§ MR. GINNELL
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that the annual Report of the Commissioners of Charitable Donations and Bequests for Ireland, signed by themselves, shows that some of them have not attended a meeting of their body for at least twelve months; and, having regard to the patronage and power which control of £1,000,000 worth of scattered property carries with it, and the unsatisfactory state of the Commissioners' accounts so far as disclosed, will he say how long a Commissioner may absent himself from meetings before his commission is withdrawn.
I beg also to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that the latest audited accounts of the Commissioners of Charitable Donations and Bequests for Ireland, and the Commissioners of Education, which the auditor declared to have been carefully prepared and vouched in a most satisfactory manner, contained statements of local payments which were in fact not made in that year, and that similar statements contained in previous audited accounts year after year have in fact never been made; and whether he will ascertain from the auditor how he came to declare correct accounts containing fictitious payments.
I beg further to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland if he will ascertain and state the gross value of the property now vested in the Commissioners of Charitable Donations and Bequests for Ireland and the Education Commissioners respectively, the approximate value of property not vested in them but under their control, and the total amount dealt with by each of those bodies in the last financial year; what the Commissioners' reason is for withholding this information hitherto; and if they persist in withholding it, whether he will have their accounts examined by 249 an independent accountant and the result presented to this House.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. BIRRELL,) Bristol, N.
As regards the attendances and property of the Commissioners, I would refer the hon. Member to my Answers to his previous Questions. The Commissioners and the auditor inform me that there is no foundation for the allegation that the accounts contain statements of payments not actually made.