HC Deb 01 May 1906 vol 156 cc420-1
MR. MOONEY (Newry)

I bog to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland on what grounds the Local Government Board acted in creating an entirely new and redundant office, carrying a salary of £900 a year, to an official who is charged with the duty of inspecting the judicial work of sixteen auditors, who are supposed to act independently and without supervision even by the Board itself; and whether, when sanctioning this rate of salary, the Treasury had before them the terms on which inspection of the same nature has been provided in England, where the work to be inspected involves the employment of more than seven times as many officials as are employed in Ireland, namely, eleven senior auditors, thirty-nine auditors, seven assistant auditors, and eighty-nine clerks, and where the present inspector, who was appointed to this office only last year, is in receipt of no more salary out of the Votes than his Irish counterpart.


It is not a fact that a redundant office has been created, but a new office, namely, that of Inspector of Audits, was sanctioned by the Treasury as the result of a Departmental inquiry ordered by them in 1903 into the audit system in Ireland. Neither is it a fact that auditors are supposed to act independently without supervision by the Local Government Board. It is the function of the Board to assign to the auditors their respective duties, and to endeavour to secure uniformity of system and practice, but in arriving at decisions as to the legality or otherwise of expenditure, the auditors are required to act independently of the Board because the Board are constituted a Court of Appeal from such decisions. The Departmental Committee had before them full information as to the system of audits and the constitution of the audit staff in England. In fact one of the members of the Committee was the then inspector of audits of the English Local Government Board. I have no information as to the terms under which the present English inspector of audits holds office, but according to the Estimates for the current year the scale of salary is higher than that for the corresponding Irish officer.