§ Mr. M'DERMOTT (Kilkenny, N.)
I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether he is aware that the £20 rating qualification of the Portumna Union renders it impossible for the ratepayers of the Electorial Division of Coose to elect as Guardian a person resident within their own Division; that, Coose is the only division in the said Union which is scheduled as a congested district; and that the ratepayers have to search through the Union for many miles for a person to represent their Division, in which he is not rated, and therefore can have no interest; and whether an Order will be issued reducing the qualification to £5, which has been adopted as the uniform qualification of a Guardian in all the Poor Law Unions of England?
Mr. T.CURRAN (Kilkenny)
At the same time I will ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he is aware that the Tubbercurry Board of Guardians, at their meeting on the 11th instant, adopted a resolution calling on the Local Government Board for Ireland to reduce the rating qualification for Guardians in the Union to £5; will the request of the Guardians be complied with; and, if so, I how soon; and will he see that the reform asked for will be brought into 88 operation before the next annual election of Guardians?
§ Mr. BRYCE
The facts are substantially as stated, and, as I have already observed, the general question of the reduction of the qualification for the office of Poor Law Guardian is now under the consideration of the Chief Secretary, and it is expected that a decision, which will deal with the two cases now referred to, will be arrived at in full time to admit of its taking effect at the next annual election of Guardians.
§ MR. STANLEY LEIGHTON (Shropshire, Oswestry)
Is it the general opinion of the Government that a person could have no interest in the administration of the rates if he is not directly rated, or is it only applicable to Ireland?
§ MR. STANLEY LEIGHTON
But the question contains that statement, and the right hon. Gentleman said the statements in the question were true?
§ MR. M'DERMOTT
I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether he is aware that the rating qualification for a member of the Dispensary Committee in the Portumna Union is £30 per annum; that in the Division of Coose there is nobody qualified; in Drummin only three; and in the Union in general extremely few; and, as it is most important that all classes should be represented on the committee, whether an order will be issued reducing the qualification to £5, which has been adopted as the uniform qualification of a Guardian in all the Poor Law Unions of England?
§ MR. BRYCE
Under Section 7 of the Medical Charities Act of 1851 the qualification of a resident ratepayer to act as a member of the Dispensary Committee is fixed at a minimum valuation of £30, and the Local Government Board have no power to vary the qualification for this office as suggested. The Local Government Board are empowered, however, to fix the qualification for the office of Poor 89 Law Guardian; different qualifications may be provided for different Electoral Divisions, and no higher qualification than a valuation of £30 may be required. The hon. Member will observe, therefore, that the two cases are not parallel.