Irish Office.

Oral Answers to Questions — Housing. – in the House of Commons on 2nd August 1922.

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Lieut.-Colonel Sir F. HALL:

43.

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland why two assistant under-secretaries are employed in the Irish Office as compared with one in 1921–22; who is the additional secretary; when was he appointed and for what purpose; and if he will state why provision is made for the payment of salaries for a full year to these officials, while in the case of the Chief Secretary only six months' provision is made in the Estimates?

Photo of Mr Hamar Greenwood Mr Hamar Greenwood , Sunderland

In reply to the first and third parts of the question, I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply which I gave to a similar question addressed to me by the hon. and gallant Member for Leith on 27th July last, in which I made it clear that it is not the case that two assistant undersecretaries are employed in the Irish Office. In reply to the second part, the additional assistant under-secretary is Mr. Mark Sturgis, who is head of the Irish Office staff, the other assistant under-secretary, Mr. Cope, being employed in Dublin. As I have previously stated, the Irish Office staff, in addition to advising me in the matters for which I am responsible to Parliament, advises my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies in the Irish matters for which he is responsible, and for this purpose it is anticipated that their services will be required at least until the expiration of the current financial year.

Sir F. HALL:

Considering the enormous number of duties that have been taken away from the Irish Office, and placed in the Colonial Office, why is it necessary to appoint an additional secretary?

Photo of Captain William Benn Captain William Benn , Leith

Can the Chief Secretary tell us at all whether there is any hope in the near or distant future that the office of Chie. Secretary and the attendant expenses will disappear from the Estimates?

Photo of Mr Hamar Greenwood Mr Hamar Greenwood , Sunderland

As I have repeatedly said "On the earliest possible occasion."

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley , Fylde

Why, in view of the answer, does Mr. Cope not take his orders from the Chief Secretary instead of from the Colonial Secretary? Surely the person who pays the official ought to give him his orders?

Photo of Mr Hamar Greenwood Mr Hamar Greenwood , Sunderland

Mr. Cope is paid by Vote of this House. He is a civil servant of the British Civil Service loaned for special duty in Ireland. He takes his orders from the Irish Secretary in matters relevant to the Chief Secretary's office, and from the Colonial Secretary in matters relevant to the Colonial Office.

Sir F. HALL:

Is he charged on the Vote of the right hon. Gentleman?

Photo of Mr Hamar Greenwood Mr Hamar Greenwood , Sunderland

Yes, he is on my Estimates in reference to his duties in connection with Ireland.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley , Fylde

Suppose Mr. Cope gets one order from the Irish Secretary and another from the Colonial Secretary, whom is he to obey?

Mr. SPEAKER:

The Government is supposed to be a united one!