HC Deb 05 August 1907 vol 179 c1528

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to the recent decision of Mr. Justice Barton in the case of the Local Government Board against the county Cork Agricultural and Technical Committee, declaring that the charges made by the Board for audit fees are not recoverable; whether such charges have been made in the case of the county Waterford and all other counties in Ireland; how much has been paid for audit fees to the Board by agricultural and technical committees since they came into existence; whether the Board will recoup them the amount of these illegal charges; and whether similar charges have been made against the asylum committees.

(Answered by Mr. Birrell.) The official report of the judgment of Mr. Justice Wright (not Mr. Justice Barton) has been received, and is at present under the consideration of the Local Government Board with a view to appeal. The judgment does not apply to county Waterford or other counties similarly circumstanced. It would involve a prolonged search to ascertain the amount recovered for audit fees from Committees of Agricultural and Technical Instruction since they came into existence, and the information would be misleading, as the majority of them are not in reality affected by the decision, even if it be upheld on an appeal. Asylum committees are similarly assessed in respect of audit fees, but they are not affected by the decision, as their constitution rests upon a basis different from that of Committees of Agriculture and Technical Instruction. It is not the intention of the Local Government Board to recoup the fees paid for auditors' services already rendered.