person supplying the milk to have an independent analysis. They acted entirely on their own motion, and the report they got back stated that, though the milk did not contain the bacilli of enteric fever, it did contain bacilli which might be of the same class. They stopped the supply of 1155 milk, but they never gave any notification to any one else whom that milkman might have been supplying, and merely wrote him a letter stating in effect that he could kill the community as long as he kept outside the precincts of the constabulary barracks. The right hon. Gentleman says that he holds himself responsible for the actions of the Local Government Board. From what I know of the right hon. Gentleman, I am sure that if he had before him the evidence offered in this case he would not back up the Board. After the supply of milk to the depot had been suspected, the authorities knew that there was fever in other parts of the district, because the doctors themselves admitted having attended private patients who were supplied by the same milkman, but there was no attempt to stop the milk being sold, and the cases were not reported by the medical officer of health. They merely wrote to the milkman to say that for the present he need not send any more milk to the depot. They did not even tell him that the milk was affected, and as long as he kept away from the barracks they did not care how much fever should break out in the rest of the district or how many people might be killed, if the statement about the milk were true at all. In the month of August there were enteric cases at the depot which were not reported, and in September again there wore eases which were not reported. Dr. Cullen, who only receives about £20 a year as medical officer of health, reported regularly to the district council every case of fever that came within his knowledge with one exception, which happened to be the case of this particular milkman. On 11th September, three days before he went on his annual leave, he reported seven cases of enteric fever in a portion of the district near the constabulary depot which were probably connected with the outbreak in the depot, of which, however, he had no knowledge whatever. Neither had he any knowledge of fever in the Bess-borough Metropolitan Police Barracks, as none of the doctors had communicated with him. Will it be believed that this gentleman, who has now been practically dismissed by the Local Government Board—because they have called upon him for his resignation—reported seven cases of fever and called attention again and again to the insanitary condition of certain portions of his district? When 1156 the depôt authorities could no longer conceal the fact that fever had broken out in the depôt, and when it became notorious that several of the men had died, they faced the situation they could not any longer keep secret, and they endeavoured to find some justification for their action. Dr. Flynn, the medical inspector of the district, had received the report of Dr. Cullen that there was enteric fever in his district and calling for action. Dr. Flynn, however, went away on his vacation. There was no mention in the report of any fever at the depôt, and Dr. Flynn thought that he might cross the Channel to attend a health congress while fever was raging in his own district. What do the Local Government Board do? They send down this very gentleman to act as prosecutor against Dr. Cullen. I am not going to touch on the former relations between Dr. Flynn and Dr. Cullen—there may or may not have been friction between them—but, at all events, the man who was responsible as inspector of the district was the very worst person that could be sent down to inquire into the circumstances. He went down to the district, examined the house of the milkman who had been treated by Dr. Cullen, but whose case had not been notified because he lived two miles away, was in charge of two trained nurses, and was properly isolated, and anybody who did not know he was a purveyor of milk would never imagine that infection was likely to spread from his case. Dr. Cullen, at the subsequent inquiry, stated that he had no knowledge that the man was a purveyor of milk when he sent in his report. He was cross-examined very severely by Dr. Flynn, and stated that he only became aware of the fact two months after the supply of milk had been stopped. The man was in the employ of the canal company, and occupied a house on the canal bank, his dairy being a distance away; and no one who knew him as in charge of one of the locks in the canal would imagine that he was a purveyor of milk. Dr. Flynn gave Dr. Cullen to understand that he did not believe that portion of his evidence. But something worse happened. Dr. Flynn reported to the Local Government Board, and the Local Government Board stated that they also thought it impossible to accept this portion of Dr. Cullen's evidence. There was no other evidence against Dr. Cullen, and when a subsequent inquiry was 1157 demanded by the board of guardians, who did the Local Government Board send to inquire a second time? The very gentleman who had already said that he did not believe Dr. Cullen's evidence, and who was bound to discredit the evidence of everyone who supported Dr. Cullen's case. Two doctors who were attending this case said they had no knowledge that the patient was a purveyor of milk, and from the circumstances of the house it could not be assumed that he was. The clergyman of the district said that a stranger visiting the house never could have known that the occupant was a purveyor of milk. A doctor who had attended the man for two years had not the remotest knowledge he ever kept a dairy or was selling milk in Dublin; yet, in spite of all that evidence, what are the grounds on which Dr. Cullen's resignation was called for? General carelessness in not reporting this case, and for leaving his district without the sanction of the Local Government Board. I should like to direct the attention of the Chief Secretary to those charges. There is no duty cast upon the medical officer of health to report cases except where he dreads the danger of an epidemic, but every other doctor is bound to report to him. Dr. Cullen, as I have said, reported seven cases of enteric fever; the one case he omitted to report was the case of the man Duffy. But Dr. Flynn disregarded the seven cases reported and succeeded in getting the Local Government Board to place the whole responsibility for the outbreak on Dr. Collen—even for the deaths that occurred at the depot regarding which he was not given any information. Dr. Cullen is an official of two bodies, the North Dublin District Council and the North Dublin Board of Guardians, and if he were guilty of an offence as medical officer of health that would have nothing to do with the discharge of his duty as dispensary doctor the Local Government Board wrote calling for his resignation as medical officer of health, but by a stupid blunder they overlooked the fact that he was an officer of the board of guardians. The board of guardians passed a resolution asking the Local Government Board to reconsider the matter, and stating that it was improper to try an official without formulating a charge against him. That letter was written on the 22nd September, and up to this moment 1158 the Local Government Board have not replied to it. They did, however, communicate with the district council, which had nothing to say to the matter, and a second inquiry was held, and the evidence was sent back to the district council. The main charge against Dr. Cullen was that he had not been able to diagnose a case of fever, and that he was unworthy of credit on his oath. The Local Government Board wrote to the board of guardians a letter which contained internal evidence that it was written by a man who had heard the evidence at the inquiry and had made up his own mind, and there was clear evidence that that communication, purporting to come from the Local Government Board, was actually written or dictated by Dr. Flynn, the very gentleman who had made the inquiry. I can only say that if the Local Government Board persists, in face of such a condition of things, in forcing Dr. Cullen out of his position, they will find themselves face to face with a quarrel with the North Dublin Board of Guardians of which they will not see the end for some time. That Board were entitled to have the evidence affecting one of their own officers placed before them. They asked the Local Government Board to give them an opportunity of examining the evidence. When the Local Government Board discovered that they had been dealing with the district council and not with the board of guardians, they fired off a letter to Dr. Cullen tolling him to tender his resignation actually before the evidence came before the board of guardians, and that if he did not resign a sealed Order would be sent down dismissing him. If the Chief Secretary thinks he can defend the action of the Local Government Board in dismissing an officer without any regard to the opinion of the men who have the daily life of that officer before them, he is making a mistake. I know some of the members of the Local Government Board and have a very high regard for them; but all I can say is, if they pursue that line of conduct they will lose every shred of authority and respect which is necessary for the conduct of a measure of local government. The district council stated at their meeting that they had more reports from Dr. Cullen respecting the health of his district than from all the other medical officers of the union combined. The attempt of the Local 1159 Government Board to conceal their own responsibility and to throw all the responsibility on Dr. Cullen is one of the most discreditable proceedings I have ever heard of in connection with a public Department in Ireland. I invite the Chief Secretary to examine the case. I had an opportunity of examining the evidence, and I can only say that for barefaced partisanship in everything that could affect the decent conduct of a case it could not be equalled. Dr. Cullen had not a fair trial; not even a decent or respectable trial. Everything that could be done to prejudge his case was done by the gentleman who was more responsible than he was, and whose responsibility was fixed by the knowledge he had that Dr. Cullen had reported seven cases in September, and who never thought that the matter was serious until deaths occurred at the depot and infection came in the neighbourhood of the Viceregal Lodge. If there is anything in Ireland we have a strong feeling for, it is for equal and impartial justice. We like to see the law carried out without any respect to persons. We think the Local Government Board ought to be no respecter of persons, and it is because we believe that the Local Government Board are endeavouring to make a scapegoat of Dr. Cullen for their own neglect that the North Dublin Board of Guardians are determined to resist Dr. Cullen's dismissal.
§ MR. WILLIAM MOORE (Antrim, N.)
I wish to bring before the Chief Secretary certain matters with reference to the appointment of a county surveyor in Antrim. I do not intend to make any charges against the Local Government Board. There are occasions in which a little more consideration might be shown for some of the county councils, who represent the ratepayers. At this minute there is much irritation, which I have no doubt the Chief Secretary will be able to explain, owing to the action of the Local Government Board. Take, for instance, the case of county Antrim, which possesses a considerable mileage of roads, and the surveyor of which had a salary of £600 a year. When the county council took charge over the administration of the roads they determined, as ordinary business men, to overhaul the Department and make what provision they could under their powers for the maintenance 1160 of the roads. Of course there were increased duties to perform, and the county council called in the surveyor and said, "You have at present a salary of £600; what do you propose as to the increased duties?" The surveyor said that he would be unable to discharge in person the increased duties, and in a communication which he sent to the council on the 16th January, he recommended the appointment of a properly qualified assistant surveyor. But before this suggestion could be considered there came down an Order from the Local Government Board raising the surveyor's salary from £600 to £800. Therefore the council is in this position — that they are obliged to pay this man an increased salary for work which he says he is unable to perform. There was some correspondence with the Local Government Board, and the county council asked them to vary their Order under the circumstances; but the Local Government Board replied that they could not vary the Order in regard to the salary of the surveyor unless the council came to an agreement with him. How could they expect that this officer would agree to anything less than the salary which the Local Government Board had given him? In addition, an assistant surveyor had to be appointed at a salary of £250 a year. The consequence was a great deal of irritation and annoyance about the whole matter. I do think that if the Local Government Board had been animated by the same spirit which the Chief Secretary showed to-day these difficulties would have been got over. Notice of motion has been given in the county council and district council of a resolution, which will be carried unanimously, condemning the conduct of the Local Government Board in taking out of their hands the duties which they consider they were elected to perform. In the Antrim County Council all considerations of politics are excluded. There are on it members of the old grand jury type—tenant farmers, merchants, and even some Nationalists. They meet together with the sole object of doing the business of the county, and much annoyance has been caused by the Local Government Board overruling them in the discharge of their duty. If it is the case that the section in the Act absolutely ties the hands of the Local Government Board, then the Chief Secretary should 1161 bring in at once such legislation as will put a stop to these deadlocks.
§ MR. ARTHUR J. MOORE (Londonderry)
I do not propose to follow my hon. friends into all the varied details which they have presented to the Committee. No doubt the Act is a great boon, and we are all thankful for the painstaking manner in which the Chief Secretary has sot it in motion; but we feel that there are a certain number of defects in it which ought to be remedied. One of these is the compulsion put upon the county and district councils to increase the salaries of officials. Another is the superannuation of the old grand jury officials. If ever there was a set of men undeserving superannuation, it was these officials, many of whom simply delegated their duty and were paid by poundage; and others were guilty of jobbery. I should like to see men of that sort going to the Treasury asking for superannuation, and how the Treasury would meet the demand so put forward. The simple fact is that this Act, through a system of red tape, and the elaborate checks which have been adopted to make jobbery impossible, has become a very serious burden to the people. Take the case of a county which owes a considerable debt of gratitude to the right hon. the Chief Secretary and his brother, the First Lord of the Treasury—the County Donegal. It is a poor county, unable to bear unnecessary expense or increased burdens. Yet, although the county has received the assistance of £21,000 from the Agricultural Grant within the last twelvemonths, the rates are £5,000 higher this year than last. I think that shows what a tremendous burden the administration of the Act is.
§ MR. ARTHUR J. MOORE
We all hope that this extreme burden will not be continued. The red tape system introduced is enormously costly, and there are lamentations from all parts of the country about it. I hope we shall soon be able to enter upon a period of diminished taxation and expenditure.
§ MR. AUSTIN (Limerick, W.)
said that it would startle the Committee to learn how enormously the salaries of the officers of the new county councils had jumped up. Three years ago a Bill was introduced and passed for the amalgamation of West and East Limerick. Before the amalgamation the salary of the surveyor of West limerick was £500 a year; and after the amalgamation the salary was advanced from £500 to £600. Within the past two or throe months, after the Local Government Act came into force, this same respected officer asked that it should be advanced from £600 to £1,500! The county council naturally repudiated the idea of giving him such an enormous salary. Then he lowered his claim to £1,000; but the county council could not see their way to that, and magnanimously offered to compromise the matter by giving him an advance from £600 to £800. The gentleman, however, ignored the county council, and said, "No; I do not care about you; I will appeal to the Local Government Board, which will accede to my request." That is an illustration of the new mode of advancing salaries under the rule of the Local Government Board.
