23. Mr. NUGENT
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he is aware that the property owners in Rutland Square, Dublin, have to pay a special tax or rate to the governors of the Rotunda Hospital, and were given, as one of the privileges for such a tax, free access to the enclosed grounds; if he is aware that the Postmaster-General has taken possession of the skating-rink building in the square for Post Office purposes, and that the military authorities use the entire grounds for guard, patrols, etc., and, as a consequence, property owners are deprived of the privileges which they have enjoyed for 150 years; and if he will see that the property owners are relieved from paying this rate during the occupation of the square by the Government and the denial to the residents of their privileges?
§ Mr. DUKE
The facts are as stated in the first part of the question. The requirements of the State in time of war cannot be subordinated to the privileges of private persons whose public buildings or open spaces are requisitioned. No protests on behalf of the house owners have been received by the Board. The rate paid by the property owners is small— 1s. 9d. per foot frontage—and provides for lighting, wages, repairs, and other things, any balance going toward the maintenance of the hospital. Legislation would be necessary to relieve the ratepayers from the rate.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the lighting and other conveniences to which he has referred are for the inside of the square, and that the rates are not so small a thing, amounting roughly to £4 or £6 per dwelling; and will he make representations to the governors, who are an entirely antiquated and conservative body who elect themselves, for which there does not appear to be an Act?