HC Deb 01 August 1912 vol 41 cc2231-2
16. Colonel M'CALMONT

asked the Chief Secretary whether two guardians representing the Askeaton West Division of the Rathkeale Poor Law Union, county Limerick, are respectively the wife of the medical officer of the Askeaton dispensary district and the husband of the matron of the Rathkeale Union Workhouse; whether he is aware that the matron was voted an increase in her salary from £30 a year to £60 a year, being an increase of 100 per cent.; that this increase was considered excessive by the Local Government Board; and that on the 3rd of July, without further notice of motion and against the remonstrances of some of the guardians, a salary of £52 a year, being an increase of 73 per cent., was voted; and whether, in the interests of the paupers and ratepayers, steps will be taken to prevent the husbands and wives of officials of unions and district councils having seats and votes in such unions and district councils?


The members representing the Askeaton West Division of the Rathkeale Board of Guardians are Mrs. Elizabeth O'Brien and Mr. James Sheehy. The latter is the husband of the matron of the workhouse; but, although the Local Government Board have no information as to whether Mrs. O'Brien is the wife of the medical officer of the Askeaton Dispensary District, I believe the case is so. The guardians originally voted an increase of salary to the matron from £30 to £60, which the Local Government Board refused to sanction, and it was then proposed to fix the salary at £52. The Board ultimately sanctioned an increase to £45, this amount being the maximum salary paid to matrons in other unions of the same class. There is nothing in the law to prevent the husband or wife of an officer of a board of guardians from becoming a guardian of the union if duly elected by the Local Government electors.


Were not the members of the district council, with one or two exceptions, in favour of the larger increase, and is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that these are the parties responsible to the ratepayers; and what right has the hon. and gallant Member to interfere in this matter?


It is a matter for the Local Government Board, and any one can ask questions relating to it. The Local Government Board have undoubtedly to exercise restrictions upon the generosity of members of boards of guardians.