§ MR. AUSTIN
said it had not; the matter was pending; but he was stating the case as the most extraordinary illustration of county government that had ever come under the observation of the Committee.
§ MR. FLYNN (Cork, N.)
The case which my hon. friend has just mentioned shows that the officials really do not hold or feel themselves responsible in any way to the county council, their direct employers, because of the power of appeal to the Local Government Board and the manner in which that power has been used.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
There is no question of power of appeal. The Local Government Board are under legal obligation to interfere and fix an increase of salary when it is due. Special power is given by a sub-section of Clause 115 in the Act to allow the county council and 1163 the officer to make a voluntary arrangement when they can do so.
§ MR. FLYNN
I quite appreciate that; but what we complain of is the manner in which the Local Government Board exercise the discretion vested in them. If there is a difference, and the county council and its officers cannot come to a voluntary agreement, the Local Government Board must fix the salary. What we complain of is that in all cases the Local Government Board gives an increase, in many cases an enormous increase of salary; but in no case have they confirmed the decision of the county council in the matter in dispute. I need hardly say that they are not likely to reduce the salaries; and all this tends to the steady increase of taxation. Although considerable sums of money are given to the landlords towards the county cess, the taxation is larger than ever, so that this Act, placed in the hands of the people of Ireland with the view of giving them the right to manage their own local affairs, is likely, instead of being a blessing, to become an additional burden on an over-taxed country. The right hon. Gentleman has defended the bureaucratic arrogance and intolerable action of the Local Government Board with a great deal of ingenuity; but the extraordinary thing is that the complaints with regard to the Local Government Board come from all parts of Ireland, and in their application to all the officials the appeals are impartial. The right hon. Gentleman mentioned the largo salary given to the new secretary of the Cork County Council. That proves that the councils are not inclined to be ungenerous to their officers. There is no proof whatever that in all the arrangements of these salaries the county councils have been trying to be stingy, unfair, or unjust. But £1,000 or £1,500 a year for a secretary to a local authority is a big salary to be paid in a poor country—a salary indeed out of all proportion to the work done, or to the responsibility incurred. The Chief Secretary quoted a ease of an officer whose duties had greatly increased, who formerly had to write only sixty letters in the year, but had in the past half year written 1,460 letters. I would suggest that most of these were merely circulars. Under the old grand jury system, if that gentleman's duty 1164 was to write only one letter a week, it proves that he had practically no work to do, although he drew a pretty good salary. The argument now is that if you give these officers some little work to do you should likewise give them a very liberal salary. I have had some experience of county councils in Ireland, and have always heard that the county surveyors had formerly only a nominal duty to perform. Indeed the work they did perform on the roads was very badly done. You may drive or walk or ride on a road, but if you really want to know what a road is like you must go on a cycle; and my experience is that the roads have been shamefully neglected in the past and badly kept. The assistant road surveyors were auctioneers, architects, farmers, publicans, and all sorts of things; and they could have been doing little or no work at all. Now they say that their duties have enormously increased. It is not that the duties have enormously increased, but that the county council insist on their doing the duty for which they are paid a salary. The roads are not a bit more numerous than in the past, nor is the country getting any larger. The population is not increasing. Where then come in the extraordinary new duties for which these gentlemen get an increase of salary of 50 per cent? It is said that they have to attend the county council four times a year, instead of twice a year at the old grand jury. Where the county councils have given their best judgment to the settlement of the matter I think the fact of their local knowledge should weigh in their favour. The Local Government Board have no such local knowledge, neither have they any superhuman intellectual power which enables them to understand the local necessities so well as they are understood by the elected councillors. If this system continues, local government in Ireland will be reduced to a farce and an absurdity. I venture to say that the Act of Parliament gives the Local Government Board no power of measuring scales of fees or salaries. It has simply certain discretionary power when controversies arise between county councils and their own officers. But the Board has adopted a policy of always upholding the officers and putting the county councils in the wrong, with the result that it is discrediting local government in Ireland, and unquestionably leading the officials to flout 1165 the authority of the county councils. Now, the county of Kerry is a very poor county, and I should like to explain to the House the policy which has been pursued there. The county council were most anxious to deal fairly with the existing officers. The county secretary had a salary of £500 a year. But when he sent in his return he included a largo number of fancy emoluments and fees which he had no statutory right to charge, and in the end the country was overtaxed by the Local Government Board awarding him over £900 a year as the sum on which he was entitled to retire. I venture to say that that was not a fair way of treating the ratepayers of that county, and not unnaturally strong indignation was caused. The fact is, the Local Government Board have systematically flouted the local authorities in all cases where differences of opinion have arisen between them and their officers. This is not the only matter of which the people of Kerry have reason to complain. Not only has the county secretary been granted the enormous superannuation of over £900 per annum, but the salary of the county surveyor has also been increased by £230, although there has been no addition to his duties worth mentioning. Further than that, the salary of the deputy surveyor, who devotes but a very small portion of his time to the duties of his office, has been raised from £80 to £150, and I think, therefore, the County Council of Kerry are justified in protesting against these things. I trust that they will continue to protest, and that instead of resigning they will stick firmly to their seats and decline to pay. We shall then see what the Local Government Board will do to get the money. I hope the Local Government Board will be compelled to pay more deference in the future to the opinions of the duly-elected representatives of the people. Then there is the question of Civil Service examinations for appointments of county secretaries. I think it is in the interests of the county councils that, in making these appointments, they should select only the most competent men for the post. But are you going to apply the same test all round? The present First Lord of the Treasury, in one of those delightful bursts of candour with which he so often interests the House, confessed that he never could 1166 spell properly. I wonder what sort of figure he would cut if he had to appear before the Civil Service examiners. I am afraid he would be thrown out—if not for his spelling, at any rate, from what I hear, he would be for his writing. The fact is the test has been so arranged as to make it almost impossible for any candidate who is either unpopular with or disliked by the authorities to pass it. Hon. Members in their innocence and in the honesty of their hearts cannot understand the working of this Department, but a long series of strange coincidences has enabled the Irish people to do so. I think the Chief Secretary and the Irish administration will soon have to take into account the fact that the county councils are not going to be cowed in matters of local administration and finance, now and for all time, by gentlemen sitting in Dublin. It is against the spirit of the Act. It is, I venture to think, against the letter as well as the spirit, and I trust that the county councils, when they are persuaded that they have acted honestly in fixing the salaries of their officers, will refuse to allow themselves to be over-ridden by the paid officials of the Local Government Board.
§ * SERJEANT HEMPHILL (Tyrone, N.)
I think that this debate will prove of very great value because, unquestionably, nothing can exceed the discontent that exists in Ireland with regard to the action of the Local Government Board. I am not at present going to assert that that discontent is altogether well grounded, but it is most important that light should be thrown upon the whole administration of these matters, and that we should see that the Local Government Board exercises its powers discreetly and judiciously. Unquestionably we have this fact staring us in the face, that this great Act, which was to be such a boon to the occupier and cultivator of the land in Ireland, has been followed by a very considerable increase in the rates, and that, notwithstanding the grant of £700,000 a year from the Imperial Exchequer, the occupier finds that his taxes are doubled and he has received no benefit from the grant of the half of the county cess. When we come to look into it we find that the rates are increased because of the extravagant manner in which the Local Government Board have 1167 dealt with certain provisions of the Act enabling them to regulate the pay of officers continued or appointed, or regulating the superannuation of those ceasing to be officers.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
I think I must point out that, even though all the charges with respect to the salaries of officers are fully proved up to the hilt, the sum of money involved would not account for the increase in the local rates.
§ * SERJEANT HEMPHILL
I am not prepared with figures now to meet that argument. One way in which the right hon. Member accounted for the excessive rates is the matter of £100,000 paid for compensation under the Act. That was one of the items mentioned in his speech. The increases of salaries that have already been sanctioned must necessarily involve a great addition to the rates, and we must never lose sight of one point, namely, that Parliament is bound to bear in mind that in legislating for a country, about which it does not know very much, the whole burden under the Local Government Act falls on the occupiers, and therefore every penny extra is more or less a burden on a very poor class of people. The figures with respect to the increase of salaries given here in the Chief Secretary's statement show 20 per cent. all round, in addition to the increase for travelling expense?. These officers are likely to live a considerable time, and it is a continuous charge. It is perfectly useless to say that will not mean more or less a burden under the Act. We do not expect probably to cut down the Vote of the Local Government Board on this occasion, but we want to warn the House that this Act, instead of being a blessing, will be a curse to the country unless a strict watch is kept upon the action of the Local Government Board. Recollect it is a perfectly irresponsible tribunal. It is irresponsible to any tribunal in the Empire except the House of Parliament. We have, of course, a President in whom we all have the greatest confidence, and for whom we have the greatest admiration, in the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary. But we know that the administrative work of the board is not done by the Chief Secretary. He could not do it con- 1168 sistently with the other important duties he has to discharge. It is done by the salaried members of the Board. These salaried members of the Board, in almost every instance which has been mentioned in the course of this debate, set themselves up against the experience and the decisions of the county councils throughout Ireland. The latter are the representatives of the ratepayers, and they are unpaid. It is their object and duty to keep down the rates as far as possible. Those salaried members of the Local Government Board—I do not speak of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary—sitting up there in the Castle, overruled the local board in almost every case where the decisions have been subject of debate to-night. As stated by my hon. friend below the gangway, they take upon themselves to overrule the decisions of the boards of guardians. To illustrate what I say, I refer to that little matter before the Lord Chief Baron. My recollection of it is that it was a case in which the magistrates ordered so much to be paid to the medical officer or the assistant who was employed during his month's leave of absence. The guardians had refused to sanction the four weeks leave of absence, and they refused to pay two guineas a week, or whatever it was, which was incurred for the time that they did not sanction leave of absence. The Local Government Board sitting in Dublin at once over-ruled the decision of the guardians, and said they must pay, and an order accordingly was made that they should pay, and it was on that order that the question arose. If ever there was a Department less likely—I must not say less likely—but if ever there was a Department which ought to be altogether influenced by what was done in the county councils of the country, it is the Local Government Board. They have not the experience of the country themselves which is so essential. The Vice - President was actually born and bred in the Department in Dublin Castle. He is the son of the late respected Vice-President of the Local Government Board. Another member of the Board was trained in an office in Dublin, another is the medical commissioner, and the only member of the Board who could be at all representative of country feeling is that distinguished gentleman from my own county of Tipperary, who was for many years foreman of the 1169 grand jury, an essentially landlord body. I think that in every case laid before them they decided that the country tribunal was wrong. They appeared to assume that the country tribunals must necessarily be wrong. That is illustrated by the remarkable case of the doctor so clearly and forcibly put forward by my hon. and learned friend the Member for one of the Divisions of Dublin. I had my own attention called to a case that occurred lately in the Strabane Union, to which I will respectfully invite the Chief Secretary's attention. The guardians of the Strabane Union passed a resolution that a relieving officer should be appointed at £40 a year, on condition that he should give his whole time to the discharge of the duties of relief officer, and not hold any other appointment. That might be a reasonable or an unreasonable condition, but the man was appointed on the faith of his giving up every other appointment he had. Notwithstanding that this man got five or six other small appointments which might necessarily more or less interfere with the discharge of his duties to the Strabane Union as relief officer. An appeal was made to the Local Government Board. I am not informed as to whether it is still pending or not. That is the reason why I invite the Chief Secretary's attention to it. An extraordinary thing was done after this resolution was passed. At a subsequent meeting of the Strabane Board of Guardians some other guardians rescinded the former resolution, and upset all that had taken place. This shows how very necessary it is that in the interest of the ratepayers, and in that interest alone, the Local Government Board should be very careful how they deal with the proceedings of the boards. It so happens that in every case they have leaned on the side of extravagance. I don't know any instance in which they have reduced the sums fixed upon by the local bodies. At all events I again repeat that I consider it is most useful that every year the attention of Parliament should be called to the operations of that Board, which in the existing state of the law has more influence upon the well-doing and the well-being of the people of Ireland than perhaps any other Department in the State.
§ MR. DALY (Monaghan, S.)
