§ RULE 38. These Rules shall apply to Ireland subject to the following modifications, namely:
- (1) References to the Local Government Board shall be construed as references to the Local Government Board for Ireland.
- (2) The district electoral division as constituted under the Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1898, shall be the registration unit; but—
- (a) where a district electoral division is divided into wards, each such ward shall be treated as a separate registration unit; and
- (b) where a district electoral division is situate partly in one Parliamentary polling district, partly in another, or partly within and partly without any town (within the meaning of the Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1898), or ward of a borough or town, each part shall be treated as a separate registration unit; and references to parishes or parts of parishes shall be construed as references to registration units.
- (3) The expression "overseers" includes town clerks, secretaries of county councils, clerks of urban district councils, existing clerks of the union within the meaning of the Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1898, and collectors of poor rate.
- (4) The power of the registration officer in certain cases to require the over-
2313 seers to perform duties in connection with registration under this Act shall be construed in all cases as an obligation upon him to require each person holding the office of overseer to perform duties analogous to the duties which, but for the passing of this Act, would have been performed by that person by virtue of his office under the enactments relative to registration in force at the commencement of this Act.
- (5) The overseers shall be entitled to payment for services performed and expenses incurred by them in the execution of any duties under these rules. The payments shall be at such rates and shall be made at such times as may be fixed by order of the Local Government Board for Ireland under this Schedule, and any sum payable to an overseer under this provision shall be treated for the purposes of this Act as part of the expenses of the registration officer on whose requisition the services were performed or the expenses were incurred.
§ The CHIEF SECRETARY for IRELAND (Mr. Duke)
I beg to move, at the end of Rule 38 (2), to insert the words "References to the Autumn register shall be construed as references to the yearly register and references to the Spring register shall not apply."
This Amendment is consequential on the decision that there is to be only one register in the year in Ireland.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ The following Amendment stood on the Paper in the name of Mr. HEALY: At the end of Rule 38 (3), insert the words "and in the case of a Parliamentary borough comprising a municipal borough and an area outside such municipal borough the electors lists for the whole Parliamentary borough shall be prepared and furnished to the registration officer by the town clerk of such municipal borough."
If the right hon. Gentleman says that this Amendment is not necessary, I will not press it.
§ Mr. BOLAND
I beg to move, in Rule 38 (4), to leave out the words "duties analogous to."
On the Committee stage there was a discussion in which the claims put forward on behalf of the county secretaries were met to a certain extent, but it has been represented to us that the words in the Bill at present do not make their position sufficiently clear. Therefore, I propose to omit these words and in a subsequent Amendment to insert words which will make the position clear. In connection with the large increase of voters owing to the extension of the franchise to women an additional amount of work will be cast on these officers, and they have the natural fear that the words "duties analogous to" do not sufficiently cover their new duties, especially in respect to Clause 4 of the Bill. If the right hon. Gentleman cannot see his way to accept this Amendment, I trust that he will undertake in any regulations subsequently to be issued to make quite clear the position of these officers.
§ Mr. DUKE
This Amendment has been considered, and if accepted would, I am afraid, have quite unexpected results. The duties at present performed are defined in various Acts of Parliament. Secretaries of county councils, clerks of urban district councils, have duties including the preparation of supplementary lists and lists of £10 occupiers and of householders. There are minute instructions based on the existing franchise and a variety of other matters. The result of the Amendment would be to define as the general duties of these persons duties that have ceased to be performed, and there would be no provision for the performance of duties which the Act is intended to impose. With regard to new duties arising from the extension of the franchise to women I am advised that it would be a mistake in drafting, even if my hon. Friend's Amendment were valid, to specify the duties as to women franchise. It would raise questions which it is quite unnecessary to raise. I hope that my hon. Friend will accept my assurance that the words as they stand provide fully for the performance of, among other duties, those duties which arise from the enactment of woman franchise. Section 4 extends the 2315 franchise to women, and the lists of electorates which are to be prepared are to contain the names of those who are entitled to vote. The combined effect of the two provisions with the provision to which an Amendment is now moved is to impose upon the officers the duty of including the names of the women who are entitled to the franchise.
§ Mr. BOLAND
If the right hon. Gentleman finds that Regulations are necessary to make the matter clear, perhaps he would qualify his statement by saying that he will see that those Regulations are properly drafted.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. BOLAND
I beg to move, at the end of Rule 38 (4), to insert the words,
"Provided always that nothing in this Clause shall alter or vary the right of the secretaries of county councils or existing clerks of the union within the meaning of the Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1898, from requiring the collectors of poor rate to furnish to them the information hitherto furnished to them under the enactments relative to registration in force at the commencement of this Act, and to furnish the like information with respect to Section 4 of this Act."
