§ 1. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £40,182, be granted to His 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, 1902, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Local Government Board in Ireland."
SIR THOMAS ESMONDS (Wexford, N.)
said he had on the Paper a notice of motion with regard to this Vote, but he did not intend to move it, because he thought it would be more convenient to the Committee and his colleagues to take that course, in order that they might have an opportunity of discussing various other matters under this head. It was now more than twelve months since they discussed the administration of the Local Government Act in Ireland, and since that time they had had additional experience of the Act and its administration. One result of that experience had been to confirm the opinion which many of them held, that the Local Government Act was not the great blessing in disguise which it was supposed to be. They had also discovered that the drafting of the Act was not all that it ought to be, and it had proved to be a very complicated and obscure measure. They were now beginning to understand how the Act was to be worked, and they were now realising in how many directions the Act required to be amended. One of his complaints against the Local Government Act was that it entailed too many sacrifices and the spending of too much time on the part of those engaged in administering the Act. He would give the Committee an instance of how the work of the Local Government Act affected the council with which he happened to be connected—namely, the county council of Wexford. It was 84 much better for them to come down to concrete cases, in order to make their views more thoroughly understood. The Local Government Act in the county of Wexford had made an extraordinary demand upon the leisure time of members of that council. Last year in Wexford they had sixteen county council meetings, nineteen finance committee meetings, and seventeen meetings of other committees. That made a total of fifty-two meetings in connection with the county council of Wexford. English members who were responsible for the passing of the Local Government Act for Ireland thought they had done all they ought to do when they had imposed the Act upon Ireland, and they did not think it any part of their business, as the governors of Ireland, to attend in their places now. English members would be astounded to be told that members of the county council had to attend meetings of the council and its committees on fifty-two occasions in the twelve months. He thought they had in this matter a strong grievance, because it was owing to the way in which the Local Government Act was drafted that the county councils were obliged to meet so many times. In future there was a possibility of an increase in the number of meetings of the various county councils and committees, because since last year they had the Technical Instruction Act, which meant the calling of constant meetings of a number of committees for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of that measure. It came to this, that those members of county councils who lived by their own labour and industry in Ireland, were supposed to give up practically half a year to the local administration of the country and they had to do that for nothing at all. In the old days it took the grand juries eight days in the year to carry out the administration, but now that they had this magnificent system of local government they had to attend fifty-two days in the year. After all, the county councils were merely doing the work the grand juries were supposed to do. Now the county councils must be constantly in session. Many members of the county councils were ex officio members who had other public duties to attend to. If they were justices of the peace they were 85 bound to attend at the licensing sessions. Taking Ireland all round, the petty sessions met once a fortnight. Some of the county councillors were also district councillors or members of boards of guardians, and they had to attend the meetings of those bodies. The district councils or boards of guardians generally met once or twice a week, and the result was that, practically, gentlemen in Ireland who interested themselves in the administration of the local affairs of the country had to give half a year to the carrying on of the local work. That was an undue demand to make on the time of men who were not rich, and he thought that something ought really to be done towards endeavouring to simplify the administration of local affairs so as to remove this evil, which in his opinion was very great.
He considered that to some extent the Local Government Board was responsible for a great deal of this waste of time. There was an enormous amount of ridiculous correspondence with the Local Government Board in Dublin, which entailed additional work and necessitated the employment of extra clerks. Some of the letters received from the Local Government Board were extremely amusing. A letter dated 15th April, 1901, to the secretary of the county council of Wexford was as follows—With reference to the entry contained in the minutes of proceedings of the Wexford County Council on the 11th ultimo relative to the payment of poundage fees to collectors, I am directed by the Local Government Board for Ireland to request that they may be furnished with a return as to the state of the collection for the half-year ended September, 1900, on the 22nd October, the 19th November, and the 4th December last.There was no such entry in the minutes of the county council; in fact there was no such meeting of the county council held. There was no earthly object in writing that letter. On this point he would like the Chief Secretary to state whether the Local Government Board had the right to ask county councils to furnish copies of the minutes of their proceedings. There was no clause in the Local Government Act authorising the Board to make such a request. This was one of the ways in which the time of the county councils was wasted, and it was also a means of increasing the expense 86 of the local administration. The hon. Member quoted specimens of the correspondence received from the Local Government Board, in order to show that unnecessary demands were made on the time of county councillors. At a recent meeting of the Gorey Union the report of Dr. Flynn, medical inspector of the Local Government Board, was submitted. It contained the following with reference to the Coolgreany district—The medical officer, at the date of my inspection, had ordered medicines a fortnight previously: they had not then arrived. The contractors should execute orders with greater despatch, as inconvenience must arise in a dispensary district if medicines are not forwarded promptly when ordered.What was the answer to this? The clerk of the union, who was a competent and experienced man, stated that since the Local Government Board circular of 25th February, 1901, against which the guardians protested at the time, the contractors for medicines treated the guardians' order with contempt, and told them that they had their instructions from the Local Government Board, and that they intended to follow these instructions. The result was that the Local Government Board came down upon the guardians for disregarding one of the circulars of the Board. The hon. Member quoted another passage from the medical inspector's report, which stated that—A scale of fees under Article 23 of the dispensary rules has not been adopted. The guardians should take this matter into their early consideration.The answer of the guardians was that this scale of fees had been adopted and approved of by the Local Government Board by letter dated 3rd November, 1899. It was all very well to say that they had a grant-in-aid, and there was no necessity to be so uneasy about small increases of expenditure. They were also told that they ought not to grudge paying something for freedom. It was possible to pay for freedom or anything else a great deal more than it was necessary to pay. Local expenditure had been increased, and amongst the ratepayers from one end of the country to the other there was nothing but grumbling as to the way the public money was spent, and the small result derived from that expenditure. In Wexford the amount of the county expenditure within the standard 87 year was £13,504. That sounded a small figure, but they were dealing with a country where shillings represented what sovereigns did on this side of the water. Last year the county charges amounted to more than £27,757. That was sufficient to show that the local administration had become very expensive. In the standard year the amount spent on asylums was £4,900, and last year it was £14,253. In the matter of asylum expenditure the Irish county councils had absolutely nothing to say except to pay the bill. They had had to pay out the money of the ratepayers like water.
He now came to the question of salaries. In his own county the salaries amounted to £3,678, or an increase over the standard of £1,200. Surely there must be something wrong there. Again, the standard cost of the preparation of the voters' list was £560; last year it was nearly double—£1,048. The standard law charges amounted to £92; last year they were £516. That might be said to be directly due to a circular sent down by the Local Government Board, under which nearly all the officials in the county who wanted to get increased remuneration or compensation went to law with she county council—from inspectors of explosives down to attendants on lunatics. The result was that the county council had to pay all sorts of legal costs. The auditing of asylum accounts by the Local Government Board auditors was much too expensive. One asylum had been charged £30 for auditing their accounts, and when the committee demurred to the Local Government Board they were served with a sealed order requiring the payment to be made forthwith. No Department deserved more serious attention than that of the auditors of the Local Government Board. They got all sorts of fees and travelling expenses, besides a subvention from the Imperial Treasury. He thought that, when these auditors were subsidised by the Imperial Government, the county councils and district councils and asylum committees ought not to be called upon to pay them fees. Another question of which they had to complain was an Order recently issued by the Local Government Board relative to the employment of nurses in workhouses. One of the rules of that 88 Order was that temporary nurses in the workhouses should be paid such salaries as should be approved of by the Local Government Board. Surely that was a matter with which the guardians could themselves deal. Another rule was that the boards of guardians should appoint as many fully qualified nurses as the Local Government Board should direct. That rule was preposterous, although it might be conceded that in the case of an epidemic some trained nurses should be appointed. Resolutions had been adopted against the Order, and he trusted they would have the full consideration of the Chief Secretary and the Irish Government. There was the strongest reason to complain under the existing circumstances of the regulations made by the Local Government Board in regard to the appointment of assistant surveyors. There was a great deal more in this than appeared on the surface. The Local Government Board had laid down a scale of qualifications for these assistant surveyors in Ireland which were preposterous considering the state of education in Ireland. For instance, that scale provided that every person applying for such a position must either possess a diploma or degree in engineering from a university or college of science, or a certificate from His Majesty's Civil Service Commissioners that he was qualified under the Civil Service Act; or should be an associate member of the Institute of Civil Engineers of London, or an associate member of the Institute of Civil Engineers of Ireland, or of the Incorporated Association of Municipal and County Engineers. If he was an assistant surveyor on 1st April he must satisfy the Local Government Board that he was fully qualified for the discharge of the duties of his office. Now what were these conditions of the Local Government Board? That he must have served with a county surveyor or architect for two years, or that he must have been in attendance at an engineering school or some university for not less than one year, during which he must have been practically engaged in civil engineering or in building construction. Or he must pass examinations in English composition, arithmetic, mensuration, building construction, construction of 89 culverts and roads, and be an adept in chain surveying and levelling. In fact what was wanted was a trained civil engineer and surveyor, while the great majority of the people of Ireland who were likely to be candidates for the berth of assistant county surveyor would have no means of gaining these qualifications. It should be remembered that the salary of these assistant surveyors was only £80 a year, while their work was of the most elementary description—measuring, or removing stones on the road, seeing that the grass was not growing on the road, and that the water ran away from the roads. He contended that these regulations of the Local Government Board were an absolute absurdity.
