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Disqualified Irish District Councillors

Volume 92: debated on Monday 1 April 1901

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I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether, in view of the decision given in the then Queen's Bench to the, effect that the action of the Local Government Board in disqualifying occupants of labourers cottages from being district councillors was ilegal, he will have steps taken to remove the co-opted member the from those councils on which they now act, and have qualified members restored to their rightful positions.

The Local Government Board has been advised that occupants of labourers' cottages who acquiesced in the view of the law that they were disqualified for being rural district councillors and in the action of district councils in declaring their offices vacant and co-opting other persons in their stead, and who failed to take steps to have the question settled by the High Court, have now no right to oust the councillors co-opted in their place. It is open to the rural district councils, if they wish, to choose any such disqualified councillors to fill the next vacancies on the councils.

Is it not a fact that the district council was compelled by the Local Government Board to disqualify these men and co-opt others in their place? Why should the responsibility, then, be put on its shoulders?

That is not my reading of the matter. As I understand it, a new view of the law was laid down by the recent decision in the King's Bench. It is impossible to re-open what took place before that decision was given.

But as these district councillors were illegally removed by the order of the Local Government Board, were not their successors illegally co-opted?

Is it not a fair inference to draw from what has occurred that the district councils should never acquiesce in the legal views of the Irish Local Government Board?

[No answer was returned.]