HL Deb 04 June 1875 vol 224 cc1395-7

rose to call the attention of the House to the appointment of the salaries of certain sanitary officers in Ireland by sealed orders of the Local Government Board (Ireland,) and to move for a Return of the names of Boards of Guardians of the Poor in Ireland who have objected to such appointments. It seemed to him that under existing Acts of Parliament the powers given to the Local Government Board in Ireland were almost despotic, and those powers were occasionally exercised in a very arbitrary manner as against Boards of Guardians. No doubt some of the Boards of Guardians in Ireland proposed to fix the salaries of the newly appointed sanitary officers, in the first instance, at a very small sum. This they did because the duties were certainly very light, and because the Boards wished, before committing themselves to larger salaries, to have practical experience of the duties which those officers would have to perform. The Local Government Board, which could not have the same knowledge of the state of facts as was possessed by Guardians living in the particular locality, had interfered by sealed orders to compel the Unions to pay the salaries which it thought ought to be paid. A Board of Guardians of which he was a member had been slighted and insulted in that way.

Moved that there be laid before this House, Return of the names of Boards of Guardians of the Poor in Ireland who have objected to the appointment of sanitary officers in Ireland by sealed orders of the Local Government Board.—(The Viscount Lifford.)


said, that before the question was disposed of he would like to say one or two words. He need not assure the noble Viscount (Viscount Lifford) that if it were in his power to give his Motion any assistance he would gladly do so; and therefore he trusted that he would bear with him when he said that having listened as attentively as he could to what the noble Viscount called his grievance he considered that it was not proved. He would speak of the Boards of Guardians with which he was connected. The Sanitary Act came into operation last October, and the Boards of Guardians were required to carry it into effect. There was an indisposition on the part of his Board to pay the officers employed what was considered to be a sufficient remuneration. The Board fixed a low scale and the Local Government Board in Dublin fixed a high scale, and they came to an arrangement which must be felt to be most satisfactory. Since October, 300 notices had been served and the far greater part had been satisfactorily arranged without any legal proceeding; and therefore he thought it was unwise and unfair to blame the Local Government Board in Dublin for being arbitrary and unjust. He would not detain their Lordships further, but he thought he should not be doing his duty if he had not stated this much. The Local Government Board exercised a certain control over the Boards of Guardians, and in Ireland all Boards required that there should be a certain amount of authority over them.


said, that this matter had caused much irritation in Ireland, and great dissatisfaction and discontent prevailed amongst the Boards of Guardians—therefore, he felt much obliged to his noble Friend (Viscount Lifford) for bringing the subject before their Lordships.


said, he thought the noble Earl (the Earl of Dartrey) could hardly be acquainted with the operation of the Act all over Ireland; and as to the remarks of the noble Lord (Lord Lurgan), who desired some check to be placed over the Boards in Ireland, those remarks might be applied to England as well as to Ireland. As to the noble Viscount's speech, he (the Duke of Richmond) must enter his solemn protest against the statement that the Local Government Board in Dublin had slighted and insulted the Boards of Guardians in Ireland. That statement was not borne out by the evidence in the case, and he contended that neither slight nor insult had been passed upon the Board of Guardians of which the noble Viscount was chairman; and further, he would state that neither had been passed upon the Boards of Guardians of that country. The noble Viscount, feeling that he had not a strong case, had almost given it up before he concluded his observations. It appeared that there were in Ireland 205 urban and rural sanitary authorities, and out of that number it had only been found necessary to put the compulsory powers into operation in 32 cases. As regarded the Board of Guardians referred to, the Local Government Board had remonstrated with them upon two occasions, and had told them that if they did not revise the scale of salaries it would become necessary to issue a sealed order; and therefore, upon the facts, he considered that the noble Viscount was not correct in the view which he had taken of the case. He did not think, as the Government proposed to give the noble Viscount the Return which he asked for, he would be justified in saying more at present.


, in reply, was understood to contend that upon the evidence before the House the Board of Guardians over which he presided had been slighted and insulted by the Local Government Board in Dublin.

Motion agreed to.