He wished to call attention to the recent dispute between the Wexford County Council and the Local Government Board on the question of the salaries of the officials of the county council which had been ordered to be paid by the Local Government Board. There were debates in Parliament, and the result of the whole thing was that the Local Government Board reduced the salary of the county surveyor by £4. To anyone not accustomed to the condition of things in Ireland that would be simply astounding. Was it to be wondered at that the Irish people sympathised with all who rebelled against British administration, and could not one quite realise and understand the intensity of feeling which existed among the masses of the people against British rule? He wished to draw the attention of the Committee to a passage in the judgment of Chief Baron Palles, who tried a case in the Court of Appeal, to which he thought sufficient attention had not been given, and on which they ought, again and again, to ring the changes in order to show how British administration in Ireland was carried on. Chief Baron Palles said that the determination of the Local Government Board to fix the increased remuneration imposed a liability on the county council whether the amount was right or wrong, and that even if the Local Government Board had increased a salary by 50 per cent., whereas the work had only increased 20 per cent., the county council would be obliged to pay. Was it conceivable 90 that a law of that kind should be permitted to continue, or that such an extraordinary perversion of justice should not be rectified at the earliest possible moment? If it were an English Act, a Bill would be immediately introduced to amend it, and yet, although one of the ablest judges in Ireland described the law as he had stated, no action was taken. That was a monstrous position and ought to be remedied. The question in dispute was with a mere Irish county council, and of course the Local Government Board would not give in. They were determined to ride rough-shod over the council and to carry out their determination at all hazards. No doubt the Chief Secretary would explain in the course of the debate that the county council ought to have given evidence. It was made a great point against the council that they had brought forward no evidence, but the reason was that, in the first place, they were not responsible for the inquiry and repudiated it; and, in the second place, they held that the Local Government Board, being an interested party, was incapable of holding the inquiry. Therefore the council would not recognise it in any shape or form, although they agreed to leave the question to the arbitration of any impartial person. He himself was present at the inquiry, and listened very carefully to what went on, and he was perfectly satisfied that there would have been no use in producing any evidence whatever. What had happened showed that the county council had considerable warrant for the way in which they acted. It would be presumed that the Local Government Board would have some knowledge of the domestic history of the county. For instance, it was stated that the work of the county and deputy surveyors under the Grand Jury was utterly impossible to fulfil. Why, therefore, when they were told that the work was a physical impossibility, should an increase of salary be given for it? Again it was well known that the county surveyor had a free pass over the Irish railways, and he could not therefore understand why travelling expenses should have been claimed. The Local Government Board reversed their original decision, and reduced one salary by £4 and a few other salaries by £5 each. When that extraordinary 91 decision was made known the county council applied to the Local Government Board for the grounds on which it was arrived at, but the Local Government Board refused to give any reasons. Apparently they imagined that the matter did not affect the county council or the ratepayers, who had to pay the increased salary, and that the only persons interested were the Local Government Board themselves. The refusal of the Local Government Board to give the Wexford County Council any information was part of the whole system of the administration of the country, and was perfectly outrageous. The Irish Times, the leading paper supporting the Government in Ireland, referring to the refusal of the Local Government Board, said that there seemed to be no sufficient reason why the report of the inspector who carried out the local inquiry should not have been produced, and it added that the manner in which the question would be decided would largely determine the relations which would exist in future not merely between the Wexford County Council and the Local Government Board, but also between other county councils and the Board. The aim of the Local Government Board, added the Irish Times, should be to bring conviction to the minds of the members of the county council by explaining first of all their decision and then the principle they followed in calculating the amount of the increase in each case. If the Local Government Board, continued the Irish Times, would do that, it would do much towards gaining for them the confidence of the Irish county councils; but, on the other hand, if the full facts were not furnished, not only would the Wexford County Council be dissatisfied, but other county councils would also be affected. He would invite the Chief Secretary to reconsider the matter. If it were to be brought to an issue in a peaceful manner there must be common sense on both sides; there must be some endeavour to meet the feelings of the people on the part of the Local Government Board; and some explanation must be forthcoming as to the reasons on which that Board acted in increasing the salaries. The main objection of the Wexford County Council to the increase in the salaries was not that they were too high—although 92 they were too high—but that the action of the Local Government Board reduced the Local Government Act to a nullity by imposing liabilities on the taxpayers and treating the representatives of the people with absolute disregard. Had the Local Government Board really wished for a satisfactory conclusion, the matter could have been settled over and over again. It would have been settled when the predecessor of the right hon. Gentleman was in office if the Board had shown any common sense. He invited the Chief Secretary again to give the county council the reasons which led the Local Government Board to increase the salaries. He went further, and said that, if the grounds on which the Board acted were reasonable, he would do his best to induce the county council to take a reasonable view of the matter. He hoped the Chief Secretary would realise that the question was a very serious one. Even though the case was decided in the courts against the county council, it did not follow that the course pursued by the Board was desirable. For his part he was extremely anxious to find a solution of the difficulty, but the matter rested altogether with the Chief Secretary and the Local Government Board.
§ MR. SHEEHAN (Cork County, Mid)
said he had listened with the utmost attention to the eloquent and exhaustive speech of the hon. Baronet the Member for Wexford on the administration of the Local Government Act, with whose remarks he entirely concurred. He did not propose to follow on the same lines. There was another phase of the administration of the Local Government Board to which he would direct attention, especially as it affected the well-being, comfort, and better housing of a large protion of the Irish population. He referred to the manner in which the Labourers Acts were interpreted and administered, to the almost interminable delays which occurred, and to the generally unsatisfactory condition of their application. The duty was forced upon Irish members by their constituents every other day of bringing under the notice of this House instances of hardships and of the vagaries and absurdities of Local Government Board inspectors in the rejection of applications 93 for labourers' cottages. Any cause appeared to be good enough to deprive a poor labourer of his cottage.
In the case of the Cork Rural District Council they found the inspector advancing the luminous reason for throwing out whole batches of cottages that they were apparently not required. In other cases the equally solid and conclusive reason was advanced that the landlord objected, the tenant wanted the land for himself, and a host of other equally silly and absurd causes. It was a standing ground of complaint with the working men in Ireland that the Labourers Acts were not administered in a manner sympathetic to them, and as this was a question which seriously affected the material and moral progress of the country it was one which should engage the very best attention which the Government could bestow on it. He held if there was to be any respect for the administration of the Labourers Acts in Ireland, definite and conclusive reasons should be assigned in each case by the inspector, setting forth the points of evidence upon which he decided to reject cottages. This would be at least one step in the right direction, and he felt assured that if an Order to this effect were issued by the Local Government Board fewer cottages would be rejected, and the feeling of discontent which at present existed amongst the working men would be considerably lessened.
Schemes of cottages were often prepared with great difficulty and expense by rural district councils, they investigated every claim, and passed none which did not appear to them a just and reasonable one, and yet when these schemes were sent forward to the Local Government Board, when inquiries were held and the result sent down to the councils, after all the care and all the trouble that had been taken in communication with them, was it not a galling state of things that frequently more than one-half of the cottages originally applied for were rejected? Undoubtedly one of the great contributory causes to the depopulation of Ireland was the fact that the working classes were so badly housed. The Labourers Acts have been in operation for close upon twenty years, but it was a striking commentary upon the manner in which they had been administered 94 that thousands of labourers in Ireland still lived in wretched abodes, and that in no case, except perhaps in that of Macroom, in his own constituency, was the limit of taxation in respect to cottages—namely, 1s. in the £—reached. In this age of progress, and when the means of travelling to other countries were so moderate, people would not live in hovels in which the brute beasts would not be housed, and which were the fruitful breeding grounds of epidemics of the worst and most malevolent kind.
He now came to the question of delays—delays of the law and of the Local Government Board. Notwithstanding the replies of the Chief Secretary to questions of his on the subject, he contended that the Local Government Board were responsible for delays in the holding of inquiries into improvement schemes, and he had the admission of the right hon. Gentleman that three inspectors had to be appointed temporarily to cope with the work which the Custom House authorities in their carelessness allowed to accumulate. This, to his mind, was sufficient refutation of the assertion of the Chief Secretary that no delays occurred. He held, and he knew it of his own knowledge to be a fact, and he was certain if the Chief Secretary took the trouble to inquire he would find it to be so, that even, after all the preliminaries had been complied with, and all the necessary documents sent to the Local Government Board, a year often elapses before an inquiry was held. Then, if there were any appeals from the decision of the Local Government Board, they must go before the Privy Council, and more time was wasted. And, finally, before the order would be made absolute, a Local Government arbitrator must assess the compensation to be awarded to the landlord and tenant. Hence it not infrequently happened that from the time a rural district council adopted a resolution to execute an improvement scheme until that scheme was finally sanctioned by the Local Government Board a period of three years elapsed, which, if the laws were properly framed and applied, should not take six months altogether. Such were the law's delays, and such the absurd red-tapeism of the well-known circumlocution office in Dublin. Not only did this meaningless procedure involve 95 loss to the ratepayers, but it was also a great injustice to the labourers, who were kept for years waiting for cottages.
The next point in his criticism of the Local Government Board was the fact that the supervision exercised by their engineering inspectors over the erection of labourers' cottages was most inefficient and most unsatisfactory. Indeed, of their inspectors it might be said they came, they saw, and they reported. That appeared to be the beginning and the end of their work. The duty was cast upon them of seeing that the houses were properly built with the right materials, and the final instalment of the contract money could not be paid to the contractor until a certificate was given by the Local Government Board engineering inspector that the house was in every way built according to plan and specification. It was notorious that contracts had been frequently scamped, that the cottages had been jerry-built and put together anyhow, with the result that the occupants were in a constant state of revolt, rents were not paid, repairs had to be constantly made, the cottages were a disgrace, and the purpose and intention of the Labourers Acts were frustrated. Of course, it was not to be supposed that the engineers appointed by the rural district councils were to be absolved from all blame. He was free to admit that they were often incompetent, and selected without due reference to their qualifications, but, if this was so, why did the Local Government Board, which possessed a veto in the matter, sanction their appointment, and why did it not put down its foot and insist on the appointment of properly qualified engineers? Looked at from any point of view, he submitted that the Local Government Board was primarily responsible for the erection of badly-constructed houses, and that before the bar of public opinion they would be held guilty of gross neglect in this respect.
The most scandalous feature in connection with the administration of the Labourers Acts, the greatest defect in their provisions, was the manner in which they dealt with fishermen. He was not exaggerating when he said that there was no more deserving or industrious body of Irishmen than the fishermen off its 96 coasts. They reaped the harvest of the sea, they swept it with their nets, they braved its dangers, they had a most irksome and a most toilsome calling, yet would it be believed they did not come within the scope of the Labourers Acts; they could not become tenants of labourers' cottages unless they devoted a considerable portion of the year to agricultural work, and were paid for that work by actual wages. Could anything be more absurd or more unjust than this? He had before his mind at this moment the cases of a number of fishermen in the Skibbereen Union, who recently applied for labourers' cottages, but every one of whose applications were rejected because the Local Government Board inspector held that they did not spend a sufficient portion of the year at agricultural work, though they gave evidence that they worked occasionally for neighbouring farmers. All he could say of such conduct was that where Local Government Board inspectors thus interpreted the law, God help the poor fishermen.
He took occasion some months ago to visit a number of houses occupied by fishermen in south-west Cork, and he could not convey to this House by words the faintest idea of their wretchedness and squalidness. Many of them had only one compartment, which was kitchen, bedroom, and all; others had no proper division for the sexes, and young and old, male and female, lived and slept indiscriminately together, and this was doubtless a shocking picture, but it was painfully true, and what was more, it was a disgrace to the Government which did not seek to instantly remove it. He could honestly aver that in any single one of the fishermen's houses which he visited none of the gentlemen sitting on the opposite benches would even kennel a dog for which they entertained the slightest regard. That being so, he made an earnest appeal to the Chief Secretary to introduce legislation early in the next session which would bring fishermen by mere right of their avocation within the operations of the Labourers Acts; and not only did he make this appeal for fishermen, but extended it also for the rural tradesmen, and for every class of working men who were not at present 97 decently housed, and whose position and prospects would be improved, whose social status would be elevated were they provided with better dwellings and reasonable plots of land. The rural tradesman was a most important part of the economy of any district; he was necessary to the farming, fishing community, and he should be fixed and rooted on the soil. He hoped the Chief Secretary would not overlook their claims when an amendment of the Labourers Acts came to be considered.