I wish to say a few words in regard to the working of the Local Government Act since it 1170 came into force. There is one matter the county councils are aggrieved at, and that is the extraordinary increases of salary given to the assistant county surveyors. An assistant county surveyor had under the grand jury £80 per annum, and I am certain that body would not be behind the time in giving a very fitting salary to those gentlemen. [Mr. GERALD BALFOUR indicated dissent.] The right hon. Gentleman shakes his head, but I think it was unnecessary to increase the salaries beyond £80. I hold that that amount is quite sufficient. I know several assistant county surveyors, and for two months out of the year not one is employed. One has an extensive shop, and nearly all the unfortunate contractors have to go there. Another assistant county surveyor holds a large farm, another surveys land, superintends the erection of houses, and carries on a general business, and another is engaged in a shopkeeper's business. These are all men I know, and for two months out of the twelve they are not engaged at the business of surveyors. The Local Government Board said these gentlemen were underpaid with £80 a year. If those salaries had been increased at the time of the grand jury, the contribution from the Treasury would have been greater under the Agricultural Grant, because of every penny expended, whether by the grand jury or the board of guardians, the Treasury is expected to contribute a share. The moment the people came to have the control of local affairs, the grievance of these officers, which was never seen before, is at once seen by the Local Government Board, and almost 100 per cent. increase is given to them. The salaries of a great many now are fixed at £150. The reason I feel so strongly upon this is that, as one of the county council to which I belong, I was anxious to give a sufficient increase. I moved that surveyors on small distance roads should get £100, and those on longer distance roads £110, that is to say, increases of £20 and £30 respectively. The Local Government Board scouted such an idea, and would not hear of it, although, as I stated, I believed a great many county councils thought it was quite too great a salary. I thought the bettor way was to endeavour to meet the views of the Local Government Board in the matter, and get them to agree to what I considered was the extra amount that 1171 ought to be paid to the surveyors for the work they had to perform. I was rather surprised also at the right hon. Gentleman saying that he intends to amend the rule to give a month's holiday to the medical officer. I cannot see that boards of guardians should be forced and coerced to give holidays when the people have the control of the whole affairs of the country. In future all the increase of taxes comes off the unfortunate occupiers, and a good deal of the Agricultural Grant will go to the increase of salaries. There is another matter to which I wish to draw the attention of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary. I will not go into the details of all the counties of Ireland after the manner in which the hon. Member for East Mayo has treated the subject. I have one consolation, and that is that the Unionist members of the county councils are as emphatic in their condemnation of the Local Government Board as the Nationalists. As a guardian I have also to complain with regard to the dietary of the inmates of workhouses. I would be the last to say that the poor in workhouses should be in any way neglected, and in proof of that I have only to state that the average cost per inmate in the workhouse of which I am a guardian is higher than in any other board of guardians in Ireland. It averages about 3s. 9d. per week, whereas in some counties the cost is only 2s. 6d. per week. The Local Government Board have put my board of guardians on the same terms as other boards that starve their poor. They feel aggrieved at this. Though my board of guardians is 50 per cent. higher than other unions in consequence of the way they support the inmates, there is not the slightest difference made by the Local Government Board, and no discrimination shown. We are placed in the same category, and annoyed with circulars as much as boards of guardians that have not been what I call good to the poor. The Local Government Board do not discriminate as they should do between boards of guardians that do their duty to the poor and those that do not attend to the matters within the sphere of their duties. There may be some boards of guardians that may be anxious to increase salaries, and I have known one case where, I am sorry to say, the Local Government Board would not sanction it. 1172 At the same time, there are inspectors that do not discriminate, and do not report to the Local Government Board as they should do. Where a board of guardians or a county council does its duty it should not be put on a level with others that neglect their duty. There is another matter to which I wish to call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman. This affects a great many of the unfortunate who have to live in the workhouses. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary admitted that children who are out-nursed turn out better members of society than those who are reared until they are fifteen or sixteen in workhouses. Here, again, this shows that the Local Government Board scarcely understand the question. If the mother of a child lives in a workhouse, that child is prevented from getting an opportunity of being sent out and reared with small farmers, where it would be trained in habits of industry and care, and would be able to go on service when its time of sixteen years was up. A board of guardians cannot hire out a child in the case of a girl until she is sixteen years of age, and in the case of a boy until he is fourteen. If the mother of a girl or a boy lives in a workhouse until they reach these ages the Local Government Board give no power to enable the child to be out-nursed, though the right hon. Gentleman says that that kind of training is better. Why should a child, because its mother is lazy and wants to stop in the worhouse, be deprived of the advantage of being out-nursed, and of having the industrial training it could get with a small farmer or respectable tradesman? I speak in the interest of the children. If a Bill wore introduced on the subject, it would pass through this House inside a week. There would not be a Member on either side of the House who would have the slightest objection to it.
§ MR. DALY
I will not further weary the House on that point. I felt that it was a matter I had not an opportunity of raising in any other form, and that if I brought it before the right hon. Gentleman he might think over it, and introduce legislation on the point. It has 1173 been mentioned how the county of Fermanagh has been treated with regard to salaries. In all directions in Ireland, county councils and boards of guardians seem to be dissatisfied with the Local Government Board. The question of superannuation has been another very peculiar point in connection with boards of guardians. In the union where I happen to be a guardian we had to superannuate two or three officers. The most extraordinary claims were put in by these officers. They put in claims for rations, servants, and apartments, and the guardians after carefully considering these matters offered what they thought was a reasonable sum for superannuation. The Local Government Board paid not the slightest attention, and increased the allowances all round. I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to give more attention to the demands of the district councils, county councils, and boards of guardians. My experience is that the boards of guardians and the county councils as a whole are making great efforts for economy, and endeavouring to carry out the Local Government Act in a satisfactory manner, but they also feel that pensions, gratuities, and holidays that are given to officers were not given before the Act was passed, and that this is an attempt made by the Local Government Board to increase salaries so much that local bodies will become dissatisfied, and hon. Gentlemen will be able to say that expenses have increased in Ireland to more than they were under the old régime. It never was thought of when the ex officios were in power. It is only when the representatives of the people have got the power that they begin to give holidays that never were contemplated before. I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman has in some instances prevented the increase of salaries—I know that of my own knowledge—and I do not want to take away from the right hon. Gentleman any credit that he is entitled to. There is a point that boards of guardians feel sore about, with regard to doctors taken to quarter sessions and positions of that sort. Let me explain how that works out. The doctor has a salary going on. He is summoned as a witness and gets two guineas a day, travelling and hotel expenses, and the guardians have to appoint a locum tenens and pay his salary. In calling attention to this grievance I am 1174 only expressing the opinion of every board of guardians in Ireland. It is a matter I know thoroughly. I would like the right hon. Gentleman to give attention to these matters, which are not put forward by me in condemnation of the Local Government Act; I put them forward as expressing the views of the boards of guardians in Ireland with respect to the Local Government Board. I am sure they deserve consideration, whether they receive the consideration they deserve or not.
§ * MR. PINKERTON (Galway)
When the Local Government Bill was under consideration in this House I spoke strongly in favour of it; but I must confess that I was not influenced by any high motive; indeed, I thought that, so far as I was individually concerned, I would receive some benefit. I thought of it from the point of view of a tenant farmer. I acted on the conviction that the Local Government Bill was framed with the honest intention of enabling the people to administer local affairs fairly and squarely. I thought the Bill was passed by the House for the purpose of regulating the taxation of the different classes in Ireland, but I have come to adopt the view of the hon. Member for East Mayo. I have come to an opinion contrary to that which I formerly held. I remember very well that Mr. Davitt clearly and distinctly stated that the landlords' portion would be deducted, and that the tenant would receive no benefit. That was a prophetic utterance on the part of Mr. Davitt. The landlords have deducted their full share, and the tenants are not a straw better than they were previous to the Act being passed. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary in a very interesting speech said that in no case did the Local Government Board sanction an increase of salary unless increased duties were imposed on the officers; but if he will take the trouble to look he will find that these increased duties are imposed on the officers owing to the complicated system adopted for ascertaining what portion falls on one, and what on another. For my part—and I think I am voicing the opinion of every tenant farmer— I would be fully prepared to forego my share of the Local Government grant if you would put the landlords in for their share. 1175 While no one wants to curtail the salaries of the doctors—we have always advocated a system of good pay for good workmen, and we do not want the doctors to suffer deprivation—we cannot shut our eyes to the fact that the Local Government Board never saw in times past the necessity for holidays for the doctors or the increase of their salaries when the landlords had to pay their share; but the moment that, by an Act of this House, the landlords are freed from all responsibility, the Local Government Board has been daily and hourly piling up the agony. They have been proposing structural alterations in every workhouse in Ireland, and it is small consolation to us to be told that they have not exceeded the powers given to them under the Act. But when those powers were extended to them it was not expected that they would in every case grant the maximum instead of giving a fair amount. You gave them the largest possible margin to safeguard them in the cases that would have to be dealt with, but you never dreamt that in every case they would give the maximum increase without considering the merits of the case. I wish to refer to the case of the county of Londonderry. Undoubtedly, while this rule applies to the case of the secretary of the county of Londonderry, it did not hold good with regard to the county surveyor. He had tendered his resignation before the Act became law, and only remained a few months until his successor was appointed. The Local Government Board, before another official was appointed, put down their finger on the proposal to fix the salary at ,£350. The County Council of Londonderry fixed the salary at £350. The Local Government Board intervened and said that this salary was insufficient. What happened? Forty highly qualified engineers applied for the office at £350. The Local Government Board stepped in and declared—I speak subject to the correction of the Attorney General—and fixed the salary at £600. "The proof of the pudding is in the eating." If the salary of £350 fixed by the county council was insufficient, why did forty men come forward and apply for the situation? There is another point. Take the county Antrim, which I do not care to mention. The county Antrim has one man instead of a council. I am ashamed to think of the action of 1176 the county council there. We have in the person of the Right Hon. John Young the whole county council personified and embodied. The secretary of the grand jury discharged the duties for £350 a year, and the county council fixed it at £800. How was the claim made up? It was made up by illegal charges on contracts, and by levying blackmail. It is a matter beyond dispute that these illegal charges made up the sum he claimed he was entitled to. The whole official system under the grand jury was a system of blackmail, but instead of punishing them for attempting to blackmail the people we have rewarded them and pensioned them on the basis of the illegal charges levied on the contractors. I wish to deal with the question of increased duties. The secretary of the grand jury discharged the duties alone. We appoint a secretary at £800 per annum, and he has appointed two additional clerks at £200 each, bringing up the expenditure from £350 to £1,200 per annum. So far as I am concerned, I am not prepared to agree absolutely and entirely with what the Attorney General said about the assistants. I know that all the burden, or at least the lion's share of the burden, will fall upon the assistant surveyors, while the county surveyor will pocket the salary and do a very small part of the work. I ask that the Government should pay the assistant surveyors well, but demand that their entire services must be given to the county. There is no assistant surveyor, so far as I am aware, gives more than a tithe of his time to the service of the county. I make that statement seriously, and I can say for all the counties I am acquainted with that these assistant surveyors have acted well, and deserve to be thoroughly well paid. I would not pay men increased salaries in order to enable them to cultivate their farms or to carry on their shops with greater success. If they are to be treated as civil servants and pensioned, the Civil Service rules should apply to the case, and they should be compelled to give all their time to the offices. Do the ordinary Civil Service rules apply to them?
§ * MR. PINKERTON
The question was decided by the Local Government Board in the case of the rate collector. The rate collector held an annual appointment, and he was a removable in every sense of the term. He was hired, I might say, by the day, but the Local Government Board authorised or compelled the local boards to pension off all those men. My point is that the Local Government Board seem never to be able to differentiate between a just and unjust case.
§ * MR. PINKERTON
The right hon. Gentleman goes so far as to say that a man who had served the division for twenty years did not occupy a better position than a man who had served but two weeks.
§ * MR. PINKERTON
That is dealing with the question of pensions. But suppose the local authority decide to employ that man as rate collector still, the power is absolutely taken out of their hands. The Act was framed with the intention of safeguarding the interests of existing officials, and I sympathise with the motive of the framers in so doing, because I should be very sorry to see any cases of injustice occur. But at the same time I believe the framers of the Act intended that there should be a certain amount of elasticity in the hands of the Local Government Board, so as to differentiate between deserving and undeserving cases.
§ * MR. PINKERTON
It has been said that it is better to be a doorkeeper in the House of the Lord, but in the light of recent events it is better to be a rate collector or a poor law official. Everything good has now been handed over to 1178 the officials, and they may look forward to spending the remainder of their days in ease and comfort. What I find fault with is that the poorest class of the community, upon whom the entire burden and responsibility fall, have not been protected or safeguarded either by the Act of Parliament or by the action of the Local Government Board. The right hon. Gentleman said he had an earnest desire to see the Act carried out with great success. We all understand that, but no man ever holds the occupants of the Treasury Bench responsible for the action of the Departments. Behind the temporary official is the permanent official. If all these matters were left in the hands of the Chief Secretary, and he had time to attend to them, we know that they would be dealt with in a fair and reasonable manner. But behind the right hon. Gentleman is a wall of permanent officials which he cannot break through.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
I do not know what the hon. Member means by "breaking down a wall," but there have been precedents set for the action of the Local Government Board, and my decisions have tallied with those precedents.
