700th ARTICLE – FIRST ANNUAL REPORT OF THE NAAS TOWN COMMISSIONERS

by jdurney on May 18, 2011

The Kildare Observer, February 22, 1890

FIRST ANNUAL REPORT OF THE NAAS TOWN COMMISSIONERS

ELECTED UNDER THE TOWNS’ IMPROVEMENT ACT 1854,
FOR THE YEAR ENDING APRIL 30, 1856,
READ AT THE ANNUAL MEETING HELD ON JUNE 8, 1856.

In drawing up this their first Report, the Commissioners are anxious to give the rate-payers the fullest information regarding their proceedings for the past year – to point out the improvements effected, and to submit a statement of the receipts and expenditure, together with their present liabilities.
“His Excellency the Lord Lieutenant having been pleased to approve of Naas being placed under the “Towns’ improvement (Ireland) Act, 1854,” and directed that nine Commissioners should be elected by the rate-payers, a meeting was convened on the 3rd of March, 1855, for the purpose of electing said Commissioners. The turmoil of an election was happily avoided, as the following Commissioners were unanimously appointed, viz:- Messrs, James Farrell, Christopher Clarke, John Hickey, Edward Hanlon, Robert S. Hayes, William McEvoy, John Blowney, Patrick Farrell and James Kellett.
On the 5th of March, 1855, the Commissioners held their first meeting, and after each member making the declaration required by the Act, proceeded to elect their Chairman for the succeeding year. John Hickey, Esq, was elected to fill that office, after which they proceeded to form the rotation list, the object of which is to fix the Commissioners that go out of office each year. The annual meeting for electing Commissioners is to be held in October of each year, at which meeting three members retire, and three more are to be elected in their place – the out-going members being eligible to be re-elected.
The Commission have much pleasure in stating that during the year the utmost harmony prevailed at the Board – each member using his best exertions to carry out the intentions of the legislature with fairness, justice and impartiality.
Mr John Clinch was appointed Town Clerk, at a salary of £20 a year, and Mr Patrick Lawler, Inspector of Nuisances, at £10 per annum. The first matters that occupied the attention of the commissioners were – the inspection and regulation of lodging-houses, the licensing of hackney cars, and the preparation of bye-laws for their regulation.
From a recent report of the Town Clerk and Inspector, the lodging-houses, with one or two exceptions, are generally clean. The inhabitants were next called on by public notice to have the footways and pavements before their doors swept every morning before 8 o’clock, pursuant to the requirements of the act; and the Commissioners are happy to say the request was very generally acceded to, and that a great improvement in the cleanliness of the town has been the result.
The bye-laws and regulations for the hackney cars were, after much consideration, adopted by the Commissioners; and being submitted to the Lord Lieutenant were approved of by him, and then came into operation. The bye-laws were printed together with a scale of charges, and the distances to all places within seven miles of the town; every car-driver being bound to have a copy, and to produce it when called on; and although the commissioners were extremely liberal in regulating the fares to be charged, they regret to say the car proprietors and drivers have not co-operated with them in carrying out their bye-laws.
The public should therefore provide themselves with a copy of said bye-laws, and in case of over charge or misconduct, report the circumstances to the Town Clerk, who will take steps to have the party offending punished. The Commissioners have used every exertion to have the cars at Sallins Station kept in proper range on a stand appointed for that purpose, and approved by the Directors of the Great Southern and Western Railway; but, notwithstanding that several of the owners and drivers have been fined for violations of the bye-laws, they still continue to crowd around the entrance to the station-house, to the great inconvenience of the public. The Commissioners will continue their exertions to remedy this evil – but they regret to say they have from the commencement been systematically opposed by some of the owners and drivers of cars in their efforts to carry out the intentions of the Act of Parliament.
On the 4th of April, the Commissioners advertised for tenders for cleansing the streets and lanes of the town, but no application was sent in. They ezpected [sic], for the sake of manure, some person would have engaged to sweep the streets once a week. Having no funds at this time in their hands, the Commissioners were unable to employ men to do so; they hope, however, after some time, to appoint scavengers and have the town kept clean. It is not perhaps, generally known that the Commissioners have the exclusive right to sweep the streets, lanes, and fair-green, and remove the manure – and can convey that power to any person entering into a contract with them for that purpose.
The Commissioners, finding that they could do little without funds, resolved on making their first assessment. For this purpose Mr Peter Doyle, civil engineer, was employed to make a map of the town and boundary, and also to arrange a tenement valuation, which map and valuation lies at the office of the Commissioners, and are open at appointed times for the inspection of any rate-payer affected thereby.