He would now pass to the personnel of the inspectors. The Irish Government departments appeared to be repositories for all the half-pay officers of the Army, for Militia colonels—he believed they called them Saturday to Monday colonels in this country—and for at least one son of a well-known Orange member of Parliament for the north of Ireland, whom he did not see in his place at this moment. He maintained that it was ridiculous and absurd to expect that there could be proper administration of the Labourers Acts when gentlemen such as these were appointed as inspectors. What did they know about legal technicalities? Nothing whatever, and he was firmly convinced when any question of doubt arose their leanings were not on the side of the unfortunate labourer. A juster selection, and one more in accord with the views and opinions of the people, should be made than that at present favoured by the Government.
He wished in conclusion to say a few words on the question of appeals to the Privy Council. As the law at present stood, should any party feel dissatisfied with the result of the Local Government Board inquiry, they might appeal to the Privy Council, which would necessitate taking the whole union staff to Dublin, and would mean the addition of a considerable burden to the taxes borne by the ratepayers. A much simpler method in his opinion was, if there must be an appeal, let it be to the county court judge or the Land Sub-Commission, neither of which tribunals could be regarded as prejudiced on the labourers' side. He did not wish to occupy the time of the Committee further, but he expressed the hope that the Chief Secretary would seriously take into 98 consideration the advisability of reforming, where such was found to be necessary, the administration of the Labourers Acts.
§ MR. MOORE (Antrim, N.)
said he found himself a good deal in agreement with the hon. Member who had last spoken on this subject of the housing of the labouring classes, for it was a grievance which was felt in the north of Ireland as much as in the south. He thought, however, that a great deal depended upon the manner in which the rural sanitary authorities exercised their powers in respect to the houses inhabited by the working classes, some of which, for sanitary reasons alone, ought to be condemned. Whether they started under the Labourers Act or the Public Health Act, in order to begin at the root of the whole matter, they must first have the certificate of their sanitary officer. He thought sanitary officers might do a great deal more towards solving this problem. Who were those sanitary officers in Ireland? In almost every case they were the dispensary doctors. There were no more highly respectable men in Ireland than those doctors, for they knew the people well, and it was upon these men that they placed the duty of reporting insanitary property. They ought to remember that while this officer had to report instances of insanitary houses on the one hand, he was absolutely the servant of the rural council on the other hand. The rural council had to decide his pension, and they were his masters, and had the control of his superannuation. When a sanitary officer found himself in such a position in a small country district they all knew what influences were brought to bear. Until they took this duty off the shoulders of the dispensary doctors and appointed independent inspectors to deal with the housing of the working classes in Ireland, they would not be doing anything to get at the real difficulty in the administration of those Acts. Inquiries were held under the Labourers' Cottages Act in the various unions, but the present system of inquiry was very unsatisfactory. He had nothing whatever to say against the conduct of the Local Government Board inspectors at those inquiries. 99 Under the present system he did not think anything more could be done th n was being done. What they ought to do was to appoint independent inspectors to report directly to the Local Government Board, and then have the matter brought before the rural council in the ordinary way. In that way they would get out of the difficulty by degrees. If they would insist on enforcing the sanitary provisions of the Public Health Act, they would also be doing a great deal for the labourers, but until they took the burden off the shoulders of the dispensary doctors they would never get independent or impartial reports. He hoped that sooner or later they would have some inspectors appointed who would go through the country and find out for themselves what was really required.
§ MR. CULLINAN (Tipperary, S.)
said he could not agree with the argument of the hon. Member for North Antrim in regard to the work of the dispensary doctors. In the first place, the labourers and their friends prepared their application, and all the dispensary doctors had to do was to certify whether the cottage was in a sanitary condition. Consequently it was not true that the doctor in certifying a house was placing himself at the mercy of the local authority. The estimate of three years given by the hon. Member for Mid Cork for the passage of a scheme was not at all equal to his own experience, for he had known a period of four years and nine months elapse in the case of one scheme. He had seen the Local Government Board led away upon the smallest nonsensical idea on the part of the land owners. The inspectors were not in sympathy with the labourers or the farmers, and when they went into poor districts, composed largely of Nationalists, they pitched out the applications by the score. The delay in investigating cases was most appalling. There was a very large sum down in the Vote for salaries for the inspectors, and large amounts were also allowed them for travelling expenses, and the district councils also had to contribute to the expenses incurred by them. The constitution of the Local Government Board was most objectionable to the Irish people. Parliament gave them a Local Government 100 Act creating county and district councils, and then the harmonious working of the Act was hampered by the Local Government Board, which was out of sympathy altogether with the needs of the people of Ireland. They appointed a temporary Commissioner at a salary of £1,000 a year, and they made him the representative of the Grand Jury, which was hostile and antagonistic to every national sentiment in Ireland. In the year 1881 the Nationalists took over the control of the boards of guardians in Ireland. The Irish workhouses were then in a most wretched and miserable state; no ventilation, bad light, insufficient bed and bedding. The camps in South Africa could not be worse than the Irish workhouses were at that time. What had happened since? They set to work to improve that state of things. Now the workhouses were well ventilated, the light was good, and the inmates were getting proper food. And notwithstanding that all this had been done the Local Government Board were daily trying to force them to increase the accommodation and provision for the inmates simply in order to send up the rates. Take the years 1878 and 1898. In 1878 the population of Ireland was 5,282,246 whilst in 1898 the population was 4,576,181, or a decrease of 706,065. In the year 1878 the taxes amounted to £2,039,783, and in the year 1898 the total was £2,361,575, or an increase of £321,792. This result had taken place in face of the fact that a great decrease had taken place in the number of inmates in those institutions. In the year 1881 the population was 5,174,836, the Poor Law expenditure £965,128, while the number relieved was 589,849; in the year 1898 the population was 4,576,181, the Poor Law expenditure £981,333, and the number relieved fell to 525,104. So that in the year 1898, as compared with the year 1881, although the number of inmates relieved had been reduced by 64,745, the expenditure upon Poor Law institutions had increased by £16,205. That showed distinctly that it was not in relief to the poor that they were spending the money, but it was being spent in salaries and other expenses, which the Local Government Board were forcing upon the local boards 101 of guardians. He knew of one case where an item was surcharged, although the expenditure had been ordered at the very instance of the Local Government Board. The Local Government Board, by every possible means they could devise, were making such conditions in the qualifications for officers and officials as would debar Nationalists from getting those appointments. The securities they were insisting upon for rate collectors ware so high that this fact alone would deprive the poorer classes of the chance of ever getting such appointments, because they would not be able to give the security required. For years the Local Government Board in Ireland had been endeavouring to force additional officers upon the guardians, but he was glad to say that in most cases the boards of guardians had been equal to the occasion. It had been laid down that they must have specially trained nurses, and this seemed the thin end of the wedge which was aimed at a section of the community who had conferred the greatest benefit upon the people of Ireland—he alluded to the nuns. An attempt had been made to compel the guardians to disqualify those nurses unless they went through a course of training, but it would be a very unpleasant thing indeed to put any other nurses over the heads of those now in the institutions on account of this new faddist idea. They knew what class of nurses the Local Government Board would send down. He saw on the Paper that morning a question with, regard to the high sheriff of some county having gone with a sledge hammer and broken into the office of the secretary of the county council. That was a matter which demanded explanation, and he hoped the Chief Secretary would give an assurance that such conduct would not he tolerated. He called attention to the fact that a new system of county council book-keeping had been introduced by the officials of the Local Government Board in Dublin. It appeared to him that the system was very complicated. One of the auditors when asked what should be put in a certain column could not tell. This new system would necessitate the employment of four or six times the present staff. Besides being unworkable and extravagant the system would cause terrible worry to the officials. 102 There were five times the number of books now as compared with the old system. It was an extraordinary fact that the Local Government Board gentleman who devised this system of keeping the accounts had actually sent out a circular to the county and district councils recommending the books which were to be got from a certain printing firm in Dublin. Irishmen were not very suspicious in some things, but it looked very like as if there was a little bit of commission in a transaction of this kind.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)
said he would undertake to demonstrate to the Chief Secretary that the Order of the Local Government Board with regard to the examination of assistant surveyors as prescribed in a very elaborate code had now become ultra vires and illegal. Under the Act of 1837 an assistant county surveyor was to receive £70 a year, and it could not be raised by any means. In 1864 or 1865 an amending Act was passed raising the salary to £80 a year, and that amount for all future appointments was to be the maximum. He quoted the Local Government Board Report of 1890 to show the construction which the Board had put upon the Local Government Act, and that it was upon the basis of their construction—a construction which had been nullified by the Court of Appeal in Ireland—that they had prescribed these examinations. The hon. Member pointed out that one of the paragraphs in the Report prescribed the qualifications for candidates who, on obtaining appointments, were to begin at a minimum of £120 a year, and who, according to his construction, might go up to a maximum of £250 a year. It might be a very reasonable thing that a man who might get a salary of £250 a year should know mensuration, trigonometry, French, German, and the classics, although he did not think such qualifications were required in connection with the mending of roads. But no salary in any future appointment could be more than the maximum prescribed by the Acts of 1837 and 1864, and therefore all this about scale and the men having a maximum and minimum salary, according to the size of their divisions, had been done away with. With regard to existing 103 officers, no examination could be prescribed because they were already in office, and therefore French, German, mensuration, and trigonometry did not apply to them. The examination code could only be applied to new men. Was it not an absurdity to say that some of these unfortunate men should be acquainted with the subjects mentioned in the code? Some of them, he knew, were decent, honest, respectable tradesmen. He knew one who was a carpenter, and a very good carpenter, but to suggest that that man should know mensuration and trigonometry was an absurdity. Therefore, if the Local Government Board had had any reasonable regard for the decision of the law courts, they would have withdrawn this absurd qualification examination as a necessary corollary of their defeat by the Wexford County Council.
