I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been drawn to a meeting of Roman Catholic priests of the deanery of Claremorris, where a resolution was recently adopted demanding that no person should be appointed to the office of clerk to the Claremorris Union unless furnished with a character from his parish priest; and, if so, whether, on this or other such appointment being made, the Local Government Board will issue instructions that no clerical influence of this nature is to be allowed to weigh in the selection of candidates.
My attention had not been drawn to this matter, but I am informed by the Local Government Board that the resolution in question affirmed that the financial and moral condition of the union was essentially connected with the selection of a worthy clerk, and requested the district councillors to refuse their support to any candidate who should not produce a letter of character from his parish priest. The Local Government Board have no power to intervene in the manner suggested in the Question.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the district council actually passed a resolution, and published it in the Press, to the effect that no candidate would be eligible for election without a certificate of character from the parish priest?
Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the desirability of obtaining power? Does not this absolutely exclude anybody but a Roman Catholic from getting the position?