§ * MR. PINKERTON
Take the action of the poor law inspectors with regard to the dietary of different workhouses. That is a case where no provision has been made, and yet these officials have suffered from an undue expansion of heart since the Act was passed. When half the burden fell upon the landlords they were very economical indeed, but even in anticipation of the passing of this Act every poor law inspector in Ireland came forward with some silly revolutionary proposal to turn houses upside down and add to the sum total of the expense. I really am sorry that the Act has been framed in such a way as to leave a very responsible power to men who have shown clearly and conclusively that they are not fit to discharge in a fair and impartial manner the duties devolving upon them.
§ MR. O'DOWD (Sligo, N.)
I do not intend to trespass very much upon the attention of the House, and perhaps I should not have spoken at all but for the fact that I have been connected for some years with various public bodies in 1179 Ireland, and I feel very strongly upon this particular point. My opinion is that the Local Government Board, as at present constituted, is totally unsuited for the supervision of the various governing public bodies in Ireland, more especially at the present time, when we have such a complicated system of local government. Under the old order of things boards of guardians and other local bodies found that instead of getting assistance from the Local Government Board they got nothing but obstruction and red tape. That is my experience after ten years service as a poor law guardian. I am at present the chairman of a county council and a board of guardians, and I consider that the Local Government Board, as at present constituted, is utterly unfitted for the task of supervising the local government of Ireland. I do not wish to trouble the House with any facts or figures, neither do I wish to give the Committee any instance of dereliction of duty on the part of the Local Government Board. Some time ago the board of guardians of which I have the honour to be chairman carefully considered the question of union amalgamation. Under a clause in the Local Government Act a number of unions can be amalgamated with a view of having some of the existing workhouses turned into auxiliary asylums for the care of harmless lunatics who are at present confined in union workhouses. We considered that it would be most useful to carry out this scheme of union amalgamation, because it would have ensured better accommodation and better facilities for the care of these unfortunate harmless lunatics, and not only this, but we should have been able to secure the capitation grant. We passed a resolution asking the Local Government Board to allow us to utilise a portion of an existing workhouse for this special purpose by having it converted into an auxiliary lunatic asylum, and although the proposition was in every sense a fair and reasonable one the Local Government Board refused to sanction the scheme. I know of one workhouse which was built to accommodate 900 paupers, but the average number there is only 100. Therefore, in the ordinary course of things, you would naturally expect that a workhouse originally built to accommodate 900 paupers should at least afford additional accommodation for 150 harmless lunatics. From the very fact that the part which it 1180 was proposed to set aside for the accommodation of these lunatics was part and parcel of an existing workhouse, and because the building was not given up altogether for an auxiliary asylum, the Local Government Board refused to allow this.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
was understood to say that this was not a matter for the Local Government Board, and that the county council had power to deal with it.
§ MR. O'DOWD
That is most important. There is another point I wish to raise. We held a special meeting of our board of guardians. So important was this question considered by the people generally that we convened a special meeting for the purpose of considering this particular matter, and there was one point we desired information upon which the Act of Parliament, or our own law advisers, did not supply. We applied to the Local Government Board and we told them we had a special meeting convened to consider this point, and we requested their immediate attention to this matter, and asked them to give an answer in time for our next meeting. So busily wore they engaged that they did not reply to our communication until a week after, and then their answer was most vague and unsatisfactory. On these general grounds I consider that the Local Government Board, as at present constituted, is incapable of managing or supervising our system of local government in Ireland.
§ MR. FIELD (Dublin, St. Patrick's)
I have no desire to detain the House upon ground which has already been gone over, but there are two or three matters to which I desire to call the attention of the House. It will be within the recollection of Members of the House that when the Local Government Act was under discussion it was predicted by hon. Gentlemen opposite that to give local government to Ireland was a very dangerous thing to do, on the ground that the county councils, the rural district councils, and the urban district councils would be most extravagant in their administration. But what is the experience we have gained during the very short time the Local 1181 Government Act has been in operation? I would ask the particular attention of the right hon. Gentleman on the Treasury Bench to the fact that the extravagance has not emanated from the representatives of the people, but from those who represent the Local Government Board. I do not wish to enter into the details of any particular case, for the House is weary with listening to cases which have already been cited by various hon. Members. As a member of the General Council of the County Councils Association of Ireland I may say that we have had under consideration several extraordinary cases in regard to the manner in which salaries have been increased by the Local Government Board against the wishes of the local bodies who employ those officials. I will not go into any long discussion about that point, for you have had cases enough already, but I will just give very shortly one instance. I allude to the case of a rate collector in my own county. This official was quite willing last year to accept the salary fixed upon, but this year he refused to accept the salary he had hitherto enjoyed until he had appealed to the Local Government Board. Now what does this mean? It simply means that, instead of these officers being the employees of the representatives of the people, they ignore their employers absolutely—whether they are county councils, district councils, or rural district councils — they absolutely ignore those representatives who have been elected to carry on the business of the county, and they go to the Local Government Board. What is the experience of the men who have studied this question all over Ireland? My experience in regard to these councils in Ireland is that very few of them have shown any tendency to get rid of their old officials; but, on the contrary, their desire has been to keep on these officials if they possibly could, because they are acquainted with the routine of the business. Therefore, it is an extraordinary thing that these officials should be instilled with the notion that instead of being directly employed by the representatives of the people they are employed by the Local Government Board. I consider that in these matters public opinion should be consulted, and that the elected councils are the only real representatives of that public opinion. There- 1182 fore, I say that the system adopted up to the present is not at all satisfactory for the carrying on of public business. I would like to press this point upon the Committee. The elected councils are responsible to their constituents, and therefore they endeavour to carry out the business of the county as economically as possible; but the Local Government Board are responsible to nobody so far as I can see. [An HON. MEMBER: They are responsible to Parliament.] Yes; but what chance have we of criticising them here? We have the opportunity of putting questions, and we have also an opportunity on the Estimates, but when it comes to the point the Local Government Board are absolutely beyond the control even of this House of Commons, because that Board consists of nominated officials who possess very considerable power. I said at a meeting of a board at Blackrock yesterday that, as far as we are concerned in Ireland with respect to local government, we have in the Local Government Board an Irish House of Lords who are not elected, who are not representative of the people, and who are responsible to nobody in relation to the local government of Ireland, but who have a power of veto over all our actions. I do not think that, if the Government want this Local Government Act to work smoothly, they will achieve that object by the policy which is now being pursued. In a great many cases there is no appeal from the decision of the Local Government Board. That being so I think some remedy should be provided at once. In a recent debate which took place in regard to the federation of the Australian States, this question of the right of appeal was looked upon as —
* THE CHAIRMAN
I must remind the hon. Member, and I am sure he will appreciate the point, that questions involving legislation cannot be raised upon this Vote.
§ MR. FIELD
Most of the hon. Members who preceded me spoke as poor law guardians, county councillors, and rural district councillors, and I think if I do the same it will be to the point. I intend to refer principally to the urban district councils, and I will give my reasons. The ratepayers who live in the 1183 agricultural districts have received some kind of consideration by reason of the agricultural grant, but the unfortunate ratepayers living in the urban district council areas have no such grant. The result is that those who live in the urban districts are, financially, in a worse position than those in the country districts. To a certain extent taxation is reduced in the agricultural areas, but it is not reduced in the urban districts at all, and what with the increasing demands for education, sanitation, and other local improvements, if the expenses of local government increase as they are doing, it will be difficult for the ratepayers to meet all the demands which are made upon them in the urban districts. I will just give one example of how the Local Government Board treated us in Blackrock. I mention this as an example of how things are manipulated by the Local Government Board. In Kingstown an inquiry was held as to the necessity of establishing a hospital for infectious diseases. The principal evidence given at that inquiry was tendered by medical men, and there is a strong feeling in Kingstown and Blackrock upon this question. In Blackrock we opposed the erection of this hospital on the ground of expense, and on the ground that for sanitation purposes it was unnecessary. We further submitted that if it was necessary it should not be placed in either the urban district of Blackrock or Kingstown, and we submitted that it should be placed out of the range of the east winds, and outside the thickly populated districts, and put in a more suitable position. Doctor Flynn reported favourably, but the greater part of the evidence was given by doctors. Doctors being professional men, they generally look at things from a different point of view to that of the ratepayers. We have no objection to this hospital being erected in a proper place if it is managed economically. I proposed a. resolution at the board meeting at Blackrock yesterday that we file a petition against this Provisional Order, and my proposal was unanimously adopted. My notion of how these things should be carried out is that when there is a difference of opinion there ought to be some kind of consultation between the Local Government Board and the local authority. I want the Attorney General and the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to understand that, as I sup- 1184 ported this Local Government Act when it was before this House, I wish to see it carried into operation smoothly and without friction if possible. But surely, if the Local Government Board accepts the dictum of its own officers without consulting in any way the locality which is interested, this object can never be achieved.
§ MR. FIELD
But if there was an inquiry, there was a considerable difference of opinion, and the local authority was not consulted about it. I submit respectfully that when men are to be called upon to pay for a thing they ought to be consulted. There is no doubt that the people of Blackrock are entirely opposed to this proposal, but I will not delay the House further upon this point. As one who voted for this Local Government Act, I desire to see it carried out without friction and without too much intervention on the part of the Local Government Board. As I said before, the men who man the Local Government Board in Ireland are neither elected nor representative, and there is. no appeal from their decision. They are practically the House of Lords in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman opposite has accepted all responsibility for what the Local Government Board has done, and I extend to him my sympathy in the position which he has taken up. I know the right hon. Gentleman wishes the Act to be carried out as well as possible, but if he accepts responsibility for the actions of the Local Government Board he will be subject to much more criticism in the future than in the past. We want it to be understood that we are not going to allow the Local Government Board to override the elected representatives of the people in matters in which they are supported by public opinion. We wish to have the Local Government Act administered in such a way that it. will win the confidence of the people, and certainly, in my opinion, and, I am sure, in the opinion of Irish Members generally,, it is not by coming into friction with local representatives that you are going to popularise the Act. I hope the few observations I have made will merit the 1185 attention of the right hon. Gentleman, because they are made in no spirit of hostility to the Local Government Board. On the contrary, I wish to harmonise the working of the Local Government Act with the wishes of the people, so that we may give an example that Ireland is quite capable of carrying on her own Government.
§ * MR. WILLIAM JOHNSTON (Belfast, S.)
I hope the few observations I have to make will not give offence to hon. Gentlemen opposite. The matter I desire to mention is not a grievance against the Local Government Board, but against the Donegal County Council. I have been asked to ventilate a grievance under which the barony constables and collectors under the grand jury suffer. They wish me to ascertain from the Chief Secretary the reason of the delay in the payment to them of compensation. The compensation was fixed by the county council in November, 1899, but it has not yet been paid. I am informed that the secretary of the Donegal County Council has received a letter threatening legal proceedings. My complaint is a variation from the other complaints which have been made during this debate, and I hope that the grievance which presses on the barony constables and collectors will be removed.
§ MR. MURNAGHAN
The Chief Secretary has stated that all the irregularities which have been complained of have arisen owing to the Act of 1898, but I would wish to point out that the right hon. Gentleman himself is the father of that Act, and that the features of the child often reflect the features of the parent, and that he is responsible for the shortcomings of the Act. I think that the real cause of the difficulty which has arisen is to be attributed to the unfortunate hour when the right hon. Gentleman listened to the blandishments of the Unionist Members and sanctioned provisions for existing officials which have caused a very heavy burden to be placed on the ratepayers of Ireland. It was in that evil hour that the injury was done. I tried at the time to resist it, but the right hon. Gentleman looked upon me as a weak 1186 vessel, and threw me over. The right hon. Gentleman has told us that the whole question as between assistant county surveyors and the public bodies can be settled by arrangement, and that if it were settled by arrangement the Local Government Board would not interfere. What I say is this—that the officials have refused to agree to any settlement offered by the local bodies. For instance, the clerk of my union was offered an increased salary, but he would not take it. He was asked what increased salary he would take, and he would not say. I want to know how can you make an arrangement with such an official as that? The officials of Ireland agreed among themselves not to accept an arrangement from the local bodies because they had a sympathetic body at headquarters. The County Council of Tyrone fixed salaries for the assistant county surveyors at increased rates. The Local Government Board in due time sent a communication acknowledging the fixing of the salaries and sanctioning them. The assistant county surveyors afterwards refused to accept the salaries, and refused to make any arrangement at all, because they knew they would get better terms from the central authority. I maintain that the action of the Local Government Board is conducive to insubordination on the part of officials in Ireland. It is not a question whether an official should get £100 or £150 a year, or whether he should get two or four weeks vacation. It is a question whether the local authorities are to be masters or not. That is the principle we are fighting for, and I hope that no public body in Ireland! will be mean-spirited enough to allow themselves to be over-ridden by a body of four well-paid officials, sitting in the Custom House in Dublin, who know nothing about local affairs, and do not contribute to the cost of local administration.
