asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether, within a few weeks after the retirement on pension of Sir John Franks, late secretary to the Irish Land Commission, and the appointment of his successor, it was found necessary to again place the services of the former at the disposal of the Commissioners; if so, will he say for what period and upon what 1184W terms has Sir John Franks been reemployed; whether, before proceeding to make an appointment to the vacant secretaryship, the Commissioners considered the desirability of selecting for the position a person possessed of legal qualifications with practical knowledge and experience of the working of the Irish land laws; and if the successor to Sir John Franks is so qualified?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
Since Sir John Franks's retirement from office the Irish Land Commissioners have obtained authority to call upon his services as expert adviser on matters of finance and administration, in which he has a unique experience; and particularly for the purpose, of bringing to a conclusion certain important matters which were pending when he resigned office. This arrangement holds good to 31st March of next year, and the emolument is at the rate of £300 a year. Sir John Franks's retirement was due to ill-health, occasioned in large measure by the strain of overwork, but his health has considerably improved since he was relieved of the heavy burden of his office. When accepting Sir John Franks's resignation, and before considering the selection of his successor, the Commissioners having regard to the long and valuable experience possessed by Sir John Franks, decided upon the desirability of retaining his services in a temporary capacity for a limited period, if and so far as his health might permit. The Commissioners consider that the gentleman whom they, with the approval of the Lord Lieutenant, appointed as their secretary possesses in a marked degree the qualifications and experience necessary for the post, and he has since proved his competency to their entire satisfaction.