§ *MR. COGAN (Wicklow, E.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that, at the quarterly meeting of the Wicklow County Council on 25th February, the secretary reported that, although he had his calculations ready as far as possible for the estimates for the ensuing financial year, he was unable to complete them owing to the failure of the Valuation Office to forward him the revised valuations of the urban districts, and the total for the county, and informing him they would not be ready before the 1st March, although the Order in Council requires the estimate to be adopted by the county council by the 1st March; that he then communicated with the Local Government Board, and did not receive a reply until the 25th ultimo, stating that he could act on last year's valuation, but that the secretary reported this would be a dangerous experiment owing to the opposition, of some urban councils to the demands of the county council, and that in any case the letter from the Local Government Board was received too late to enable him to complete his estimate; and that the county council adjourned without adopting the estimate for the ensuing year; whether the Local Government Board will take the necessary steps to legalise the action of the county council when they adopt their estimate after 1st March, as they have been precluded from doing so within the time limited by the Order in Council owing to the failure of the Valuation Office in furnishing the necessary report in time; and whether the Government will take steps to increase the staff of the Valuation Office, so as to enable it to supply to county councils in Ireland information required by them in sufficient time to enable them to proceed with their business in a regular manner.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
The facts are substantially as stated in the first paragraph of the question, but the county council received the revised valuation lists for all the rural districts on the 1st of February. There are two urban districts in the county, and the charge in the valuation of these only amounted to a sum of £220, so that there was really no valid reason why the estimate should not have been completed in Wicklow, as in other counties, with all necessary accuracy. The Local Government Board are not in any way in default, but as there has been some misunderstanding it will be prepared to extend the time for making the estimate in county Wicklow, so as to get over the difficulty. No increase is necessary in the staff of the Valuation Office.