§ MR. MURNAGHAN
I think it is not proper for the hon. Member to interrupt me. I am speaking the views of my constituents, and I am at least entitled to half an hour of the time of the Committee. I must be approved of in my 1187 own constituency, or I would not be elected to such a number of representative bodies.
§ MR. WILLIAM JOHNSTON
I had no intention whatever of reflecting on the hon. Gentleman, or of interfering with his freedom of speech, but I thought he should address the Chair and not the Chief Secretary.
§ MR. MURNAGHAN
I will pass from that point. The right hon. Gentleman said that the local authorities should have made arrangements with the officials, but I hope he will remember the case of Tyrone.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
I do not remember what happened in the case of Tyrone, but from what the hon. Member has just said it would appear to mo that the county council must have submitted as an arrangement what was really no arrangement at all.
§ MR. MURNAGHAN
I will pass from that point to another. The Chief Secretary held out the hope to the Committee that the increase in the expenditure was only a temporary matter, and that it was not likely that in future the expenditure would be as great as it was last year. I am very sorry to say that the right hon. Gentleman's figures are very different from the figures I have got affecting the county of Tyrone. I find that during the present half year the expenditure has already gone up enormously. Salaries have increased from £1,576 to £2,295, printing has increased by many hundreds, and under the head of "Other expenditure" there has 1188 been an increase from £1,053 to £2,026 in the half-year. In 1897 the average rate was 2s. 11d. in the £, it is now 3s. 8d. in the £, and the prospect is that next year it will be 4s. That means that our expenditure has increased by about 33⅓ per cent. since 1897. What will the people think? They will naturally think that the increase has been brought about by the new order of things, and that the county councils are the parties responsible for this extravagance and high expenditure. We want to bring the expenditure down to what we consider a reasonable level. I believe that the present expenditure is not a reasonable but an extravagant expenditure. I believe that owing to the rules and regulations made by the Local Government Board certain accounts have now to be kept of a roundabout character, requiring unnecessary work, and that, of course, means expenditure. Then, again, as regards printing; the Local Government Board sent down a rule that notice of intention to strike a rate should be published in the local press, and then that notice that the rate had been struck should also be published, and so the duties are multiplied. Things have now got to such a point that something must be done to restrain the Board's powers. We want to get at the trouble so as to apply a remedy; we want good, clean, honest government, and we believe that the Local Government Board are not helping us to make the system a success. We believe that if the Board were constituted differently and if it consisted of men in whom the people had confidence, whose views were more in harmony with the spirit of the Act, favourable consideration would be given to the points that I have mentioned. We all recognise the need of a central authority to guide, urge, or restrain, as the case may be, though I must say that the only good thing the Local Government Board ever did in my constituency was to insist upon the building of some labourers' cottages when the Guardians refused to put the Labourers Act in force. With regard to dispensary doctors, one of the doctors of our dispensary recently went away on a holiday, and while he was away his coat was stolen out of the hotel. The thief was discovered, and the police authorities requested the attendance of the doctor as a witness. He now wants the board of guardians to pay a substitute for him while he is away 1189 looking after his own private business, although he will be paid £2 2s. a day and his expenses. The Omagh Guardians decline to pay a substitute, and I will watch with interest the action of the Local Government Board on this question. By the public spirit they have displayed the Antrim Board of Guardians have earned the gratitude of the country for having elicited from the Chief Baron ' an interpretation of the law as regards the rights of local bodies. I will quote part of the decision of the Chief Baron, although the right hon. Gentleman told us in a haughty spirit that he was going to revise the rule so that courts of law would not inconvenience the Local Government Board—
[Mr. J. W. LOWTHER was here succeeded by Mr. ARTHUR O'CONNOR in the Chair.]
The Chief Baron says, "The guardians must have authority, in order to make the rule legal, to approve or disapprove." The Local Government Board cannot yet make laws in Dublin, and it must still come to this House for them. I want to know whether the Local Government Board, in face of that decision—given by one of the highest authorities in jurisprudence in the kingdom, and by a man of such legal attainments that he is admired by all on these benches, though perhaps we do not admire other things in regard to him—will continue to pursue their present policy. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will in future spare local bodies being placed in the position of being mere registers of the will of his Board, which evidently sighs for the old days and the old system, and begrudges the people the little share they have in local affairs. I have very considerable experience in the administration of local affairs, as I sit on nearly every public body in the county of Tyrone, and I think it is my duty to bring these views before the Committee, in order that we may get some information from the right hon. Gentleman. It is not a question whether doctors should get two weeks or four weeks holiday, but whether the authorities should in every case be able to determine the length of time as well as the emoluments their officials receive. That is the principle of local government, and it is the first point for which we fight. It is not a principle of local government to 1190 have a nominated authority sitting in Dublin sending down circulars ordering the local bodies to do this, that, and the other thing. That is not local government; that is autocratic insolence. We are trying to do what we can for our districts; our services are unpaid, but these men are paid for the duties they perform. If this course of conduct is continued, you will have insubordination in official circles throughout Ireland. Already these officials ridicule and sneer at a district councillor because, perhaps, his grammar is not just what it ought to be. These district councillors did not, however, have the advantage of a college education, because they would not, in violation of principle, attend the Queen's Colleges. We are debarred the benefit of receiving a higher education; and by your law you give one particular section of the community all the advantages of that higher education. Therefore it does not lie in the mouths of dispensary doctors or men of university education to sneer at and cast ridicule upon the honest men of Ireland who are trying to do their duty, and who for conscience sake stand on a lower educational level than the placemen they employ. I believe that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary is really honest in his endeavours to improve the condition of our people; I give him full credit for it; but he has evil advisers. What I fight for here is the right of these local bodies to do their work in their own way, and to have that control over their own officials which is necessary for the efficient performance of their duty and the good management of public affairs.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
said he was sure that the right hon. Gentleman would have found the Local Government Act in Ireland a much greater success if he had listened to the advice of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, and others like him, instead of to Mr. Bagwell, who is such an influential member of the Local Government Board. It occurred to him that the Chief Secretary looked like a man who said that things would be better left unsettled. Perhaps he said to himself, "Dear me, I wish I had never made that speech at Leeds, in which I declared that local government in Ireland would knock the bottom out of 1191 Home Rule." It seemed to him that Mr. Bagwell had been put into the Local Government Board to destroy the effect of the concession of local government in Ireland by creating evil passions between the county councils and the Local Government Board, and to place on every county council a small band of men under Castle influence. He was delighted to place on the records of the House of Commons the immortal eloquence of Mr. Bagwell delivered to the Royal Irish Land Agents' Association. A formal objection might be taken to his quotation of Mr. Bagwell's speech, inasmuch as it occurred last year instead of this; but he wished to show that Mr. Bagwell was not a gentleman to whom £1,100 a year of the public money ought to be paid.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
If the hon. Gentleman refers to the answer I gave to a question on this subject, he will find that Mr. Bagwell expressed the view that the speech as reported did not correctly represent what he said.*
§ MR. DILLON
said that the salary of Mr. Bagwell was part of the Vote the Committee was now discussing, and the question was whether Mr. Bagwell is a fit and proper person to administer the law. They had never had an opportunity of discussing that before.
I remember very well the discussion of last year, and the speech to which reference has been made. It is getting a little old now; but the hon. Gentleman is entitled to criticise Mr. Bagwell, and if he likes he can go back on his speeches made two or three years ago.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
promised that he would not be tedious. On the 21st April, 1899, Mr. Bagwell made a speech to the Royal Irish Land Agents' Association, in which he said—He had been called in to administer an Act of Parliament [the Local Government Act of 1898], which of all Acts of Parliament ever drawn was the worst. The Land Act of 1896 was pretty bad, but the Act of 1898 would puzzle anybody, and so long as the people who* Refer to The Parliamentary Debates [Fourth Series], Vol. lxx., page 385.1192asked for impossibilities got half impossibilities they would never be satisfied.The people of Ireland would never be satisfied if Mr. Bagwell got £1,100 a year to administer an Act which he declared was the worst ever drawn. He did not expect to see Mr. Bagwell on the Treasury Bench, but he hoped they would get rid of him in the House of Lords. Mr. Bagwell was the gentleman who was the chief adviser to the Local Government Board on the Local Government Act, and who was the direct cause of all the friction which existed between the Local Government Board and the county councils. He recollected as well as if it were yesterday all the allegations which were made against the introduction of the Local Government Act from the other side of the House—allegations of gross extravagance and petty peculations. Since this debate began he had received a copy of a resolution, passed by the Donegal County Council, regarding the working of the Local Government Act. In that resolution it was stated that the county council, having had a year's experience of the work of local government, found that the expenditure on loans and poor law relief remained much as it was in a standard year, but that the amount levied by the rates for all purposes, had risen from £33,000 to £59,500 for the last year, notwithstanding the receipt of the Agricultural Grant of £21,000. They were forced to ascribe the increase of expenditure purely to the cost of administration of the Act, and this serious state of affairs had largely arisen from the direct action of the Local Government Board. They called upon the House to assist in providing a remedy; and they suggested that the cost of bookkeeping, rate collecting, printing and other contracts might be all largely reduced. Besides, there was the question of the expenditure on workhouses. There were eight workhouses in Donegal, capable of accommodating 4,000 inmates, while at the present time there were only 541 paupers. Of course Mr. Bagwell, who was so anxious to raise the salaries of secretaries and surveyors, would never dream of reducing expenditure of that kind. There would be no friction then, and none of that tin-pot Local Government Board, gingerbread local aristocracy. The whole thing would never go; and the bottom would never be knocked 1193 out of Home Rule under such circumstances. But there was another and even a greater than Mr. Bagwell—that very great man the Duke of Abercorn, Chairman of the Tyrone County Council, who stood in the way of reform. The case of Dr. Cullen illustrated all the worst qualities of the system by which a semblance of representative government was given to Ireland, but which was thwarted at every turn. Dr. Flynn was an old friend in all local government transactions. He very well remembered in years past when Dr. Flynn was sent down by the Government to inquire into the distress in Donegal, and when he described the deserts of Donegal as gardens of Eden, or like the deserts of which Isaiah sang as blossoming like the rose. Of course, Dr. Flynn would administer justice with his eye fixed on his master, Mr. Bagwell. On all these grounds he hoped that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary would in future trust the people of Ireland more.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND (Clare, E.)
