HL Deb 10 February 1848 vol 96 cc365-7

, according to notice, moved for a return of all the unions in Ireland where the boards of guardians had been superseded, and paid officers appointed. The noble Lord was understood as supporting his Motion on the necessity of examining the operation of the clause of the Act which gave this power of appointing paid guardians; the administration of the law being extremely difficult in Ireland, where the system had been introduced for the first time.


had no objection to granting the return. He entirely agreed with the noble Earl that the extent to which it had been necessary to call into operation this part of the Act, required watching with particular attention. There had been no undue disposition on the part of the Commissioners to exercise this power; it had been principally applied in two cases—that of very large unions, and where the guardians themselves had desired to be relieved of their duties, from a conviction that strangers would discharge them more efficiently, as being less liable to charges of partiality. The Commissioners had received instructions to use the utmost caution in the selection of the paid officers, and he had no doubt those instructions had been carried out. He bore testimony to the readiness with which the Irish proprietors, with some exceptions, had seconded the endeavours of the Government to provide employment for the people, by applying for loans for the improvement of the land under the Act of last year. The amount applied for was 2,460,000l.; of these 896 applications, amounting to 1,068,250l.; had been sanctioned by the Government. The noble Marquess concluded by expressing his conviction that the Poor Law Commissioners would use their utmost efforts to bring back the practice in relation to the relief of the poor to a system more consistent with the genius and spirit of the constitution. He had not the slightest hesitation in agreeing to the production of the papers.


said, that no part of the Irish Poor Law had undergone more discussion than the question whether the rate should be levied upon the electoral divisions or unions; and, if paid functionaries wholly unconnected with the localities superseded the unpaid guardians, they might introduce a different mode of rating. He agreed with the Government that, although it was desirable that the poor-law should be administered by local guardians, it was impossible to dispense with the power of superseding them and appointing paid guardians; but he wished to know whether the paid guardians were to exercise any additional powers?


said, they would stand upon the same footing as the other guardians.

Motion agreed to.

House adjourned.

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