A great deal of mischief had arisen in the working of the Local Government Act from the appointment of Mr. Bagnell, and he wished to ask the Government as to his retention in office. He strongly protested against Mr. Morris being retired. That gentleman offered an additional term of service of two or three years—in other words, they suggested that he should take the burden of seeing in motion this new system. He would thereby have got an addition of two or three years salary, and he would have got all the dirty work and none of the reasonable honour and glory after the Act had been started. The appointment of Mr. Bagnell was made to placate the House of Lords. The Act was passed by the House of Lords with a private understanding with the Irish landlords that some strong, offensive gentleman should be appointed, and accordingly they picked out the most offensive member of the Grand Jury who could be found. Mr. Bagnell had not been that success which they were led to believe. He began his career of office by declaring that the Local Government Act was the worst-drafted Act that had ever been passed. If the Government had had one spark of spunk in regard to the measure on which they spent their nights and days they would have kicked him out of office without any more ceremony than they would kick out a hall porter. He was 104 retained in office with the usual caution, because he had strong friends in the Ministry, and, of course, his expulsion would only have given offence to that body. He understood Mr. Bagnell was only appointed for three years. [An HON. MEMBER: Five years.] Well, worse luck. If he had been appointed for five years they might expect some hundreds and thousands of pounds more on the Irish rates. The zeal of these people for the poor of Ireland synchronised exactly with the moment when the landlords were relieved. They had shown great zeal for lunatics. It was a mistake for any man to be sane in Ireland. So long as a man was a poor labourer in Ireland he was allowed to dwell in an insanitary house, and his family might have typhoid fever, but let him become insane and he was lodged in a palace at once. He got electric light and four meals a day, and port wine, and he had a magnificent garden to roam in, and 300 inspectors to come and feel his pulse. It was really not wonderful that lunacy was on the increase in Ireland.
The same thing might be said of the whole system of administration. What he complained of strongly was that, in a little country of small people—the average valuation was something like £10 or £15—every penny was not scrutinised by the Local Government Board. When one heard these inspectors talk, it was "Only another 1d. or 2d. in the pound"; or "It will only cost you 2s. 6d. to bring this man in or send out that man." It was perfectly scandalous that the Local Government Board should insist on the appointment of a single extra man when their sole aim and object ought to be the relief of the people. He sympathised to some extent with some of the increases in this Vote, if it were the fact that the increase of inspectors was necessary for quickening up the administration of the Labourers Act. But he would like to ask what hope there was for a country the whole of the local administration of which was in the hands of people who were alien in sympathy with the people for whose wants they were supposed to provide? How could it be expected that Dives would sympathise with Lazarus? He did not do it 2,000 years ago, and would not do so 105 to-day. If the Government took some of the people who were appointed as National schoolmasters and appointed them as Local Government officers; if they appointed a man in a frieze coat to the post of Local Government Inspector, they would find he would look more into things, and his services would be much appreciated by the Local Government Board. He admitted there was an enormous difficulty, but he had come to the conclusion that the whole system of audit, inspection, and centralised government was not worth paying for. It was too costly. It probably saved the rates 1s. and cost 2s. 6d. He demonstrated some years ago that the cost of lending £1 to a farmer was £3, and to-day he believed that with this huge army of inspectors and this system of quasi-foreigners going about and worrying the people for the sake of 21s. 4d. in the £ was too costly. It would be better to wink at a little jobbery—there is jobbery in every country, and would be to the end of the world—and he thought that, as a tradesman writes off a certain amount of bad debts every year, they might write off a little for jobbery, and as the administration cost 10 per cent., they would probably save 7¼.
The system of administration was top-heavy and unsuitable for a small country, and ought to be abolished. It would take Sir Isaac Newton or some other great mathematical mind to understand the books of the Local Government Board. Was it any wonder that they were all copyright, and that the copyright was held by the Local Government Board Inspectors? In Cork there were sixty clerks to do the work of the office, which under the grand jury was done by two, and there were millions of entries where formerly there were half a dozen. He saw a statement from Armagh which said they would have to build new local offices, because they had no room for their clerks. How was it the grand jury were able to do their work with a secretary and assistant secretary? Having initiated this appaling system of administration, the Government make it a ground for increasing the salaries. At page ten of the Report it said—In estimating the amount of extra work imposed on existing officers transferred to the 106 county council it is necessary for us to examine each separate office, and ascertain the extent and the nature of the duties connected with it.Could not they have left it alone and left the clerks to make their own calculations? In the case of secretaries, it is only necessary to have some knowledge of the conplicated provisions of the Local Government Act." Why are they complicated? The Irish representatives protested against the complications, but their protests were ignored, and the cost was to be put on the taxpayers of Ireland. Then—Orders of Council made thereunder, and to understand the amount, variety, and intricacies of the new duties devolving on the officers.What are the new duties? Suppose they took a road—it was the same old road, requiring the same amount of gravel and sand, and the rain of heaven descended upon it in the same way year after year. Then why was he to pay increased rates because the Local Government Board secretary kept his entries in five volumes when he previously made five entries, "and the work involved but increased meetings of the county council"? The Grand Juries met twice a year, and they were able to cope with all the work. Now the county councils must meet thirty times. Fancy a county surveyor in Ireland getting an increase of £200 a year on his salary for attending the meetings of the county council and listening to the oratory and the resolutions passed by that body. He was not to talk, only to listen. That was one sub-head. Another sub-head was increased correspondence. Why should there be an increase in the correspondence? There ought to be no correspondence. There was no correspondence between the grand juries and the Local Government Board, and why should the councils communicate with them? There was no reason under the sun that he could possibly imagine. "Increase of work in respect to finance." What increase was there, except the keeping of these copyright books which had been prescribed? All they wanted, and what the Government denied in regard to this Local Government Board, was an Act providing for an elective body, to take the place of the grand juries, and the handing over of the 107 powers of the grand juries to those elective bodies. What he complained of was that the extra sums they had to pay were not the result of local administration, but of a state of things imposed upon the country by the Local Government Board.
The last question was as to the collection of the poor rate. That had to be collected in the past as it had now. And he could find no ground whatever for the huge system of additions to salaries all along the line. One word with regard to what the hon. Baronet had said as to the action of the Local Government Board in evading the course of the law, as he understood the Court of Appeal in Ireland decided that this increase of £200 a year on the salary of this local agent was an illegal increase. That decision was made public, and he thought it was rather indecent of the Local Government Board to take off the sum of £4, and give no reason for their action. They fixed the salary at £196. The right hon. Gentleman was the head of local government in Ireland, but he did not know to what extent he was responsible, and it would be rather hard to hold him responsible for everything done by the Local Government Board. But he thought in regard to a case which has been made the subject of two Parliamentary Papers, to do a thing of this kind was an evasion of the law. The hon. Baronet had made a suggestion of a compromise, which the right hon. Gentleman had accepted with thankfulness in the case of Dr. Cullen, whom the Local Government Board insisted on dismissing for an offence he did not commit. After two years wrangling the right hon. Gentleman had said he would fine him a year's salary for the offence he did not commit and reinstate him. He congratulated the right hon. Gentleman on having arrived at a reasonable solution of that difficulty. Let him apply the same spirit of compromise to this question of salaries, which had engaged so much attention and aroused so much hostility. Everybody knew that these officials in Ireland were appointed by the landlords, and being friends and protégés of the landlords the salaries would be disposed to be fairly comfortable and reasonable. Why, then, should the Local Government 108 Board increase them by £200, £300, and £400 all over the country? Those who had to pay these enormously increased salaries were people who were living on potatoes and salt, and who saw their sons and daughters exiled to England and America in order to earn small wages. Was it not enough to make the blood of the people boil? He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would turn his attention to bring some persuasion on the Local Government Board, of which, after all, he was chairman, to reform all these matters.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. WYNDHAM, Dover)
The hon. Baronet the Member for North Wexford and the hon. and learned Member who has just spoken have complained generally of the additional cost to the Irish ratepayers which has been incurred since the passing of the Local Government Act of 1898, and of the additional work which has been thrown on the local government bodies. One would have supposed that the similar Act passed for England had not also entailed a greater amount of work on the English county authorities, but I am sure that the chairmen of the quarter sessions and county councils in England could show that their work was a great deal harder now than before, and that the costs had also vastly increased. Then the hon. Member said that the correspondence had increased. Now, if the hon. Member only referred to the number of questions which I have had to answer in regard to labourers' cottages alone, he would be able to judge of the number of letters which reached the Local Government Board on the subject of Irish local government, and the number of replies that had to be made to them. The blame does not rest wholly on the Local Government Board, for if schemes have to be devised for three or four years before a solution can be reached under the Act, there must be an enormous amount of correspondence. I have a great deal of sympathy with hon. members as to unnecessary inspections, but I do not know where a remedy is to be found. The hon. Member said that Ireland was over-inspected. That must strike everyone who has visited Ireland. I have heard of a gentleman who visited 109 the congested districts—one of the poorest parts of Ireland—where he dined on successive evenings with the poor law inspector, then with the fisheries inspector, next with the public health inspector, and on yet another evening with the lunacy inspector—and then he left the digested district! Whose fault is it? [An IRISH MEMBER: Yours.] Anyone who listened to the debate this afternoon or to the questions asked must have seen that Member after Member asked for more inspectors. Now if those little tiny points are to be determined with regard to the absolute justice and equity of the case it can only be done by men of education and experience. An hon. Member said that they could get a man to do it at £1 a week, and that he would give satisfaction to the people of Ireland. That is a very sanguine view. My experience is that nobody would give satisfaction to the people of Ireland, at the foot of the ranges of hills in the West, who have some grievance to investigate, who want more labourers' cottages, or that existing cottages are in the wrong place, except a man in whom they had confidence; and I maintain that they have confidence in gentlemen of good education, not connected with the locality, and who are not likely to be employed mainly by their neighbours. The hon. Gentleman abused some of the gentlemen who have been employed as inspectors—one especially, a major. I have, however, found that officers of the British Army have often furnished the most useful administrators in the State.
The hon. and learned Member for North Louth made a good deal of fun as to the distribution of patronage in Ireland. But the applications for posts are sufficiently amusing. The other week I had an application in the following terms—Sir,—As it was on the 2nd February our beloved Queen was interred, I venture to ask in her name a post for my husband.The Committee must not suppose that a ready ear is lent to appeals of that character. The hon. Member made an unwarrantable attack on one of my colleagues on the Local Government Board, not, of course, on personal grounds, but because he was in sympathy with the old grand jury system, and that 110 therefore he ought not to have been put on the new Local Government Board. But that gentleman had been deliberately put on the new Board because he had knowledge of the old system. He was on the Board not as an arbiter, but as an assessor—a man who bad been distinguished for the great attention he had given to, and had ably expounded, the old grand jury system. The hon. Member seemed to think that it had been this gentleman who had urged what he called the extravagant expenditure insisted upon by the Local Government Board. But that is not so. As a matter of fact the old grand jury system was old-fashioned in its love for economy, and in some cases that love had pushed economy too far. As the representative of the old grand jury system the gentleman was a rigid economist, and it was not to him but to other gentlemen on the Local Government Board that extravagance, if extravagance there has been, was to be attributed. But is it fair to take the expenditure of the year 1878 or 1879 and compare it with that of last year, under an entirely different system, and complain of extravagance?
