§ MR. SLOAN (Belfast, S.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware of the fact that the Belfast Health Commission, consisting of Colonel Harding, an ex-Lord Mayor of Leeds, Dr. Mair, a medical inspector of the Local Government Board of England, Dr. Chalmers, of Glasgow, and two inspectors of the Irish Local Government Board, appointed on the 11th February, 1907, to inquire into the cause of the high death rate in Belfast, has held twenty-four sittings, all the evidence at which has been taken on oath; and if he will state what statutory authority any person or persons other than inspectors of the Local Government Board have to hold inquiries under Section 209 of the Public Health (Ireland) Act, 1878, or to take evidence on oath.
§ MR. BIRRELL
The number of sittings held so far by the Commission referred to is correctly stated in the Question. All the evidence has been taken on oath. There is nothing to prevent other persons from being associated with inspectors of the Local Government Board in holding inquiries under Section 209 of the Public Health (Ireland) Act, 1878. The power of administering an oath is, however, rested only in inspectors, and this power has not been exercised by any of the other gentlemen on the Commission.