§ MR. GINNELL
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, having regard to the fact that Land Commissioners, Sub-Commissioners, assessors, valuers, and inspectors of land, whose findings affect the property and livelihood of two important sections of the community engaged in litigation with each other, have hitherto been almost exclusively nominees of one of those sections, to the detriment of the other section, and competent men of character have been excluded from even nomination, will he take advantage of the present opportunity to inaugurate, in appointing to all these positions, a system of public advertisement and competitive examination, subject to impartial rules analogous to those in force in other branches of the public service.
45 I beg also to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, in view of the prevalent dissatisfaction with the system of official land valuing which has been twenty-six years in operation in Ireland, and the approaching revision of the staff engaged in this work, will he throw this branch of the public service open to all competent men of character and practical experience, irrespective of creed and politics, by establishing a system of appointment as a result of impartial public examination; and, if he cannot do this, will he state what the objection is.
§ MR. BIRRELL
The Answer to both of these Questions is in the negative. I should be glad if some system could be devised whereby the Government would be relieved of the doubtful boon of patronage in these cases, but I am afraid that a system of competitive examination would not be appropriate.
§ MR. MOORE (Armagh, N.)
Have the Government abandoned the principle of qualifying examinations for these Land Commission appointments?
§ MR. KILBRIDE (Kildare, S.)
Is knowledge of the value of land deemed to be one of the main qualifications?
§ MR. BIRRELL
Certainly. I can conceive no other more important. If a qualifying examination is found to be useful we shall not abandon it.