§ CAPTAIN DONELAN
On behalf of the hon. Member for North Longford (Mr. JUSTIN MCCARTHY), I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1) whether he is aware that, owing to serious defalcations and frauds on the part of the late senior clerk of the Edgwarthstown Loan Fund Society, the Loan Fund Board in Dublin dissolved that Society about a year ago; (2) whether the books of the Society were regularly inspected by the Loan Fund Inspector, who failed to perceive irregularities in the accounts, and expressed no disapproval of the system of management; and (3) whether, having regard to the fact that, owing to the dissolution of the Society and the difficulty of collecting outstanding debts by a receiver, who now desires to be relieved of his duties, the debenture holders are likely to be heavy losers, any relief or compensation will be given to them for the loss of securities through defalcations and frauds which the Inspector of the Loan Fund Board, a body constituted by statute, and whose officers are Government officials, failed, from negligency or other cause, to detect for a long period of time?
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
The facts, I am informed, are as stated in the first paragraph. The books of the Society were examined periodically by the Inspector of the Loan Fund Board, and, consequent upon his reports to the Board, communications were addressed to the Trustees and Committee of the Society on the 10th March 1893, 21st March 1894, and 11th March 1895, directing their attention to various irregularities in its management and the conduct of the late clerk. As regards the third paragraph, I must repeat that neither the officers of the Loan. Fund Board nor those of the local societies working in connection with the Board are civil servants of the Crown, and that Government exercises no control over the proceedings of the Board or of the local bodies. The Government cannot accept any responsibility in the matter, and cannot relieve or compensate debenture 976 holders who may sustain loss under circumstances such as indicated in the Question.