§ MR. FLAVIN (Kerry, N.)
asked if the right hon. Gentleman was aware that it was this same gentleman who had compelled the Kerry County Council to pay their officials £400 a year more than under the old grand jury system.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
That was the result of the Act passed by this House. I cannot follow the hon. and learned Member for North Louth as to the sliding scale of salaries for the county surveyors; but I imagine he referred to the scale of salaries on the mileage system. From that he went to accuse the Local Government Board for prescribing an absurd system of examinations for new candidates for assistant surveyorships, and for existing officers. There is no relation between the two. But the Local Government Board has, according to the Act, to give its approval to any appointment made by the county council.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
said that his point was this. Was such a system of examination commensurate with such a small salary as £80 which was attached to these offices?
§ MR. WYNDHAM
The Local Government Board are under the Act bound to approve of any such appointment, and they cannot give such approval without taking some steps to test the man's ability.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
said that the right hon. Gentleman forgot that one of his arguments was that when they fixed these examinations the salary was to range from £120 to £150 a year; but that it had now been decided the salary should be £80 a year. Why should a man getting only £80 a year be compelled to pass in mensuration and trigonometry?
§ MR. WYNDHAM
Of course it is desirable to get the best man for the money. I am ready to admit that, in my opinion, the sole responsibility for making these appointments must rest with the county councils, and not with the Local Government Board, subject, however, to the approval of the Local Government Board. It must be remembered that by law the county councils are prohibited from paying the assistant surveyors more than £80 a year. I concede that I do not think that it is the duty of the Local Government Board in this respect to do the work of the county councils, and I believe that there would be no difficulty in regard to future appointments. As to the, increase of the rates referred to by the hon. Baronet, the additional cost is not so great as the hon. Baronet had alleged. For the standard year the poor rate and county cess amounted to £1,533,124 after deducting the agricultural grant; in 1900 the net rates were £1,533,836; in 1901 the exact rates were £1,627,003; and in 1902 the estimated total was £1,587,598, so that the slight increase in 1901 was being wiped out, and they were going back to the standard figures. Some complaint had been made of the complication of accounts which had been imposed by the Local Government Act. I can assure hon. members that the Local Government Board have done their best to arrive at the simplest form of accounts by which they can carry out the objects of the Act; but if hon. members who are members of county councils can make any suggestion for a simpler form of accounts I shall be glad to consider it favourably.
§ SIR THOMAS ESMONDE
asked if the right hon. Gentleman would not appoint a small committee to investigate the matter, and suggest a simpler form of accounts.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
As the hon. Baronet is a capable member of a county council, I shall be very glad to accept any suggestion from him which will not end in a failure in carrying out the provisions of the Act—which ought, of course, to be carried out in the simplest and cheapest way. It had been said that the Local Government Board was increasing the expenses by sending round inspectors to urge the councils to employ more hands in getting out the rates. Some hon. members did not realise the work which necessarily had fallen on the county council, but which had been done before by a number of other bodies. The Local Government Board auditors reported on the progress of the accounts, and if they found that the work was not being done, and that the staff was insufficient, or not up to their work, that fact was reported to the Local Government Board, which informed the county council thereof, but never attempted to use compulsion as to employing more hands on the staff. Under the old system the preparation of the poor rates in a county containing, say, eight poor law unions, occupied four or five men in each union in order to get the rate ready in time. The county cess appointments perhaps necessitated some eight or ten more, so that some forty people were employed under the old system in striking the rates. Some of these councils complained that the Local Government Board inspector had advised them to employ, say, a dozen extra clerks in addition to the two assistants which the county council secretary had. Why, in the county of Mayo it had taken forty to fifty clerks three months of hard work to put its affairs in order. I do not complain that, when certain duties had been shifted from other bodies to the county council, there should have been mistakes, and it is only natural that some disappointment should have been created in regard to the cost of the administrative work of the county council. As to the sending of the minutes of the proceedings of the local bodies to the Local Government Board, it was quite natural that 113 that should be done, in order to avoid a great deal of correspondence; but there is no compulsion. It helps in many cases when disputes arise, and enables the local authorities to work harmoniously with the central body.
AN IRISH MEMBER
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Local Government Board sent a severe reprimand to a county council for not having sent in a copy of the minutes?
§ MR. WYNDHAM
As I have said, there is no order or compulsion to do so, but it was for the convenience of both parties. The hon. Baronet made a complaint based upon the expense of auditing asylum accounts. Such complaints ought to be brought against the Acts passed by this House and not against the Local Government Board. The cost now falls on the local government bodies which was formerly paid by the Treasury, but that is part and parcel of the bargain made for local government, and forms part of the grant-in-aid. A great deal has been said about the increase of salaries to the officers of the county council. The county surveyors and assistant surveyors are, according to the Act, to be given an extra salary for any increase of work imposed upon them. It is a statutory obligation that the existing officers were to have continuous employment at their old emoluments, but that if their duties are increased their emoluments are to be increased, and that the amount of that increase shall be determined by the Local Government Board, and by no one else; and that if these officers elect to retire there shall be pensions granted to them calculated at the Civil Service rates. The hon. Baronet approached this question in a very reasonable spirit, and seemed anxious to bring it to a conclusion; but he suggested no means by which the Local Government Board could divest themselves of the duties placed upon them by the Act. The Local Government Board are bound to give the increase if they believe that there is an increase of work. The hon. Baronet seemed to say that the Local Government Board should have taken into account the integrity of the officers in the discharge of their duty; but all that they can gather from the result of the appeal to the courts is that 114 they are not to take that into account. The hon. Baronet was aware that a Provisional Order had already been passed which enabled the duties of these officers to be reduced—[An IRISH MEMBER: And increased also]—and that instead of attending four meetings they need only attend two. Although my interpretation of an Act of Parliament has no authority, I should hold that if such a reduction took place it would then be competent to the Local Government Board to reduce the salary again, because the diminution of work would be "by and in pursuance of this Act." This only ought to be added, that if they reduce the amount of work which the officer executed below that which he had done before, then they would have to give him a lump sum in compensation for the amount of work which had been abolished. I do not think that there should be any great difficulty in arriving at a solution of the matter, and I believe that under the law as amended by the Provisional Order Bill substantial justice can be done to all the parties. No Act of the kind has ever been passed without the introduction of such a provision. The salaries of the old officials had to be safeguarded; it did not matter whether they worked hard or not, and the only means by which the old salaries could be kept safe was by the introduction of such a provision into the Act. But the Act still leaves room to pursue a more economical course.
The hon. Baronet went on to deal with the nursing Order. I do not know whether the Committee is aware of it, but in some parts of Ireland, not from inhumanity, but from a want of a knowledge of recent developments in nursing, great hardship has been inflicted on the sick poor. The Local Government Board found themselves face to face with this position, that in some parts of Ireland the sick poor were really abominably treated. There were cases in which fractures of the thigh and bed sores remained undiscovered; there was another case in which forty-four persons, including thirty lunatics, were looked after by one woman, who was not a properly trained nurse. We are bound to give the sick poor proper attention. Who is responsible in Ireland for seeing that that is done? In the last resort, the 115 Local Government Board. There is not a shadow of a doubt about it. Under Act of Parliament the Local Government Board are the direct successors of the old Poor Law Commissioners, and are vested with the duty of seeing that the sick poor are properly attended to. If a board of guardians failed to give proper attention in the matter, undoubtedly the Poor Law Commissioners had power to intervene, and that power is now vested in the Local Government Board. It is not a sound policy to be always dissolving popularly-elected boards, and when a much less drastic course would meet the object in view, that less drastic course ought to be adopted. We endeavoured to adopt it in an Order issued on 4th February of this year. In that Order we asserted the right inherent in us under the Act of 1872, and earlier Acts, to declare that certain qualifications were needed in the persons appointed to look after the nursing of the sick poor—that the nurse should have served a certain time in a regular hospital, that there should be a qualified assistant to the nurse, and that the pauper inmates should not be used for nursing the aged and sick. These were all reasonable proposals which it was our duty to make and to enforce if need be. When that Order was brought out it was challenged, and I admit that it was too widely drawn. Whereas our whole purpose was confined to seeing that the sick poor were properly nursed, the Order was so drawn as to possibly indicate interference with other officers. But it was never so intended for one moment. Although we are so often criticised I was not surprised to find that that Order was hailed with a great deal of approval in many parts of Ireland—in many places where the Local Government Board rarely received any support. That Order was referred to the Privy Council and the Privy Council quashed it on the ground that it went too far, and it was enjoined on the Local Government Board to bring up another general Order which should be obviously and directly confined to nursing and nothing else. We were advised by all parties in Ireland to take that course. We took it, and issued another Order on 5th July, not at all in a peremptory or arrogant spirit, and on 26th July we followed it up with 116 a circular, to which no exception could possibly be taken, explaining why it had been necessary to discipline to take that course. The circular concluded with the two following paragraphs—The object of the Board in issuing this Order is mainly for the purpose of enabling most desirable and necessary improvements to be made in the nursing staffs of workhouse infirmaries and hospitals, and the Local Government Board hope that each board of guardians will take this opportunity of very carefully considering, in consultation with their medical officer, the arrangements for the treatment, nursing, and attendance in the sick, lying-in, and infant wards of their workhouse. The Board suggests the guardians should ask their medical officer to furnish them with a report on the subject, and that they should thereafter fix a day for the consideration of his report. The Board would also be obliged if the guardians would cause them to be furnished with the information indicated in the accompanying form of Return and Report to be filled up by the medical officer, who would get any facts or figures he may require for the purpose from the clerk of the union or the master of the workhouse.That circular was really conceived in a spirit which ought not to be criticised in the Committee. We had to issue the Order, and we accompanied it with the circular conceived in that tone, and I am surprised that the hon. Baronet should have taken exception to it. As the Irish Times has been quoted, perhaps I may quote an extract from the Freeman's Journal, which rarely supports the Government. The Freeman's Journal comment is as follows—The Local Government Board made an overwhelming case in favour of a drastic improvement in the treatment of the sick poor in several workhouses. A most painful impression was produced on the public mind by the revelations. Several of the hospitals described were not merely understaffed, but equipped in such a fashion as to make the treatment of the sick and the infirm poor in them a disgrace to those responsible.Finally, the Freeman's Journal expresses the hope that no member of a Nationalist body will be found to discountenance the action of the Board.
