I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether the Local Government Board have sanctioned the appointment of an uncertificated bankrupt to the clerkship of the Lismore Union; whether the person appointed was connected with the Tallow conspiracy; and, if so, whether there is any precedent for the appointment of an undischarged bankrupt to such a position.
It is the fact that the clerk in question was, more than four years ago, in company with a number of other persons, cast in heavy damages in a civil action for what was known as the Tallow conspiracy, and was made a
bankrupt in respect of the judgment debt and costs. I am not aware of any former precedent, but the Local Government Board, after full consideration and seeing the clerk in question, have not thought fit to refuse their sanction to the appointment.† See (4) Debates, clxxiv., 581.
May I ask what circumstances have arisen to justify that action in view of the fact that the late Chief Secretary (Mr. Bryce) refused to sanction the appointment of a man guilty of a criminal conspiracy.
Since that time the case has received fuller consideration.
Does he remain an undischarged bankrupt?
The hon. Gentleman does not say that at all, but there are circumstances connected with every case which require consideration and the debt in respect of which this man was made a bankrupt was of such a character as to amount to the perpetual exclusion of him for life from any such service as this. After full consideration the Local Government Board came to the conclusion that they saw no reason why, in this particular case at all events, sanction should not be given.
Then the right hon. Gentleman does not deny that the man was guilty of a criminal conspiracy?
No. Damages were recovered in the civil action.
Will the right hon. Gentleman state what were the reasons given by the Court for declining to give him his discharge in bankruptcy?
I should like to have notice of that Question. But I quite agree that the refusal may have been made when application was made to obtain his discharge, but even as to that I am not quite sure. All I can say is that I gave the matter a most careful consideration. I have seen the gentleman in question. I placed myself in communication with him and I came to the conclusion that he was a perfectly qualified person to discharge the duties of this office to which he was nominated, not by me but by the Board.