§ MR. MEEHAN
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ire-land whether he is aware that one of the Local Government Board auditors, when auditing the accounts of the County Committee of Agriculture and Technical Instruction, Queen's County, in October last, surcharged three of the members with the sum of £3 7s. 10d., which amount the committee had unanimously ordered to 470 be paid for the necessary repairs and cleaning of promises which had been used for a course of lectures and demonstrations under the scheme of instruction adopted by the committee with the approval of the Department; whether the auditor made the surcharge under Section 51, Sub-section 7, of the Local Government Act, 1898; whether he is aware that the delay in furnishing the account arose through the illness and subsequent death of the person who gave the use of the promises to the committee; and whether, under those circumstances, he will remit the surcharge, so that members of the committee shall not be punished for discharging a debt incurred in the public interests.
§ MR. BIRRELL
The statements contained in the Question are substantially correct, so far as they go. It is, however, also the fact that the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction declined to give their sanction to the payment referred to, and in the absence of this sanction the payment is illegal. The amount of the surcharge has been paid, and the Local Government Board have now no power to remit it.