§ MR. CULLINAN
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman to include in his quotation the fact that this reference was to the north of Ireland, and that the south of Ireland was not concerned at all?
§ MR. WYNDHAM
I cannot quite accept that view. There have been 117 cases in the north of Ireland which filled me with very great regret, and the members from the north of Ireland have been most active in bringing the matter to my attention; the hon. Member for South Belfast has frequently asked questions in the House, and only yesterday or the day before asked me to take the most drastic, measures possible to see that the Order was carried out, in order to bring a board of guardians to a sense of their duty. But surely in such a matter it is a pity to talk of questions of north and south; and since the Local Government Board are so fortunate as not to be seriously criticised in respect of this action, I think I might appeal to hon. members from all parts of Ireland to support the Board in its efforts to relieve the sick poor from danger, and from circumstances which are painful even to think of.
The hon. Member for Mid Cork dealt with the question of labourers' cottages in Ireland. He certainly treated the subject with great earnestness and sincerity of purpose, which must have been obvious to all who listened to him, but his criticism was not of the Local Government Board, but the Acts of Parliament that did not make sufficient provision for the housing of labourers in Ireland. He urged the Government to include fishermen and rural tradesmen. Those are arguments which might properly be brought forward if we were debating the question of the housing of the working classes, but on the Estimates all I can say is that the Local Government Board does its best to administer properly the Acts dealing with the matter passed by Parliament. Those Acts bind us down to supply cottages sufficient for the number of agricultural labourers who are needed in a particular district. Hon. members from Ireland seem to think that those Acts authorise the housing of all people who live in a district, and who are not rich enough to provide cottages for themselves. Some of the arguments used led me to think that that must be the view of hon. members. That is not the case. The Local Government Board can only pass a scheme if it is proved that the labourers who are to be housed are needed in the locality, and that there is a demand for the amount of labour which they can supply; but many of the schemes submitted embraced proposals 118 to house numbers of persons who are not agricultural labourers, and more than are needed in the locality, ignoring the rights of other persons whose rights the Local Government Board are bound to protect. We cannot plant a house down wherever we please in Ireland, or in any other place. If we attempted a short cut in that direction it is evident there would be a long correspondence with the Department which had the charge of seeing that the Act was properly carried out. The blame in this matter does not rest with the Local Government Board. I can assure hon. members that schemes come before the Board which are put forward in all good faith by the rural council, but are not put forward in good faith by all ratepayers who supply that council with evidence, and the evidence in regard to them is oftentimes very unsatisfactory. I can truly say that the Government have always taken an interest in all questions relating to the housing of the working classes whether in Ireland or England, and if the time comes for dealing with the question again in Ireland, I think it very probable that some further consideration will be given to some of the classes who cannot be accurately described as agricultural labourers. It may be the case, and I think it is so in Ireland, that the small tradesman has as good a claim to the consideration of Parliament in regard to housing as the artisan in London. But that can only be dealt with by legislation, and cannot be done, and ought not to be done, by a public Department, straining the existing Acts. The hon. Member for North Antrim suggested the appointment of inspectors for labourers' cottages, but that would add to the cost of administration, and already the expenses are heavy enough. I think we ought to make the best of the machine as it is, without adding any more wheels to it. The hon. Member for South Tipperary's points have been answered in the replies which I have made to other members, but I think he will gather from me that I draw an absolute distinction between existing officers and officers to be appointed in the future. In that case a great part of the responsibility must lie, as I have said, with the local bodies, and not with the Local Government Board.
§ MR. CLANCY (Dublin County, N.)
said he did not think anyone could find fault with the remarks of the Chief Secretary, who had replied to the discussion in a spirit which had not always been evinced by gentlemen holding his office. His speech alone, to say nothing of the other speeches which had been delivered, showed what a calamity it would have been if the Vote had been closured without an opportunity of discussing it. A number of important questions had been raised, and the right hon. Gentleman had dealt with them not only in a considerate spirit, but as important subjects deserving of public debate. He desired now to refer to a matter relating to county Dublin—not so much because he represented that county as that it represented a tendency and habit on the part of the Local Government Board which it was the duty of the Chief Secretary to repress. Under Section 71 of the Local Government Act it was provided that the financial relations between urban districts and the rest of the county in which they were situated might be revised every fifteen years after the passing of the Act of 1898, or of the Local Act under which these suburban districts were created. The section also provided that this revision was to be commenced and undertaken only when any of the councils concerned applied for it to be undertaken. It was a very curious thing that in the case of county Dublin, which contained nine of these townships, the initiative in the matter seemed to have been taken by the Local Government Board themselves. Not only that, but they had actually proceeded, in the face of the Act of Parliament, to make up their minds upon a question which had to be judicially determined, and which, according to the Act of Parliament, ought not to be determined without a previous inquiry. In November last, without any previous notice, without any inquiry having been made, without any application so far as the county council was concerned or aware, the following letter was sprung upon the Dublin County Council—Local Government Board, Dublin,28th November, 1900.Sir,—I am directed by the Local Government Board for Ireland to forward, for the information 120 of the county council, the accompanying list of county-at-large charges from contributions to which the Board consider urban districts should be exempted, subject to variations defined in Local Acts; and I am to state that the Board propose to issue orders giving effect to these exemptions.I am, Sir, your obedient servant,(Signed) "H M. SWAINE, Secretary.He really did not think the Chief Secretary would defend a proceeding of that kind. The Act of Parliament prescribed what should be done and the course to be followed. In this case the townships of Rathmines and Pembroke—for he had not the least hesitation in putting his finger on those two townships—were probably up to some nasty trick, and he had no doubt they went to the Local Government Board in a hole-and-corner way, and induced them, in defiance of the Act of Parliament, to issue this disgraceful letter. It was true no steps had been taken in pursuance of that letter, but the right hon. Gentleman had put into the new Local Government Bill a clause which would enable him to proceed. The action of the Local Government Board in this matter should be viewed with great suspicion, and the Chief Secretary ought to support the county council as against the suburban authorities, which sought in almost every instance to make little of the county body in which they could no longer have any controlling power. The township of Rathmines, especially, was a Tory district, the only completely Tory district in county Dublin, and because it could not have a majority in the county council it wanted to set up for itself as an independent body. It was able to go behind the back of the county council to get the Local Government Board to write that letter. If any large proportion of the 3,000 letters which the Chief Secretary had recently said the Board had to write every week were anything like the one to which he had referred, they might very well be dispensed with. He gave the right hon. Gentleman warning that, as far as he was concerned, he would oppose to the utmost the retention in the Local Government Bill of the clause of which he had spoken, the only object of which was to perpetrate an injustice and to anticipate the time at which the House had agreed this revision should be made on the passing of the Local 121 Government Act; and he should endeavour to persuade the House to stick to the bargain deliberately made when the townships were made and the Local Government Act passed in its present shape. With regard to the debate which had taken place, he agreed with the right hon. Gentleman that the Orders in Council and the Orders of the Board were responsible largely for the increased expenditure. He would point out, however, that those orders were the right hon. Gentleman's own handiwork, or of the Government to which he belonged. No doubt many of the processes which cost so much money were necessary under the Orders, but the Orders might have been so drawn that many of the processes would be unnecessary and the expense saved. As to the general question of labourers' cottages, he admitted that as the law at present stood great delay was necessarily occasioned. In 1896 a few Irish members endeavoured to get the law so amended that those delays would be completely avoided. The right hon. Gentleman had forgotten that some of the delay was owing to the Local Government Board itself. Most unaccountable delays had taken place in holding inspections and giving the results of inquiries to the public. He commended to the notice of the Chief Secretary the action of one of his predecessors, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Manchester. That right hon. gentleman wanted to open a light railway and to set the people to work on it in Connaught. If he had waited to comply with the law, the whole winter would have passed without a single penny being expended for the purpose of keeping the peeple alive by giving them employment. What did he do? He said to the Local Government Board, "Go in and take possession of the land; put in your labourers; and make the railway—no matter what the law says." That was a case of emergency.
§ MR. CLANCY
Certainly. But surely there were cases of emergency under the Labourers Act, and the right hon. Gentleman ought to have no hesitation in such cases in following the precedent set up by his predecessor. With regard to court-houses, it was most unfortunate 122 that an Amendment proposed by the Nationalist members to put the control of these buildings in the hands of the popular bodies about to be set up was not adopted. No injustice or danger to the administration of the law would have been involved, whereas now there were perpetual rows all over Ireland as to the use of the court-houses. He sincerely hoped for the sake of the county that the Chief Secretary would take heart of grace in these matters, and make up his mind to settle these questions, which could be settled in a reasonable manner to the satisfaction of everybody.
§ MR. JAMES O'CONNOR (Wicklow, W.)
referred to the circumstances connected with two inquiries held at Shillelagh some time ago by Dr. Flynn, a Local Government Board inspector. The local medical officer of health, Dr. Bolster, made charges of negligence against the local nurse, named Joyce, and it was also alleged that she had taken a fee from a patient. The matter was thoroughly investigated by the guardians, who decided that the charges of negligence were not proved; while, in regard to the charge of taking a fee, it appeared that nurse Joyce had simply received three shillings for car hire. By some means or other Dr. Bolster induced the Local Government Board to order a new inquiry.