I would not have intervened at all, but that I have received from many local authorities in the county I represent representations complaining of what is considered to be the unnecessary and irritating interference of the Local Government Board with the working of the Local Government Act in Ireland. It was said that that Act was to be a substitute for Home Rule, and that the working of it would have the effect of cooling the demand for Home Rule in Ireland. I do not know whether that was the object of the right hon. Gentleman who succeeded in passing the Act; but if it were, it has signally failed. The Local Government Act has been in operation for about a year, and if it has done anything at all in regard to Home Rule, it has undoubtedly proved the strongest possible argument for Home Rule. It has shown from one end of Ireland to the other the capacity of Irish people for self-government, and, apart from the complaints in regard to the interference of the Local Government Board, it must be admitted by the right hon. Gentleman opposite that the Act has been worked with wonderful success, considering the absolute inexperience of the people of everything in the shape of local govern 1194 ment and the control of their own affair's. I have attended many meetings of the county council in my own constituency, and have been immensely impressed with the businesslike capacity shown by the members of the council, and by their high character and qualifications. I have left the room feeling certain that no county council, either in England or Scotland, could have surpassed that of county Clare in their capacity for work, and their strong desire to do the work in the best possible way. The same may be said with equal truth of all the county councils throughout the length and breadth of Ireland. Our people entered on the work of local government greatly handicapped, because they had been subjected for so long to a system which deprived the great mass of the people of Ireland of having any share whatever in the work of local government. Although confronted with the enormous intricacies of the Act, they had set themselves to perform their duty, as representative local public men, in a way that confers the greatest honour upon them, and which proves beyond yea or nay, that the mass of the Irish people, if left to themselves, have a great capacity and desire to administer their local affairs as honestly as the men in this country or in Scotland. In certain particulars the Local Government Act has not worked out well. It has been pointed out by some who criticise anything Irish that the Act has not been carried out in as admirable a manner as the Government appeared to expect. I am bound to say that in any instance where there seemed to be confusion, and where the local bodies left themselves open to criticism in any degree, the fault has been not with the people, but with the meddlesome interference of the Local Government Board. I do not deny that there ought to be some central authority in Ireland to whom county councils and other public bodies could appeal in cases of difficulty; but the great disadvantage of the Local Government Board as a central authority is, that it is absolutely unrepresentative of the people. It is an authority in which the people have not the slightest confidence. We hear in these times rumours of reforms in Ireland; but I would suggest that the people should be given a broad measure of self-government. If you trust the people to that 1195 extent, why not substitute for the Local Government Board a central authority which would be representative of the people, and elected by the people, and to which they could appeal with absolute confidence that it would deal out impartial justice in every respect? It appears to me absurd that these representative councils should be controlled by a non-representative body in which they have no confidence and over which they have no power. If instead of this purely nominated and unrepresentative Local Government Board the people of Ireland were allowed themselves to elect a central representative body, they would carry out the work of local government infinitely better, and such a course would, in a very short time, put an end to all these differences which have arisen. Hon. Members opposite should remember that in the complaints which have been made in this debate with regard to the Local Government Board many Unionists have joined as well as Irish Nationalists. I have represented for seven years a portion of the county of Fermanagh, and, as the hon. Member for East Mayo has pointed out, one of the councils which has expressed the strongest disapprobation of the interference of the Local Government Board is the Council of Fermanagh, in which the majority is composed not of Nationalists, but of Unionists. They have protested against the interference of the Local Government Board just as much as the councils representing purely Nationalist districts in other parts of Ireland. I am perfectly certain that if the Chief Secretary or the Attorney General will take the trouble to inquire, they will find that there is just as much dissatisfaction expressed in the districts in the north of Ireland at the interference, from time to time, of the Local Government Board with the county councils, as there is in the south of Ireland. I ventured to prophesy when this Bill was introduced that the Irish people would falsify the conviction that they wore unfit for the control given them under the Local Government Act. It was said that they would be extravagant, and that all sorts of jobbery would prevail. It was contended that these councils would select men unfit for official positions, and would appoint their own friends; that capacity would not be taken into consideration, and that wholesale jobbery would be the result. That prediction has been com- 1196 pletely falsified, and as far as extravagance goes, whatever extravagance there has been under this Act is altogether to be laid at the door of the Local Government Board. It is a monstrous thing that when a local council with all the facts before it and all the local considerations of the work to be done, arrives at a decision as to what is a fair and proper sum to pay its officers for the discharge of the duties which they are called upon to perform, the officials from Dublin Castle should come down and override that decision by increasing the salaries of the officers to an enormous extent. Whatever extravagance there has been in the administration of this Act is not to be attributed to the action of the local councils but solely to the action of the Local Government Board in interfering. With regard to the charge of jobbery, I challenge the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland, or any member of the Government, to show that the local boards have not appointed under this Act the best possible men to do the work. That has been the one consideration which has had influence with these local bodies, and whether we are able to influence the Government to reconsider the action of the Local Government Board or not, there is one thing that we are able to state here without any fear of contradiction, and it is that, in the performance of their administrative duties the local councils in Ireland have been quite up to the standard—if they have not exceeded that standard—which is set by the administration of county councils in this country and in Scotland. It is rather a discouraging thing to Irish Members to find that all through this century anything that has been given to Ireland has been given in a grudging spirit. No doubt local government is a great boon to the Irish people, and I do not altogether agree with my hon. friend who spoke last in deprecating the passing of the Local Government Act. I think that Act, if the representatives of the people were allowed by the Local Government Board to work it, would be an immense boon to the people generally. At the time the Act was passed I held that view; but in this Act, as in every reform given to Ireland ever since the Irish Parliament was destroyed, there is a drawback, and there always is a drawback. You make up your mind that the Irish people shall be trusted with more 1197 power, and you give them something in the light direction, but all the time you seem determined to keep the whip hand over the Irish people. You cannot make up your mind to trust them thoroughly, and that is the fault of your administration in every respect. That is the fault of this Act, as it is the fault of every department of Government in Ireland, and if you desire to make this Act a success and give the Irish people a full opportunity of showing their natural capacity for managing their own affairs, you should remove this vexatious and irritating interference of the Local Government Board in Ireland, and say to the Irish people, "We trust you fully, thoroughly, and sincerely; we believe that as you know these powers which you have got to administer are for the benefit of your own country you will ad-, minister then properly, knowing full well that any bad administration or any malpractices which take place will injure not Scotland or England but Ireland alone; therefore we will give you full control." If you would do that I sincerely believe that the result would justify your action, and you would find in this matter, as has been abundantly proved in every case where it has been tried, that when you treat Irish-, men as free men and as human beings who desire to manage the affairs of their own country, when you treat them as you treat Englishmen and Scotchmen, it will be proved in the result that you were quite justified in doing this, and that the Irish people treated in that way can be relied upon to do everything for the benefit of their own country and nothing which would in the slightest degree make anybody regret having bestowed full powers upon them.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
I desire to say a few words in regard to the remarkable and conciliatory speech which has been made by the Chief Secretary for Ireland. I think the right hon. Gentleman has disarmed criticism to a great extent by taking the burden of the complaints upon himself in regard to the attitude which the Local Government Board have adopted towards the local bodies in Ireland. Everyone knows that the right hon. Gentleman has been a very severe sufferer through illness, and it is a great 1198 satisfaction to us to find that he has been so completely restored to health. Besides this, the Government have recently been deprived of the services of their chief law adviser. While I entirely agree with nearly everything that has been said by the hon. Member for East Mayo, at the same time I think that if we had a central authority which we could trust, the hon. Member would be the last person to object to such a body exercising careful supervision and control over these new local bodies.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
We do not believe that the Local Government Board is such a body, and therefore we cannot be expected to have much confidence in it. At the present moment the Local Government Board has got no legal adviser, and I do not know why the Government do not at once make the appointment. The delay in this matter savours of jobbery, and it is a curious thing to contrast with this the remarkable celerity with which the appointment followed the vacancy in the case of Lord Morris. When a resignation occurred not long ago upon the Land Commission, before we knew anything about it, the promotion of the successor took place. Here is the case of a gentleman who has been dead many months, and in regard to what is the chief Department of the Government no appointment has yet been made in reference to it. In the course of the recent Local Government inquiry, I ventured to speak a word of commendation for the gentleman who has been his assistant and who is the well-known author of an admirable text-book on Local Government. Why has he or some other gentleman not been appointed? I think this delay is greatly to be regretted, and it is not very creditable to the Treasury. [Laughter.] I notice that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer laughs at this remark, but the right hon. Gentleman always laughs when I mention the Treasury. We all know that no "jobs" are ever done by the Treasury, for it is the one pure Department of the State. You are going to get rid of Mr. Bagwell, and he is going to get his deserts at the end of his time. He has not done the Government any 1199 credit, nor has he done the Irish landlords any credit. Consequently poor Bagwell has to be thrown overboard, Then there is another official who is now getting roughly £2,000 a year. I think if you have got a bad servant and you cannot get rid of him without giving him either a month's notice or a month's wages, it is always better to give him a month's wages, and I say in regard to this gentleman that it is far better to give him his wages. He still has a year to run, but I would give him what may foe called a Treasury compassionate grant and let him take his departure. We would be rid of him, and then you would be able to appoint a gentleman permanently in the position of legal adviser. My hon. friend complained of the errors the Government had committed. This is probably the most important post in the entire administrative system in the country, and I urge upon Her Majesty's Government not to leave the matter in the indefinite position it is in at present, but to make a definite appointment. I wish to ask why it is that the standard rate for the city of Dublin has been altered. As regards the North Dublin Union it has been struck at a figure lower than ever the taxpayer paid there. This is an excellent example of how business is being done in the interest of the Treasury. For the year 1897 or 1898 there was a standard rate to be struck. The whole of the landlords' taxes were to be calculated by reference to that rate. What did they do in the different unions? The north side of Dublin being the richer has to pay less rates and the south side more rates. They struck a standard rate for the entire city of Dublin, which being a fictitious rate, neither the north nor the south ever paid. They have done an injustice to the poor of the south to the extent of twopence per £1. I consider that it is a most unfair way for the Government to do business, to make a permanent grant to the landlords of North Dublin at the expense of their tenants to the extent of twopence per £1. I wish to know what member of Her Majesty's Government can justify that proceeding. What I would like to say with regard to the general question of the Government increasing salaries is that certainly when you are dealing with the British Government in its capacity as imperial paymaster on the one hand, 1200 and protector of the local purse on the other, you have an example in the one case of amiability, and in the other of quite another disposition. Everybody knows that the Government is to its own servants a most cheeseparing and hard taskmaster; but when the money for favourite officials is to come out of the pockets of the local ratepayers it is absolutely reckless. I take the case that has already been referred to. After they gave this gentleman £1,000 he retired on his loot. He retired on his pension, which is calculated on the fictitious amount fixed by the Government, he practically never having done a day's work in respect of which the salary was increased. The excuse of the right hon. Gentleman is that the duties were greatly increased, but he never did the increased duties. He has walked off with his pension calculated on the increased rate for duties he never performed.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
If it was fifteen pence you would not do it at the Treasury. What is the salary of his successor You fixed the retiring officer's salary at £1,000 a year. I believe his successor is doing the work at £500 or £300. In such an office as this, where a man has to deal with large contracts of hundreds of thousands a year, I would not at all be in favour of giving low salaries. It is necessary to prevent jobbery, suspicion, and corruption, and I think it is undesirable to give these men small salaries if they are competent to do the work. What is the case in Ballymoney? An absolutely incompetent man, to the knowledge of every Conservative gentleman sitting on the grand jury—
§ AN HON. MEMBER: I am one of the grand jury, and one of the county council. He is not an incompetent secretary.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
Why did Lord Erne seek to cut him down? I think I am right in saying that the Conservative majority in the county council were against the salary given to this gentle- 1201 man. He is competent, I grant you, to draw the salary. I certainly say that I should be surprised to see him get a testimonial from the county council in any other way. The right hon. Gentleman the Irish Secretary says, "Hero is the section in the Local Government Act providing that when a man's duties are increased he is to get extra salary." It is all right if he does the work. But what does he do? The county was worked with four clerks under the grand jury. It is now worked with six. You compel these people to appoint additional clerks. Do you think that a man who was incompetent under the grand jury is going to do the work now with fifty or sixty clerks? He will make the extra clerks do it, and he will draw the salary. If you are not able to agree with a Conservative body, what chance have the unfortunate Catholic people in the south and west of Ireland? What ought you to do? Well, you have the statute. I would give them the length and breadth of the statute. I would look at the matter in this way. I would say that Lord Erne is as good a judge of the statute law as any Irish nobleman. He is a member of the House of Peers, and I would salve my conscience with the fact that a highly aristocratic landlord body would be likely to do justice; and then, as a further salve for my conscience, I would tell the gentleman to appeal to the Treasury so that he might get justice there. I think the Government ought to act as protectors of those local bodies and try to work in with them. The whole power of the Government ought to be on their side when they are engaged practising economy. That would be one encouragement to them and give them influence. I take this last point, and it is very instructive. What is the trend of this? Turn the handle of any door of a public office in Dublin, and you are met by officials. There are 117 of these people altogether drawing wages under this Vote. They are getting between them £54,339. Of these 117, one hundred are Protestants and seventeen Catholics. There are thirty-four temporary clerks to do extra work under this Vote. Of the thirty-four I venture to say not four are Catholics. This I know as a fact. You had to engage permanent men, and you did not employ a single Catholic amongst those you made permanent.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
I state, as a matter of fact, that in the original list issued by the Government you had not one who was a Catholic. When we get the names of these gentlemen I shall be able to prove it to you. Then they wonder why we are so keen about these matters. The hon. Member for East Mayo very properly asked why you are so keen about the education of the secretaries, and the importance of competitive examination. You impose these competitive ex animations not with a view to efficiency, but with a view to religion. You deprive us of Catholic education, and then your one aim is to try to bolster up ascendancy by seeing that any jobs that are going are given to men of your own kidney. It is not mathematics you want them to know, but the Thirty-nine Articles. I think you are setting a very bad example to those county boards in the south and west of Ireland in regard to your appointments when your own offices are stuffed full of ascendancy men, and a Catholic could not dare even to smell any one of them. That is the position of affairs. We know how incompetent Catholics are. They are only good enough to be shot down at Spion Kop and other places, but it is a remarkable thing that whenever there is a job going with anything like £1,000. £500, or £300 hanging from it, you won't go to the men of the Dublin Fusiliers. Even in the matter of the appointment of gardeners you have confessed to it. If you have only a gardener to appoint in Phoenix Park, you import a Presbyterian Scotchman from the Highlands. I am quite sure the right hon. Gentleman himself has no tone of bigotry about him. If his work was done by a Catholic or a Protestant, I am sure he would not care. If a man under him was a Hindu or a Mussulman he would not care. It is the fault of the permanent officials who are his advisers, and it is this subtle poison which affects every office he has to do with. It is from them that he draws his opinions about Ireland. It is from them he gets his information. They pile up the statistics, and they make up the documents which necessarily form his brief when he rises to speak in this House, so that, taking this Department as a whole, it is loaded to the gunwale 1203 with our enemies. He, no doubt, has told the hon. Member for East Mayo that his credit is involved in seeing the Act worked fairly and squarely. I think the Act is a monument of good sense and statesmanship, but what do these men at the Castle in the Local Government Board say? "We are the permanent officials. The Member for Central Leeds may be here to-day, and a general election may send him off' a week after." That is their position. I venture to say that every permanent official in Ireland regards every Irish Secretary as we might regard straws upon a stream. He regards himself, and his ascendency feeling as the only permanent force in Irish life and administration. The right hon. Gentleman may for a moment affect this matter or that by his policy, but until you are able to uproot these defenders of ascendency you will have the same complaints made day after day and year after year on occasions of this kind when dealing with great matters, as well as petty, in connection with Ireland. I make no accusation against the right hon. Gentleman. I say now, as I have said of him in private, that he has been a useful, efficient, and hardworking Irish Secretary. I believe when he leaves office he will be able to take credit to himself for having done good work while he was in it. I make this accusation against the system. The conduct of the permanent officials in every department of Irish administration has been a constant source of irritation to the people.
