§ Mr. GINNELL
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he is aware that 1441W the advertisement, embodying a form of tender, issued on behalf of the Mullingar Asylum Committee, was drawn up and published, not by a subcommittee as alleged, but by Mr. T. W. Delaney, Crown Solicitor for Longford; that it was neither submitted to nor approved by any other member of the asylum committee; that it bears in its terms and in its effects hostility to local traders in ways not cognisable by an auditor nor capable of being submitted to him; whether the Local Government Board will itself consider these features; whether the Board will at the same time consider Mr. Delaney's action, contrary to all his colleagues in refusing to allow a war-protection clause in tenders, resulting in the asylum having to purchase articles at retail prices at a loss exceeding for the year £500; whether, on the Local Government (Ireland) Act coming into operation, Mr. Campbell, then Attorney-General, intimated to Mr. Delaney that, being Crown Solicitor, he could not properly continue membership of any public board or committee thereof; and whether, in view of the friction, irregularities, and loss indicated, Mr. Delaney will be required to withdraw from his position?
§ Mr. DUKE
I am informed that the draft advertisement, which did not embody a form of tender but contained conditions on which tenders were to be accepted, was discussed in all its details by the asylum committee, and there was nothing in its terms or effects that could be constructed as hostile to local traders. A local firm obtained the contract for the supply of coal. When the contracts for 1917 were under consideration it was observed that the tenders for hardware contained war-protection clauses, and the committee deferred giving these contracts until the traders were approached with the view to inducing them to delete the qualifying clause in the tenders. Representatives of the firms concerned subsequently attended a meeting of the committee, and stated that they could not see their way to enter into contracts without the protecting clauses. After discussion of the matter the tenders were rejected by the committee as informal, and the resident medical superintendent was directed to purchase any articles required at the lowest possible prices. Since then quotations have been invited for any articles required, and the cost of the articles so1442W purchased up to the present has been £97 2s. 3d. If purchased according to the prices quoted in the rejected tenders the cost would have been £100 9s. 8d. As I have already stated the decision of all questions relating to contracts is vested solely in the committee of management. Shortly after his appointment as Crown Solicitor Mr. Delaney raised the question of his continuing to be a member of the county council, of which he had been vice-chairman, and no objection was raised to his co-option.