§ MR. JAMES O'CONNOR (continuing)
said that in response to a request from the guardians, nurse Joyce sent in a list of her witnesses, thirty-four in number, and Dr. Bolster sent in the names of sixteen persons to give evidence on his side. When the inquiry opened, on 5th September, counsel appearing for nurse Joyce objected to proceeding, because none of her witnesses had been summoned. The objection was allowed, and it was agreed that the inquiry should be resumed at Tinahely, the district in which both the doctor and 123 the nurse resided. Notwithstanding the fact that permission had been obtained for the use of the Town Hall at Tinahely, the Local Government Board inspector on 20th December, without giving any explanation, resumed the inquiry at Shillelagh. Again none of nurse Joyce's witnesses had been summoned, the excuse being that the doctor had privately examined them, and found they bad no material evidence to give. It was very strange that a medical man should be permitted to give a legal opinion of that sort. On 11th March, in reply to a question, the Chief Secretary stated that eight witnesses were summoned on behalf of the nurse, seven of whom were examined, while nine were summoned, and six examined on behalf of the doctor. Immediately on the publication of that statement he received a communication from the Shillelagh guardians saying the right hon. Gentleman's information was absolutely incorrect. He therefore asked another question of the Chief Secretary, to which the reply was that eight witnesses were summoned on behalf of nurse Joyce, that four were examined, and that four either did not appear or left the court before they were examined. That was a very vague assertion to come from a responsible Minister. From whom did he get the information, on 11th March, which he contradicted in his statement of 18th March? What was the effect with regard to the four witnesses who were examined? He asked the Chief Secretary how many witnesses were examined on behalf of the nurse, and he said eight. That led him to infer that they were favourable witnesses. He had since discovered that not a solitary one of those four witnesses was on the nurse's side. Three of those witnesses were not summoned witnesses, and had no knowledge of the facts of the statement in dispute, and they only gave evidence as to character. Why did Dr. Flynn not summon this woman's witnesses? After the inquiry the Local Government Board came to the conclusion that nurse Joyce had been guilty of negligence, and they called upon the guardians to request her to sand in her resignation. As it was considered to be a one-sided and a partial trial, the guardians declined to call upon the nurse to resign. Then the 124 Local Government Board sent down an order compelling the Board to discharge this nurse. Naturally there was a great deal of irritation on the board in consequence of the way Dr. Flynn had conducted this case, and they could not understand, in view of all the details of the case, why the Local Government Board should accept Dr. Flynn's version, and order the resignation of this poor woman. It might be asked what motive Dr. Flynn had for trumping up the charges against Mrs. Joyce. Not a word had been uttered against her skill as a nurse, in one case Dr. Flynn attributed the calling in of another doctor to one of his patients to Mrs. Joyce, and therefore he was her enemy. This doctor once stated that if the board elected this woman to his district she would not be there very long. He got Dr. Flynn to take his part, and they got her out of her employment. Dr. Flynn in one inquiry got the Local Government Board into a very awkward position.
The next case was that in regard to Dr. Bolster, and the guardians, after investigating the charges made, came to the conclusion that Dr. Bolster had been negligent. Dr. Flynn came down again, and the Local Government Board reversed the decision of the board of guardians. He would only refer to one charge, and that was with regard to Michael Doyle, who was apprenticed to Mr. Murphy. The doctor attended this boy at seven o'clock in the evening and gave him a gargle. Mr. Murphy stated that the boy was dangerously ill, and Dr. Bolster took the boy's temperature, but he made no note of it, and simply said that the boy was suffering from a skin eruption which was not contagious. At 10 o'clock at night this boy's employer packed him off to his own home, seven Irish miles away, and he was put to bed there along with another boy. Dr. King, who was called in to attend the boy, immediately declared the case to be one of scarlatina of a moderately severe type. In the infirmary the boy was examined by another doctor, who also declared that the boy was suffering from scarlatina. It might be asked why this boy was sent away at all. The reason was that Mr. Murphy was Dr. Bolster's patient, and it was stated that the doctor favoured his case by sending the boy away. 125 He held that the charges made against Dr. Bolster were not borne out by the evidence, and the board of guardians were naturally irritated that the Local Government Board should fly in the face of the local authority. There was a general feeling that the Local Government Board were hostile to the local bodies. Dr. Bolster was offensive and insulting to the guardians, and they had not been able to do anything with him since the Local Government Board came into existence. The unfortunate nurse whose case had been referred to lost her employment on account of the personal hostility of the doctor. He urged that one impartial inquiry should be held by a Local Government Board inspector who had not the unhappy knack of Dr. Flynn of getting the Board into hot water wherever he made an inquiry.
§ MR. FIELD (Dublin, St. Patrick)
said he recognised the sympathetic tone of the speech of the Chief Secretary. The right hon. Gentleman was the representative in this House of the Local Government Board, and it was his duty to bring that Board into close relations with the local authorities. He asked the right hon. Gentleman and his legal adviser the Attorney General how it was that in Ireland there was so much friction between the Local Government Board and the local authorities, while in England there was hardly any friction. He did not wish to go into any small points which would detain the House, but he could mention many cases to illustrate the nature of the friction to which he referred. He would, however, take the broad basis of the working of the Local Government Act as his theme. Why was it that the two institutions, which were supposed to be similar, worked in such different directions in England and Ireland? He would tell the right hon. Gentleman the reason. In Ireland, unfortunately, they were not governed in a constitutional manner. They were supposed to be under a constitutional regime, but in practice constitutionalism was absent. In England the heads of Government departments conferred with men who were recognised as being in sympathy with popular feeling in regard to matters of administration, but that 126 was not done in Ireland, where the Local Government Board had constituted themselves an Irish Parliament. They had done it in the case of Wexford with regard to salaries, and they had done it in the matters to which the hon. Member for North Dublin had called attention that evening. The result was that they had nothing but friction, annoyance, difference of opinion, dissension, and obstruction between the Local Government Board officials and the county councils and the district councils of Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman was not responsible for this state of things, but the permanent officials; he did not care whether they were under a Tory or a Liberal Government. If they in Ireland were trusted with local government, they ought to be competent to fulfil the functions with which they had been endowed. He quite agreed with the opinion that until the people were accustomed to the discharge of the duties with which they had been entrusted there would be a certain amount of friction between the local bodies and the Local Government Board. But the Local Government Board consisted of two or three highly-paid officials, not elected, and out of sympathy with the people. Some hon. Gentlemen opposite seemed to think that the people of Ireland ought to obey the behests of the Local Government Board without murmur. If the hon. Gentleman would only convey to the members of the Local Government Board that when there was a difference of opinion between the county, urban, or district councils and these officials of the Local Government Board, a conference should he held of both sides, a mutual agreement might be arrived at without involving friction and litigation. The Local Government Board and the governing bodies ought not to be constantly in collision, but acting in co-operation with each other. [Laughter.] He was quite serious in this matter. He had had many interviews with Sir Henry Robinson in regard to many questions, and he found him a most cultured, patient, and efficient official. He had frequently managed to change that gentleman's opinion, and that was the reason why he made the suggestion. [Cries of "Oh, oh!"] Would anyone say that in matters of public business he 127 should not go to a public official and ask for a favour if he thought it was just and right? Would anyone say that they ought to cultivate friction instead of co-operation, if the interests of the people were to be served? [Cries of "Oh, oh!"] If he thought that he was offending against the canons of the Irish party he would not make that declaration, and therefore he had made his suggestion quite seriously. At any rate, he thought that a great deal of friction had been unnecessarily created by the fact that certain officials of the Local Government Board appeared to think that they had only to make a suggestion, and that suggestion should therefore be carried out. The idea was taking root amongst a great section of the people of Ireland that the design of the Local Government Board in that country was to increase taxation, and to take out of the hands of the local governing bodies the function of legislation which properly belonged to them. He maintained that no more dangerous course could be taken by the right hon. Gentleman and other responsible authorities in Ireland than to bring themselves into conflict and friction with the duly elected representatives of the people. [Cries of "Oh, oh!"] They who represented constitutionalism—[Laughter from the Ministerial Benches.] Hon. Gentlemen opposite might laugh. There were a large number of people on the opposite side of the House who did not seem to believe in constitutionalism, and the attitude of these gentlemen showed that when the Irish members discussed these questions in moderate language they received no encouragement. What was the use of passing admittedly good laws in the British House of Commons and handing them over to be administered by a select clique of permanent officials in Ireland? They all knew that bad laws well administered were frequently better for a country than good laws badly administered. What they wanted was good laws well administered. A certain small section on the Local Government Board appeared to have made up their minds that they were altogether irresponsible to the Irish people, that they could do what they liked, and that when the Chief Secretary came over to Ireland they could persuade him that what they did was for the good 128 of Ireland. The consequence was, that these large schemes, passed for the good of Ireland, had been practically nullified. He was a member of the Dublin County Council and the Blackrock District Council, and he spoke from personal knowledge of the subject which he had brought before the Committee.
MR. RENTOUL (Down, E.)
said he had had experience in connection with the Local Government Board in Ireland, and he thought that any intelligent foreigner who had been listening to the debate must have come to the conclusion that it was the most perfect of all boards in the world, because in all the speeches that had been delivered not one point of any sort had been made against the Board. The hon. Member who had just sat down had told the Committee that he was a member of the Dublin County Council and of the Blackrock District Council, and that he could say a great deal against the Local Government Board, but he had not given a single instance of complaint substantiated by details.
said he had enjoyed the speech of the hon. Member, because of the absence of details and otherwise because of its pungency. Very serious complaints had been made against the Local Government Board, but they were really attacks on the law. The law might be all wrong; but it was not for a Committee of this House to correct the law, but for the House itself to pass an Act to amend it. The statement had been made that the Local Government Board was hostile to the newly-created local bodies; but as these bodies had been created by the Unionist Government, it was not likely that a board presided over by the present Chief Secretary would desire to upset these bodies in their work. Of course, at the beginning of their work some interference had been made with the county councils in every part of Ireland, and that had created some 129 friction. He himself had to bring two complaints against the Local Government Board about their unnecessary interference with the county council of county Down, but when the facts had all been gone into it was found that they did not warrant the charge of undue interference. Now that the work of local government administration was becoming known the interference of the Local Government Board was becoming less and less necessary, and they all said that the less interference the better. Reference had been made to the control which the high sheriff exercised over the court-houses maintained by the county councils. Undoubtedly that was likely to create friction, as the sheriff was changed from year to year; and though many sheriff's got on splendidly with the county councils, the evil action of one sheriff might wipe out the kindly treatment of a dozen different sheriffs. The sheriff represented largely the old grand jury system which had passed away, and consequently it was natural that the representatives of a new system should look upon him with a little jealousy, and vice versa. That, however, was not confined to Ireland, for he remembered the jealousy between the London County Council and the members of the old Metropolitan Board of Works. There was nothing of that friction in county Down, because it so happened, fortunately for them there, that the sheriff was also chairman of the county council, and everything worked smoothly. He admitted that the Labourers Acts had fallen dead in many parts of Ireland, and undoubtedly some change would have to be made; but that was a matter, not for the Local Government Board, but for direct legislation by this House.