I think that there is a difference of position between the collectors of poor rate and county secretaries. As the Clause stands these officers stand in the same relation one to another. The county secretaries are in a higher position. They will have to give directions. It is important that their position, as being superior to the collectors of poor rate, should be established, and that is the object of this Amendment.
§ Mr. DUKE
There is no original authority at present in secretaries to the county councils. The original authority, the operative authority, is that derived from the precept under which the secretaries to the county councils perform their duties. That precept will go in the future as it has gone in the past, and I am advised that he Sub-section confers the powers and the corresponding duties on all the persons concerned to do what is 2316 required of them, so that the Amendment is not necessary. If my hon. Friend thinks that it would be a satisfaction to the secretaries of the county councils, who have serious responsibilities in these matters, I am willing to add to the Subsection words providing that it shall be the duty of every such person to comply with these demands, and if the Amendment is withdrawn I am willing to move that Amendment, making clear that each of these subordinate persons is bound by the precept to discharge the duties.
§ Mr. BOLAND
On that undertaking I withdraw my Amendment and accept the words of the Chief Secretary.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Amendments made: At end of Rule 38 (4), insert the words, "And it shall be the duty of every such person to comply with those requirements."
§ In (5), leave out the words "shall be at such rates and."
§ Mr. DUKE
I beg to move, at the end of Rule 38 (5), to insert,
"(6) The reference to the authority whose officer the registration officer is, or by whom he is appointed, shall be construed as a reference to the county borough council in the case of registration units in a county borough, and as a reference to the county council in the case of registration units in an administrative county, and the register for any registration unit in an administrative county shall be arranged alphabetically in townland order if the county council consider that such arrangement is more convenient than arrangement in alphabetical order of names or in street order."
This Amendment is an endeavour, if possible, to simplify and establish uniformity in the preparation of the voters' lists. This was the subject of a great deal of discussion in Committee by my hon. Friends opposite and especially by my hon. Friend the Member for Cork. Several views were expressed, but I think that there was a general opinion that it was desirable to give facilities for taking account of the existence of streets and for providing for the preparation of these lists alphabetically, or in townland order. To make the governing factor the existence of streets would be to introduce the topic of discussion in every case as to whether a place was a street. There might be discussions as to whether a row of houses or a little cluster of houses constitutes a 2317 street or not. On the whole the conclusion arrived at is that the best method is to place the business of registration under the control of the local authority to have the right to determine as to townlands and streets and the alphabetical arrangement of names.
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, to leave out the word "if" ["townland order if the county council"], and to insert instead thereof the word "unless."
I have two Amendments, the second being to leave out the words "such arrangement is more convenient than," and to insert instead thereof the words "more convenient." The Amendment which I have down on the Paper is the one which I moved in the Committee stage, but, as it may not meet with the approval of the Chief Secretary, I move the Amendment which I have now submitted. The word "street" has been greatly discussed in regard to its meaning, but I think it is a fact that, in 999 cases out of 1,000, nobody has the smallest doubt as to what is a street. As I do not move the Amendment on the Paper, I ask the right hon. Gentleman to make some modification of the Amendment he has proposed, more or less adopting English lines. The preparation of the list in English boroughs is this: It is arranged that the list shall be prepared in street order, unless the local authority think that street order should not be adopted. That at any rate creates a presumption in favour of streets, and it lies upon anybody who has any other proposal to show that it is a better one. The criticism which I have to make on the right hon. Gentleman's Amendment is that it does not create a presumption in favour of townlands away in the country, and I ask him to create some presumption in favour of adopting town-lands in rural areas, just as he has attempted to create a presumption in favour of streets.
§ Mr. DUKE
The hon. and learned member for Cork is quite right in thinking that we have a common object here. We have very carefully considered the 2318 whole of the matters involved in this question. There is a substantial difference between the hon. Member for Cork's proposal and the proposal of the Government. The hon. Gentleman moves to substitute the word unless," making it read "unless the county council consider that more convenient'—that is, the hon. Member suggests that there shall be the other method unless the county council make a contrary determination. We ought to consider on this matter what is the weight of experience as regards the county councils. It was pointed out in Committee that the Bill which was introduced in 1908 empowered county councils to adopt townland areas, but only one county council has shown a disposition to do that. If there were a disposition to adopt town-land areas, I agree that there should be a presumption in favour of that, just as there is a presumption in favour of the course which is being taken. The county councils have not shown any such disposition, and I believe the only county council which has is the council of county Down. Therefore, I do not feel at liberty to run counter to the inclination of county councils.
§ Amendment to the proposed Amendment negatived.
§ Proposed words there inserted in the Bill.