§ MR. MACVEAGH (Down, S.)
To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he can state the date upon which the abstracts of the closed accounts of the respective public bodies in Ireland are required to be forwarded to the Local Government Board or their auditor preparatory to commencing audit of their accounts; the dates upon which the respective audits were commenced in respect of the half years ended 30th September 1904, and 31st March 1905; the dates upon which the respective accounts were certified as audited by the Local Government Board's auditor; the fees for such audits paid by the respective public bodies; and the salary paid to each of the seventeen Local Government Board auditors for the year ending 31st March, 1905.
(Answered by Mr. Bryce.) Article 25 of the Public Bodies Order, 1904, requires that the abstracts of the accounts of public bodies in Ireland shall be forwarded to the Local Government Board within four weeks after the close of each year or half year as the case may be. 1318 The preparation of a Return giving the information asked for in the second and third part of the Question would entail a great deal of trouble, and would occupy a considerable time. In the opinion of the Local Government Board such a Return would not serve any useful purpose, because any conclusions which might be drawn from it would be misleading for the reason that, owing to adjournments, interruptions, and the manner in which the accounts are presented, no accurate comparisons between the time occupied upon the audits of the accounts of different bodies, or even between the times occupied upon the audits of the accounts of the same authorities for successive periods can be instituted. If the hon. Member should see fit to move for a Return by counties of the fees recovered by the Local Government Board from public bodies for auditing accounts, I will offer no objection. The salaries of the auditors will be found in the Civil Service Estimates.