§ *MR. MURPHY (Kerry, E.)
said he regretted that he had time only to refer to two points. The hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down had essayed to whitewash the Local Government Board, but in doing so he had tried an impossible task. Everybody who knew anything about the Local Government Board must be convinced that not only were they extravagant and arrogant, but they were totally ignorant of the affairs of the Irish people. No doubt the hon. Member looked forward 130 with hope to a seat on some such board as compensation for the loss of his seat in the House, which fact accounted for his readiness to speak as he had just done. The conduct of Dr. Flynn, while he was vice-guardian at Killarney, was illustrative of the whole conduct of the officers of the Local Government Board. Dr. Flynn, while he was in Killarney, had occasion to appoint a clerk to the union, and out of the whole of the candidates who applied for that position it was an astonishing fact that the one who was successful in getting the appointment was a gentleman who was able to obtain the influence of Professor Butcher, the cousin of the President of the Board of Trade, who was then Chief Secretary for Ireland. Dr. Flynn had since been promoted by the Local Government Board, though he had also, while vice-guardian, promoted to the mastership of one of the largest workhouses in Ireland a man who for thirty years had been engaged in the police force, who was utterly unqualified for the position, and who had to resign owing to incompetency and drunkenness within two years. There was also a rate collector who during the time that Dr. Flynn was in Killarney was using the guardians' money for his own private purposes. A sum of £1,400 had been, collected by this rate collector, and not accounted for; and Dr. Flynn, although it had been brought to his own personal knowledge, had never called public attention to it, for the reason that he wanted to conceal the fact that it had taken place while he was there acting as vice-guardian. He submitted that Dr. Flynn's conduct in the past utterly unfitted him for occupying any position under the Local Government Board, and that instead of being promoted he ought to have been dismissed. Colonel Kirkwood was another officer of the Board whose duty was to inquire into the schemes for the erection of labourers' cottages, amongst other things. He knew nothing whatever of the duties appertaining to the office. He probably got a military title on account of talking of guns and drums and wounds in a militia mess-room, and not because he ever effected a "masterly retreat," 131 evacuated a Spion Kop, or hoisted a white flag. Those two officials were a sample of all the officials of the Local Government Board, and for these reasons and others he objected to the personnel of the Board, because his experience of it was that it was quite unsuited for the government of the Irish people. It was arrogant, unrepresentative, and uninformed. In Kerry they had personal experience of a county council, the members of which had as great ability to discharge their duties as any hon. Member of this House had to discharge his. That council had to consider on one occasion the increase of the salary of its secretary. This man was only entitled to £500, but so artfully had he piled up the various sums that he had to receive that the Local Government Board fixed his salary at £1,000. That man had since resigned, and was now in receipt of a pension of a considerable sum, and was not prevented from acting as a land agent, and the county council had been able to find a successor who was infinitely more capable at a salary of £400 a year. For these reasons and many others which time did not allow him to state he objected to the Vote,
§ and as the guillotine was about to fall he begged to move a reduction of £100.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £40,082, be granted for the said Service."—(Mr. Murphy.)
§ MR. DALY (Monaghan, S.)
said with regard to the question of the erection of labourers' cottages there were three courses which would considerably facilitate the erection of labourers' cottages. One was that in the case of an appeal against the representation the appellant should pay the costs. He knew a great many landlords and agents in Ireland who would never appeal but for the fact that they knew that they would not have to pay the costs, but that they would come out of the pockets of the ratepayers.
§ It being Ten of the clock, the CHAIRMAN, in pursuance of the Order of the House of the 7th of August, proceeded to put the Questions necessary to dispose of the Vote under consideration.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 141; Noes, 237. (Division List No. 420)135
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Joyce, Michael|
|Ambrose, Robert||Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan||Kearley, Hudson E.|
|Asher, Alexander||Delany, William||Kennedy, Patrick James|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Dillon, John||Lambert, George|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Doogan, P. C.||Layland-Barratt, Francis|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Duffy, William J.||Leamy, Edmund|
|Bell, Richard||Elibank, Master of||Leigh, Sir Joseph|
|Boland, John||Emmott, Alfred||Levy, Maurice|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Evans, Sir Francis H. (Maidst'ne||Lough, Thomas|
|Boyle, James||Fenwick, Charles||Lundon, W.|
|Brand, Hon. Arthur G.||Field, William||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.|
|Brigg, John||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Flavin, Michael Joseph||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Flynn, James Christopher||M'Dermott, Patrick|
|Burns, John||Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||M'Fadden, Edward|
|Burt, Thomas||Gilhooly, James||M'Govern, T.|
|Caine, William Sproston||Grant, Corrie||Mansfield, Horace Rendall|
|Caldwell, James||Griffith, Ellis J.||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarth'n|
|Cameron, Robert||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||Morton, E. J. C. (Devonport)|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Hammond, John||Moss, Samuel|
|Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton||Harwood, George||Murnaghan, George|
|Cawley, Frederick||Hayden, John Patrick||Murphy, John|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Hayne, Rt Hon. Charles Seale-||Nolan, Col. J. P. (Galway, N.)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.||Nolan, J. (Louth, South)|
|Cogan, Denis J.||Healy, Timothy Michael||Norman, Henry|
|Colville, John||Holland, William Henry||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Horniman, Frederick John||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)|
|Crean, Eugene||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)|
|Crombie, John William||Jameson, Major J. Eustace||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Cullinan, J.||Jones, David Brynmor (Swansea||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)|
|Daly, James||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||O'Connor, J. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Jordan, Jeremiah||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)||Robson, William Snowdon||Wallace, Robert|
|O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Roche, John||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|O'Dowd, John||Roe, Sir Thomas||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Samuel S. M. (Whitechapel)||Weir, James Galloway|
|O'Kelly, J. (Roscommon, N.)||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|O'Malley, William||Shipman, Dr. John G.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|O'Mara, James||Soares, Ernest J.||Whiteley, George (York, W. R.)|
|O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Spencer, Rt Hn. C. R. (Northants||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|O'Shee, James John||Sullivan, Donald||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Partington, Oswald||Taylor, Theodore Cooke||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Paulton, James Mellor||Tennant, Harold John||Woodehouse, Sir J T (Huddersf'd|
|Power, Patrick Joseph||Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Reddy, M.||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr||TELLERS FOR AYES—Sir Thomas Esmond and Captain Donelan.|
|Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Thompson, Dr. E C (Monagh'n N|
|Redmond, William (Clare)||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)|
|Rickett, J. Compton||Tomkinson, James|
|Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)||Ure, Alexander|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Cranborne, Viscount||Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanley|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Crossley, Sir Savile||Heath, James (Staffords. N. W.)|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Davenport, William Bromley-||Henderson, Alexander|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Davies, Sir H. D. (Chatham)||Hermon-Hodge, Robert Trotter|
|Arnold Forster, Hugh O.||Denny, Colonel||Hogg, Lindsay|
|Arrol, Sir William||Dickson, Charles Scott||Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Dilke, Rt. Hn. Sir Charles||Hornby, Sir William Henry|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Hoult, Joseph|
|Balcarres, Lord||Douglas, Rt. Hn. A. Akers-||Houston, Robert Paterson|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham)|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Duke, Henry Edward||Hozier, Hon. James Henry C.|
|Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W. (Leeds)||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Hudson, George Bickersteth|
|Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch.)||Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart||Jackson, Rt. Hon. Wm. Lawies|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Fellowes, Hn. Ailwyn Edward||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Man'cr||Johnston, William (Belfast)|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir Michael Hicks||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Finch, George H.||Kenyon, Hon. Geo. T. (Denbigh)|
|Bignold, Arthur||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Kimber, Henry|
|Bigwood, James||Firbank, Joseph Thomas||Lambton, Hon. Frederick W.|
|Bill, Charles||Fisher, William Hayes||Law, Andrew Bonar|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Fison, Frederick William||Lawson, John Grant|
|Bond, Edward||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Flower, Ernest||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie|
|Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex)||Forster, Henry William||Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S.|
|Brassey, Albert||Foster, Philip S. (Warwick, S. W)||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine|
|Brown, Alexander H. (Shropsh.)||Fowler, Right Hn. Sir Henry||Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham|
|Bull, William James||Gardner, Ernest||Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Bristol, S.)|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Garfit, William||Lonsdale, John Brownlee|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick||Lowe, Francis William|
|Butcher, John George||Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn||Lowther, Rt. Hon. James (Kent)|
|Carlile, William Walter||Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Gordon, Maj Evans- (T'rH'mlets||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth)|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Gordon Hn G. R. C. Ormsby- (Sip||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire)||Gore, Hn. S. F. Ormsby- (Linc.)||Macartney, Rt. Hn. W. G. Ellison|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Macdona, John Cumming|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Goschen, Hn. George Joachim||MacIver, David (Liverpool)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Maconochie, A. W.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm.||Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)|
|Chamberlain, J Austen (Worc'r||Greene, W. Raymond- (Cambs.)||M'Calmont, Col. J. (Antrim, E.)|
|Chapman, Edward||Gretton, John||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)|
|Charrington, Spencer||Greville, Hon. Ronald||Majendie, James A. H.|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Groves, James Grimble||Maple, Sir John Blundell|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Hain, Edward||Melville, Beresford Valentine|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Hall, Edward Marshall||Middlemore, John Throgmort'n|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Hambro, Charles Eric||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Collings, Rt. Hn. Jesse||Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G. (Midd'x||Molesworth, Sir Lewis|
|Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready||Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'nderry||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Haslett, Sir James Horner||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)|
|Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Morgan, David J. (W'lthamstow|
|Morrell, George Herbert||Rentoul, James Alexander||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Morris, Hon. Martin Henry F.||Renwick George||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford)||Ridley, Hon. M. W. (Stalybridge)||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Mount, William Arthur||Ridley, S. Forde (Bethnal Green||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Muntz, Philip A.||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Murray, Rt Hn. A. Graham (Bute||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Myers, William Henry||Ropner, Colonel Robert||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Nicol, Donald Ninian||Round, James||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Royds, Clement Molyneux||Valentia, Viscount|
|Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Rutherford, John||Vincent, Col. Sir C. E H (Sheffield|
|Peel, Hn. Wm. Robert Wellesley||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Pemberton, John S. G.||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Penn, John||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos. Myles||Webb, Colonel William George|
|Pierpoint, Robert||Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. Edw. J.||Welby, Sir Charles G. E. (Notts.)|
|Pilkington, Lieut.-Col. Richard||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-u.-Lyne)|
|Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Seton-Karr, Henry||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Plummer, Walter R.||Sharpe, William Edward T.||Williams, Rt. Hn J Powell- (Birm.|
|Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)||Wilson, A. Stanley (Yorks., E. R.)|
|Pretyman, Ernest George||Skewes-Cox, Thomas||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.)|
|Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)|
|Purvis, Robert||Smith, H C (North'mb. Tyneside||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)|
|Pym, C. Guy||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Randles, John S.||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Rankin, Sir James||Spear, John Ward||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Rasch, Major Frederic Carne||Spencer, Ernest (W. Bromwich)|
|Reid, James (Greenock)||Stanley, Edward Jas. (Somerset)|
|Remnant, James Farquharson||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Renshaw, Charles Bine||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
§ Original Question put.136
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 246; Noes, 136. (Division List No. 421).139
§ The CHAIRMAN thereupon, in pursuance of the same Order, put severally the Questions, That the total amount of the Votes outstanding in each Class of the Civil Service Estimates, and the total amount of the Votes outstanding in the Estimates for the Navy, the Army, and the Revenue Departments, be granted for the Services defined in those Classes and Estimates.