§ MR. POWER (Waterford, E.)
I quite agree with the hon. Members for Galway and East Mayo with regard to the way the people view the Local Government Board in Ireland. We heard that when they got the power they would exercise it badly, and that they would throw discredit on the local administration generally. We are happy to say, and all must acknowledge it, that has not been the case. They have worked the Act as well as they could in spite of the Local Government Board. We do not object in Ireland, we rather welcome, the reforms the Local Government Board are at present insisting upon with regard to the administration of the poor law. We must recognise that the duty of the poor law guardians is to watch 1204 the interests of the poor rather than the interests of the ratepayers but I must say for myself that I could have wished that these reforms had been pressed upon the guardians before this. I look with suspicion upon this new-born activity, anxiety, and interest for the poor, which the Local Government Board never manifested until it was apparent that the Local Government Bill was to be passed, and that the rate should in future be borne, not half by the landlords, but entirely by the occupiers. I listened with interest to the speech the right hon. Gentleman delivered this evening, and I think it is one of the best speeches he has delivered in this House. At the end of his speech he said that the people should recollect that, the Local Government Board had many new duties imposed upon it, and that possibly it did wrong in some cases, and that the people should not be too critical. If the right hon. Gentleman wishes the people not to be too critical he and the Local Government Board should show some sort of consideration for local opinion throughout the country, and should not ignore them and dance upon their opinion on every possible occasion. I think there is nothing more calculated to produce insubordination among the officials of the local boards in Ireland than the system which now prevails, the system which sneers at the opinion of the local representatives, makes those gentlemen overlook their masters altogether, and ignore the wishes of those who gave them their places. The right hon. Gentleman took the view that the Local Government Board was not antagonistic to local rights and to the local boards. The impression left on my mind at an earlier part of the evening by the answer the right hon. Gentleman himself gave to the question of the hon. Member for South Wexford with regard to the resolution passed by the New Ross Board of Guardians—I may be wrong in my interpretation of his words — was of a character to throw ridicule on the boards of guardians, and on that board in particular. He would have been able, no doubt, to throw ridicule on that board, but for the interposition of my hon. friend the Member for North Louth, who took to some extent the wind out of his sails, and his reply had not the effect, possibly, that it might have had. There are two ways of saying and doing everything, and to 1205 my mind the right hon. Gentleman might have done it in another way. I do not wish to stand further between the House and the reply the right hon. Gentleman intends to give to the various suggestions which have been made. I think the way the local bodies have conducted the administration under a troublesome and complicated system reflects credit on them, and gives hope of what we have always believed in—that they are capable of managing their own affairs.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has bestowed upon the new Local Government Act some criticism which, I think, is not quite warranted. I am of opinion that the Act has been successfully administered, taking it for all in all, and that the local bodies have shown themselves not unequal to the heavy task imposed upon them; but while I willingly make that admission, while I claim that that is so, I think the success has been in a very considerable degree due to the assistance of that very Local Government Board which has been so freely denounced to-night. The advice of the Local Government Board has been sought on innumerable occasions by the vast majority, if not by all the local bodies, and I am sure if mistakes have sometimes been made in the administration of the Board that was nothing more than was inevitable and natural to expect. I have listened to this discussion all the evening, and I think it is not unfair to say that four-fifths at least of the complaints brought against the Board have rested upon the charge of unduly raising the salaries of existing officers. It is also not unfair to say that four-fifths have arisen or been put forward in ignorance of the obligations which the Act of 1898 placed upon the Local Government Board. The complaint has been not so much of the administration of the Local Government Board as of the provisions of the Act of 1898. The hon. Member for East Mayo, who dwelt upon the mistakes the Government has made in increasing salaries, brought out this point pretty clearly—that it is not the administration of the Act, but the provisions of the Act of which he complains. He went so far as to say that the compensating of the rate-collectors provided for in the Act is extravagant. It is all very well to say that now but I recollect when the Act was 1206 passing through this House that the efforts of the Government were principally devoted to checking the extravagant claims, as I call them, in many cases, that were made on behalf of those very gentlemen whose salaries are now in question. I was aware at the time that the course taken then would probably give way to the denunciation of the Government for the opposite tendency—namely, the tendency to give to these officers the compensation and the increases of salary which the provisions of the Act clearly pointed to. While the Act was passing through I had great difficulty in preventing hon. Members on both sides of the House from giving terms to those gentlemen more favourable than we actually consented to give. There was a party of the opposite feeling. I must give justice to the hon. Member for South Monaghan by stating that he and another Member formed a party of two who persistently supported the Government in their efforts for economy. They are not inconsistent now when they regret that the result of the Act has been to make a considerable charge upon the ratepayers. At the same time, while I admit that increases have been made under the provisions of the Act by the Local Government Board, may I add that I think it is possible to exaggerate the extent of them. I pointed out in the speech I made at an earlier part of the evening that the larger part of the rise that has taken place is due first of all to the compensation of die rate-collectors—which amounts to £100,000— partly to the initial expenses, and, more important still, to the amount involved in road expenditure for throe months additional. The last item amounts to no less than £200,000. Taking those three items together, the total comes to about £350,000, and very nearly the whole of that may be regarded as of a temporary character. Compare with that the additions to salaries which have been made by the Local Government Board under this 115th section. I should think it would be a reasonable estimate to say that of that sum those additions will not exceed £20,000 or £25,000 for the whole of Ireland.
§ MR. HARRINGTON
Does the right hon. Gentleman include in that the salaries for the additional staffs?—because the bulk of our ease is that the whole of 1207 this work was dealt with before by other authorities.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
I am not speaking of the additional staffs, but of the additional salaries which the Local Government Board has felt it its duty to make, having regard to the actual provision of the Act. Under these circumstances, is it not absurd to say that it is the administration of the Local Government Board which has caused this heavy burden to the ratepayers? Although I ventured to state rather fully at an earlier stage of the proceedings the general principles on which the Board acted in fixing these additional salaries, I ought, perhaps, to say a word or two on the subject of the cases which have been brought to our notice since. With regard to the case of the Antrim county surveyor, I am not able to check in detail everything stated by the hon. Member who brought the case forward, but the facts before me are that the old salary was £600, that the surveyor claimed, in consequence of additional work, £1,000, and that the salary actually fixed by the Local Government Board was £850. The hon. Member tells me that the county council were prepared to appoint another officer to take over part of the work of the county surveyor.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
. All I have to say to that is that the observation which presents itself to my mind is, why, under those circumstances, did not the county council come to an arrangement with the county surveyor himself?
§ MR. WILLIAM MOORE
The county surveyor stated on the 16th January that he was unable personally to perform the extra duties, and suggested that the council should appoint an assistant surveyor at a salary of £250. The county council were about to do that, whereupon the Local Government Board issued their Order.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
In that case the difficulty seems to arise from the fact that the county council, although they had had ample time to make an arrangement with their surveyor, had not 1208 actually done so before the decision of the Local Government Board was. announced. Something of that sort may have occurred, but I should have thought that even now it would not be impossible under the circumstances for the county council to come to some arrangement with their surveyor. The actual amount of extra work thrown upon the surveyor is shown by the fact that since that increase of salary the council have proposed to appoint, and, I think, have appointed, an engineer to assist in the work, notwithstanding the fact that the surveyor has received this increase of salary.
§ MR. WILLIAM MOORE
I do not wish to interrupt, but may I say that when the Local Government Board fixed the salary at £850 the county council rescinded the resolution to appoint an assistant, and they have no assistant now?
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
I understood that that was not so, but of course I quite accept my hon. friend's correction. In this matter the plea has been put-forward that the county councils in all cases appointed additional staffs in order to assist the county secretaries and surveyors to carry out their work, and it has been contended that in consequence of that the work of those officials in many cases was actually diminished. I doubt whether that argument can be made good. If a large staff is appointed the county surveyor or secretary has to superintend that staff, and a great responsibility is thrown upon him in that way. I do not think the mere fact that he receives a large amount of extra clerical assistance can be held to show that his duties have not increased. The hon. and learned Member for North Louth cited the case of county Cork. What has happened in the case of county Cork is that the staff now consists of fifty or sixty members.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
But in spite of that, what did the council of county Cork do? They made a voluntary arrangement with their secretary and fixed the salary at £1,500 a year. If, therefore, the council of county Cork have acted, as doubtless they have, with consideration 1209 for their secretary and also for the ratepayers in granting that very large salary, it hardly supports the contention that by the mere appointment of extra clerical staffs the duties of the county secretaries can be considered to have been so far diminished that a reasonable increase of the salaries was not imposed upon by the Local Government Board.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
AS regards the Cork County Council, there was a dual position of secretary and treasurer; the present official takes the dual position, does the duties of both offices, and has an enhanced salary.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
It is quite possible that that is one of the considerations which entered in as a motive in inducing the Cork County Council to fix this high salary, and I am not for a moment criticising that action. All I say is that a mere increase of clerical assistance cannot be held, ipso facto, to have relieved the county secretary of duties to such an extent as to cause the Local Government Hoard to regard his work as having diminished rather than increased. Then the hon. Member for South Monaghan referred to the assistant surveyors, and said that, in his opinion, £80 was quite sufficient remuneration, though he somewhat qualified that statement by saying that he himself had advocated an increase in their salaries. Let me remind the Committee that these salaries of assistant surveyors were fixed at £80 by an Act of 1836. The work of this class of official has enormously increased since then, and these assistant surveyors have long felt that they had a very serious grievance. Some time before the Act of 1898 was passed I went into this question, and I was constrained to admit that in most cases the assistant surveyors were underpaid, but difficulties of legislation prevented any measure being brought in to remedy that state of things. I cannot agree with the hon.Member that £80 represents an adequate remuneration for these men.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
The hon. Member for South Monaghan must permit 1210 me to doubt the accuracy of that statement.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
What appears to be a more than adequate salary in the eyes of the hon. Member for one Division of Monaghan is described as starvation wages by the hon. Member for the other Division.
§ MR. MACALEESE
The right hon. Gentleman is entirely mistaken; I have not spoken in the debate at all.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
The hon. Member has just interposed in the debate, and I gathered that his view was that £80 might reasonably be described as starvation wages. I will leave it at that, and the hon. Members must settle their differences between them. The hon. Member for Galway made an observation which I could not help regretting. He maintained the view that while the Local Government Board had of late, since the Act was passed, been pressing reforms upon the boards of guardians—and, of course, these reforms cost money—they had deliberately and of set purpose abstained from pressing those reforms until after the change in regard to the burden of taxation, by which the rates were thrown upon the occupier instead of the owner, had been brought into effect. Does not the hon. Member see that if that argument is pressed it will be impossible for us to effect any reform in future, because we should be told that we ought to have proposed such reform before the Act of 1898 was passed? If we had been more active in pressing reforms of this nature upon the local bodies—
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
No doubt the standard rate would have been different if those reforms had been imposed before; it would have been higher. But are we on that ground to abstain from recommending these changes and pressing these reforms?
