§ MR. SLOAN (Belfast, S)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to the fact that, at a meeting of the committee of management of the Ballinasloe District Asylum, held on the 9th instant, a letter was read from the Lord-Lieutenant asking to bein formed why, in electing Dr. Kirwan to the vacant office of resident medical superintendent, they had passed over the senior assistant medical officer of the Asylum; and, if so, can he state whether information was refused to the Lord-Lieutenant; and, if so, what action, if any, does he intend to take in the matter.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
The effect of the Lord-Lieutenant's letter is correctly stated in the first part of the Question. 367 The request for information was not refused. The committee of management questioned the right of the Lord-Lieutenant to invite them to give reasons, and stated that Dr. Kirwan, the junior assistant, had "been duly" appointed by them. Section 84 (4) of the Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1898, provides that the resident medical superintendent shall not be appointed without the concurrence of the Lord-Lieutenant. The statement that Dr. Kirwan was duly appointed by the committee is therefore inaccurate, inasmuch as it is incomplete. The right vested with the Lord-Lieutenant of granting or with-holding his concurrence is unconditional. In exercising that right His Excellency discharges a duty imposed upon him by statute, and the duty is not limited to ascertaining whether the candidate, whose appointment is submitted, is possessed of the statutory qualifications for the post. The circumstances of each case must be considered. The committee have declared that Dr. Kirwan was elected because in their judgment he was considered to be the fittest for the position. The selection of a junior officer, however well qualified, is of doubtful expediency, but in view of the fact that promotion by seniority is not laid down in the Act, and though of general is not of universal advantage, His Excellency does not feel called upon to express an opinion on the view put forward by the Committee, who are primarily responsible. Under these circumstances His Excellency is not prepared to withhold his statutory concurrence in the appointment, and the committee have been informed accordingly.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)
Did not the Lord-Lieutenant recently lay down the principle that promotion should go by seniority?
§ MR. WYNDHAM
said he believed the Asylum committee reported that the qualifications of the two candidates were equal. The committee exercised the discretion vested in them by Act of Parliament, and the Government did not 368 feel called upon to interfere. It would not conduce to the proper working of local government in Ireland for the Executive to intervene when not called upon to do so by statute.