HC Deb 10 August 1909 vol 9 cc378-9W

asked the Chief Secretary whether he is aware that inspectors of the Local Government Board for Ireland are in the habit of ignoring Article 39 of the regulations made under the Labourers Act, 1906, which provides that the services of local shorthand writers are to be employed where available at inquiries; whether the appointment of reporters is made in consultation with the local authorities who have to pay for their services; and whether he will instruct the inspectors in future strictly to carry out the terms of Article 39 and take into consideration the views of the local authorities in this matter?


The hon. Member presumably refers to Article 49 of the Regulations under the Labourers (Ireland) Act, 1906, which prescribes the scale of payment for shorthand writers and the travelling expenses to be allowed in cases "where competent local shorthand writers are not available." When a rural district council express a wish that a particular shorthand writer should be employed the Local Government Board communicate their desire to the inspector appointed to hold the inquiry, and if he is satisfied that the local shorthand writer is competent and experienced he is, as a rule, employed. The notes of evidence are primarily for the information of the inspector to enable him to make his award, and a very high degree of proficiency and knowledge of the Acts is essential to secure a verbatim report of the evidence at these inquiries, where the witnesses, who are generally labourers, give their evidence with volubility and rapidity. It does not always happen that the local shorthand writer possesses the requisite qualifications. In these circumstances the Board cannot safely lay down any rigid rule binding the inspectors in the selection of local reporters.