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Valuation (Ireland) Act Amendment Bill—Bill, 134

Volume 220: debated on Monday 22 June 1874

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( Mr. William Henry Smith, Sir Michael Hicks-Beach.)

Second Reading

Order for Second Reading read.

, in moving that the Bill be now read the second time, said, that among other objects, it proposed to give power to increase the salaries of the officers of the Valuation Department, and to provide for a more satisfactory distribution of the charge for revising the valuation over the Irish counties. At present, there was no power to give any officer of the Civil Service in Ireland more than 20s. a-day. In accordance with the recommendation of the Committee which sat last year in Dublin it was proposed to raise the salaries of some of these officers to an amount exceeding 20s. per day. The result of the measure would be to effect a saving of £2,500 a-year to the counties interested, and at the same time it would tend to secure increased efficiency and a better and more successful administration of the law than at present existed. In conclusion, he would move the second reading of the Bill.

Motion made, and question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—( Mr. William Henry Smith.)

objected to the clause which gave power to the Commissioners at the end of seven years to make such alterations in the sums specified in the Schedules as they might think proper, and hoped it would be struck out of the Bill.

said, he thought the Bill ought not to be passed without some criticism, because he considered that the gentlemen whose salaries it was proposed to increase already received the largest amount of pay for the least amount of work of any public servants in Ireland. The total payment made for what was called the revision of valuation in 1867 was £22,000 a-year, and its cost was enormously in excess of the value of the work done, and the valuation itself was not real, valid, or bonâ fide. As an instance, he complained that while for the valuation of the City of Dublin there was only a sum of £200 entered in the Schedule, for the revision of the small county of Sligo a sum of £210 was entered. He could not see how the Bill could promote economy, and although he should not oppose the second reading, yet he hoped that the Schedule of the expenses to be incurred would be revised.

thought the House need not feel much alarm at that small increase of expenditure. The three Civil Service Commissioners who were under the Control of the Treasury had investigated the circumstances, and he had the most perfect confidence that if they recommended an increase of salaries it must be imperatively called for. The Bill was a decided improvement in the direction of doing justice to excellent officers, and of lightening the expense of the work done in the counties which were benefited.

protested against the principle which took from the local bodies in Ireland all control over local taxation, and transferred it to a central Department in Dublin as monstrous and unjustifiable. If the Bill went into Committee, would the Chief Secretary for Ireland introduce Amendments for the protection of the local bodies?

said, he was surprised at the opposition made by the Irish Members. The principle of the Bill was, that instead of asking the Irish local authorities to contribute as they now did, £10,400 a-year, the Government asked them to contribute £8,000 a-year, and they would take upon themselves the additional burden. He thought the Bill would prove a boon to the community in Ireland and tend to increase what was much required, the salaries of the officers in the Irish Civil Service. The increase of salary asked for on behalf of the staff engaged on this survey was not more than fair, and he believed the House could not be unwilling to grant it. He hoped the Amendment would not be pressed.

said, the Bill might be said to have sprung from an agitation got up within the last few years with a view of improving the condition of the Irish Civil servants. If there were one office more than another which required great improvement in the remuneration received by the Civil servants there, it was the Valuation Department. The Bill gave no more than a fair increase of salaries to the Civil servants in Ireland, and he hoped it would meet with the approval of the House.

said, he was not aware that any objection had been made by any Irish Member to the proposed addition to these salaries. The complaint was that the staff employed was too large. He objected also to the control of the matter being taken away from the grand jury.

Bill read a second time, and committed for Thursday.