§ MR. PINKERTON
I am not against reforms, but I object to them being carried out under the new arrangement. I do not object to them being done piecemeal, but it is very suspicious that immediately after the change with regard to the rates they should all have been insisted upon at once.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
All I can say is that the Local Government Board has been more active than before because the passing of this Act must be held to have sent new life through local administration in Ireland, and therefore the time was I fitting for such changes and, moreover, under the Act we made a very large contribution for local purposes generally. I should perhaps refer to some remarks which fell from the hon. Member for South Donegal respecting the consolidation of workhouses. He complained that the county Donegal workhouse contained housing accommodation for something like 8,000 paupers, whereas as a matter of fact there are not more than 400 in the house altogether. I do not see how that matter can be brought as a reproach against the administration of the Local Government Board. If the unions in county Donegal consider it is to their interest that they should amalgamate, they should make representations to the Local Government Board to that effect, but it is hardly for the Board to suggest it to the unions concerned. I am sorry the hon. Member for South Donegal should have spoken of the personnel of the Local Government Board as he did. Mr. Bagwell has proved a very useful member of the Board, but to suggest that his influence is predominant is in defiance of the facts. Mr. Bagwell is only one and a temporary member of the Board, and it is not to be supposed that his influence is so powerful as has been suggested. When these matters come before me I hear all sides of the question before I come to a decision, and I trust I come to my decisions after weighing very carefully all the evidence and arguments which have been placed before me. I must deprecate this habit which some Members have fallen into of attacking particular members of the permanent Civil Service.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
I was speaking of permanent officials as opposed to Parliamentary. If there is any complaint to be made, the person to be attacked is the head of the Department. I am quite willing to take upon myself the responsibility for the actions of the Board. Hon. Members opposite complain that the administration of local affairs in Ireland is controlled by what they call an irresponsible body. The Irish Local Government Board is not irresponsible, except in the sense in which all Government Departments are irresponsible. I think hon. Members from Ireland do exercise a very free discretion in criticising the action of the Board, and if they have not been able to bring against the Board any more serious and substantial charges than those we have heard this evening I can only take it that on the whole the Local Government Board in Ireland is not nearly so black as it is painted. But in any case, the person responsible for the acts of the Board is the President thereof, and not any individual member of the permanent staff. The hon. Member for North Louth referred to the question of a legal adviser, and seemed to suspect some deep-laid plot on the part of the Treasury. I can assure the hon. Member that the reason the appointment has not already been made is simply that a committee has been sitting to inquire into the best method by which legal advice car, be obtained by the Local Government Board. This is a very important question; the legal adviser to the Board is placed in a very important position, and it is extremely desirable that the system established for supplying the legal advice required by the Board should be fully satisfactory.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
I assure the hon. and learned Member that the reason I have given is the only reason the appointment has been delayed, and in the mean- time the duty has been very admirably discharged by the gentleman who is temporarily filling the post. Reference was also made to the temporary staff 1213 appointed to carry out the work connected with bringing the Act into operation. The hon. Member stated that in appointing the staff considerations of religion, and practically those only, had been taken into account. Nothing could be further from the truth. While it is perfectly true that the religion of those who are taken into the service of the State is not officially known, I do as a matter of fact believe that at least one-half of the members of the temporary staff in the service of the Local Government Board are Roman Catholics,
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
I believe it as so. But I do not care to pursue the matter further, as it is not and never has been the practice to allow religious opinions to influence appointments, and certainly no Roman Catholic is under any disadvantage in respect to appointments in Ireland. Now I come to the matter which has been raised by the hon. Member for the Harbour Division of Dublin. I do not pretend to be able to follow the hon. Member in all the details of the speech he has delivered, but these points in the case must be clearly admitted. Dr. Cullen was medical officer of health in the union and he was also special medical officer to the constabulary. Occupying these two positions he was specially bound to look after the health of the district. In the mouth of August two cases of typhoid were under his care. One of these cases he attended on the 13th August, and he admits that from the outset he treated the case as one of enteric fever. On the 1st September he fully diagnosed the case, but notwithstanding that he made no report to the Local Government Board or to the district authority. The other case was that of a man named Duffy. Dr. Cullen was called in on the 17th August; on the 28th August Dr. Cullen said this man had enteric fever; he fully satisfied himself on the point on the 2nd September, and yet he took no steps to investigate the cause of the disease or to check the spread of infection. Duffy was a dairyman. The hon. Member says truly that at the inquiry Dr. Cullen denied that he knew Duffy was a dairyman. Of course that is an important point.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
He swore he did not know, and of course we must form our own estimate of that statement. In any case, Duffy being a private patient, it is a most extraordinary thing that he did not make such inquiries as would enable him to judge what the cause of the outbreak was.
§ MR. HARRINGTON
The right hon. Gentleman cannot speak of one case of fever as an "outbreak." The other case was in a different place, two miles away. That is not what is called an outbreak.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
The point is this, that Dr. Cullen did satisfy himself that Duffy's case was one of enteric, and yet he took no trouble to ascertain the conditions under which the disease might be spread, and he remained in total ignorance of the fact that Duffy was a dairyman, until on the 10th September the doctor at the barracks came to him and informed him that there were several eases of typhoid at the barracks, and they were inclined to attribute the existence of those cases to the milk which had been supplied from Duffy's establishment.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
I feel sure the difference of two days made no practical difference in the judgment we had to pass on Dr. Cullen's action in the matter. The only action Dr. Cullen took with regard to Duffy was that after he had seen Dr. Baird he gave verbal instructions that Duffy was no longer to distribute milk. On the 16th September, I think it was, Dr. Cullen went on his holiday, practically ignoring the very serious state of things existing. I do not lay so much stress upon that point as that Dublin had this very serious outbreak of typhoid fever, with something like 100 victims and twelve or thirteen deaths, and I believe the evidence very strongly supports the view that it was Dr. Cullen's neglect which led to the outbreak. The point the Local Government Board had to decide was whether this serious carelessness on the part of Dr. Cullen was such as to merit dismissal.
§ MR. HARRINGTON
Surely the right hon. Gentleman is overlooking the fact that those 100 cases were never intimated to Dr. Cullen. They were attended by Dr. Baird at the barracks and concealed from Dr. Cullen, and now he is attacked for something he did not know.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
I am not prepared to admit that. What I said was that Dr. Cullen's carelessness caused this serious outbreak and led to this loss of life. Other medical officers may have been equally guilty of carelessness, though their carelessness has not led to such serious results. It is a similar case to that, for instance, of a master of a ship at sea. The master may commit errors of navigation or be guilty of carelessness on twenty occasions without any harm being done; the twenty-first time he may run on the rocks, and then he has to suffer the penalty for his negligence. These serious results having been produced it was absolutely necessary to take serious notice of the matter and to make an example. I do not pretend to say that in consequence Dr. Cullen should be refused employment by any local authority in Ireland. I say that his carelessness was of such a nature as to merit the very serious notice we felt bound to take of it. The hon. Member now tries to throw the blame upon the medical authorities at the constabulary barracks.
§ MR. HARRINGTON
We differ entirely as to how the responsibilty arises. My point is that if the authorities at the constabulary depot had informed Dr. Cullen, as they were bound by law to do, in the month of August that there was fever in the depot, he would have traced the source of the fever, he would have known the man who was supplying the milk, and have been able to stop the epidemic. But he was not notified. I can prove that a report from Dr. Cullen
§ notifying seven cases of fever was in Dr. Flynn's hands before Dr. Cullen went on his vacation.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
Even so, it does not seem to me to exonerate Dr. Cullen. I am sorry that, in order to shield Dr. Cullen, the hon. Member seems to have thought it necessary to throw blame on someone else. Whether others were blameless or not, the fact remains that this outbreak was largely due to the negligence of Dr. Cullen, and that that negligence was one for which Dr. Cullen should suffer. I regret very much that I should have had to come to this conclusion, but it does not, in my judgment, necessarily imply that Dr. Cullen might not under proper circumstances be employed in other places.
§ MR. HARRINGTON
The right hon. Gentleman has not in any way justified the manner in which the board by whom Dr. Cullen was employed have been treated. Before any evidence was placed before them, before they had any opportunity of judging whether or not the conduct of their officer justified such a course, Dr. Cullen was compelled to tender his resignation.
§ MR. HARRINGTON
But there was no information given to the board of guardians, the authority by whom Dr. Cullen was appointed.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 83; Noes, 129. (Division List No. 136.)1217
|Abraham, William(Cork, N. E.)||Burns, John||Crean, Eugene|
|Ambrose, Robert||Burt, Thomas||Crilly, Daniel|
|Austin, M (Limerick, W.)||Caldwell, James||Curran, Thomas B. (Donegal)|
|Billson, Alfred||Channing, Francis Allston||Daly, James|
|Blake, Edward||Clancy, John Joseph||Dillon, John|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Clark, Dr. G. B.||Doogan P. C.|
|Brigg, John||Colville, John||Duckworth, James|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Commins, Andrew||Engledew, Charles John|
|Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)||Kilbride, Denis||Randell, David|
|Fenwick, Charles||Lambert, George||Redmond, John E.(Waterford)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Macaleese, Daniel||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Field, William (Dublin)||MacDonnell, Dr. M. A. (Qn.'s Co.)||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Flynn, James Christopher||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Fox, Dr. Joseph Francis||M'Cartan, Michael||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Gibney, James||M'Dermott, Patrick||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Gillhooly James||M'Ghee, Richard||Souttar, Robinson|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hon. H. J.||M'Hugh, Patrick A. (Leitrim)||Steadman, William Charles|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Moore, Arthur (Londonderry)||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Haldane, Richard Burdon||Morris, Samuel||Sullivan, T. D. (Donegal, W.)|
|Hammond, John (Carlow)||Morton, Edw. J. C.(Devonport)||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Harrington, Timothy||Murnaghan, George||Thomas, David Alf. (Merthyr)|
|Hayden, John Patrick||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Healy, Maurice (Cork)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Healy, Thomas J. (Wexford)||O'Dowd, John|
|Healy, Timothy M. (N. Louth)||O'Malley, William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H.||Parnell, John Howard||Captain Donelan and Mr.|
|Hogan, James Francis||Pickard, Benjamin||Patrick O'Brien.|
|Horniman, Frederick John||Pinkerton, John|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Allhusen, Augustus Henry E.||Galloway, William Johnson||Monekton, Edward Philip|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Gibbons, J. Lloyd||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Giles, Charles Tyrrell||More, Robert J. (Shropshire)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Goldsworthy, Major-General||Morrell, George Herbert|
|Balcarres, Lord||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r)||Gorst, Rt. Hon- Sir John Eldon||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. Gerald W. (Leeds)||Goschen, Rt. Hn. G. J. (St. George's)||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Goulding Edward Alfred||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H.(Bristol)||Green, W. D. (Wednesbury)|
|Beckett Ernest William||Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury)||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Gull, Sir Cameron||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Plunkett, Rt. Hon. Horace C.|
|Brassey Albert||Hamilton Rt. Hn. Lord George||Pryce-Jones Lt. -Col. Edward|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.|
|Butcher, John George||Heath, James||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|Campbell J H M (Dublin)||Helder, Augustus||Rentoul, James Alexander|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Henderson, Alexander||Richardson, Sir T. (Hartlep'l)|
|Cavendish', V. C. W. (Derbysh.)||Hoare, Edw. B. (Hampstead)||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Chas. T.|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Houston, R. P.||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J.(Birm.)||Jebb, Richard Claverhouse||Round James|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Kenyon James||Sandon, Viscount|
|Colomb, Sir John Charles R.||Kenyon-Slaney Col. William||Saunderson, Rt. Hon. Col. E. J.|
|Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth)||Keswick William||Seely, Charles Hilton|
|Corbett, A. Cameron(Glasg'w)||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)|
|Cotton-Jodrell, Col. E. T. D.||Knowles, Lees||Sidebottom, W. (Derbyshire)|
|Cox, Irwin Edw. Bainbridge||Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Lafone, Alfred||Smith, J. Parker (Lanarks.)|
|Curzon, Viscount||Lawrence, Sir E. Durning-(Corn)||Stock, James Henry|
|Lawrence, W. F. (Liverpool)|
|Denny, Colonel||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Lea, Sir T. (Londonderry)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Dorington, Sir John Edward||Lecky, Rt. Hon. William E. H.||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Leigh-Bennett, H Currie|
|Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Welby, Sir Chas. G. E. (Notts.)|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverpool)||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-|
|Lopes H. Yarde Buller||Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd|
|Faber, George Denison||Lowe, Francis William||Whiteley, H.(Ashton-under-L.)|
|Fellowes, Hn. Ailwyn Edward||Wilson, J.W. (Worcestersh. N.)|
|Finch, George H.||Macartney, W. G. Ellison.||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R.(Bath)|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Macdona, John Cumming||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Firbank, Joseph Thomas||Maclure, Sir John William|
|Fisher, William Hayes||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose-||M'Calmont, Col. J.(Antrim, E.)|
|Fletcher, Sir Henry||M'Killop, James||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Forster, Henry William||Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F.||Sir William Walrond and|
|Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)||Mr. Anstruther.|
Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ It being after Midnight, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.
§ Resolution to be reported to-morrow; Committee to sit again, to-morrow.