A sum of £25 12s 1, the balance of a race fund having lain in the hands of Thomas de Burg, Esq, for some years, an authority was given to Mr de Burg to pay over said sum to the Commissioners towards purchasing and execting [sic] an ouncil in the town; and a vacant piece of ground lying in the centre of the street, suitable for the erection of a market-house or town-hall, being available, it was resolved to take said ground from Thomas de Burg, Esq, at a yearly rent of £5, and to erect on said ground the ouncil and weigh-house. The ouncil which has been purchased at a cost of £28, has proved a great convenience and accommodation to the public, and will, there is no doubt, soon clear itself, after which its proceeds will go in aid of the town-rate. The weigh-house at present seems rather detached and unseemly, but it is so arranged that as soon as a building is erected on the plot of ground it will be covered in and hid from public view. The Commissioners look forward with confidence to the “Fair and Market Bill” passing into law when they hope to be enabled to erect a market-house in the centre of the town, thereby bringing the markets into the centre of the town, instead of having them in backward and inconvenient localities, as at present.
On the 7th June, the Commissioners caused application to be made at the Special Sessions, for a presentment towards flagging one side of the street (that leading from Kavanagh’s corner to the chapel); also, for making a new sewer in the back lane, and setting a number of granite grates in room of the iron ones which had been stolen from time to time. The presentments having been granted, the Commissioners became in the name of their clerk, the contractors, and said works have been well and permanently done, and approved of by the County Surveyor. The flagging is acknowledged by all to be a great and lasting improvement to the town. It appears in rather an unfinished state at present, but this is owing to the irregularity of the houses. The Commissioners propose shortly directing their attention to this subject, and completing the flagging into the houses, the expense of which will be defrayed by the occupier, and assessed as private improvement rate under the 66th section of the “Towns’ Improvement Act.” The Commissioners expect in a year or two to have the other side of the street similarly flagged.
The new sewer which has been made in the back lane is intended for carrying off drainage, &c., of the adjoining yards; and if the occupiers do not, when called on, to the satisfaction of the Commissioners, make proper sewers to empty into the main sewer, the Commissioners will be obliged to perform the work the work [sic] themselves, for the preservation of the health of the neighbourhood, and charge the expense th
ereof to the occupier, as a private improvement rate.
The new granite grates are a vast improvement on the old iron ones, and do not hold out the same inducement for paltry theft; but, unless parties before whose houses they are placed, will keep them swept, clean and free from stones and other lodgements, they will, of course, become choked and of little use.
The Commissioners also obtained two presentments at the last Special Sessions; one for making a new sewer from the main-street to the canal harbour – the other for making a paved channel along the new line of flagging. When this is done, and the flagging made perfect into the houses, the Commissioners flatter themselves it will be as creditable and useful a piece of work as has been done in any country town for many years.
The Commissioners finding as they proceed that they occasionally required the assistance and advice of a solicitor, on the 27th June, unanimously appointed Richard Ennis, Esq., their solicitor. There is no salary attached to the office but merely payment for what ever business he may be called on to transact.
The Commissioners having long felt, the great necessity there was for supplying the people of Naas (especially the poor), with pure spring water, resolved on erecting two public pumps. Sites were chosen at either end of the town, and contracts entered into for sinking the wells, and furnishing and erecting pumps. In a matter of this kind they decided on having the best metal pumps. Having advertised for tenders, they selected Messers Paul and Vincent, as being the cheapest, and having already given much satisfaction in the erection of the ouncil. These pumps are acknowledged to be a great benefit and accommodation to the poor. Hitherto they were obliged to use the filthy water of the streame [sic], which carries off the drainage from the barracks, and workhouse, whereas they are now supplied with spring water of the best and purest description, so that in a sanitary point of view it must be of the utmost importance. Owing to the pump on the fair green being likely to be injured by cattle on fair days, they caused a strong wall to be built round it; the pump in the other end of the town being in a more public situation they propose having granite stones with chains placed round it, which, when done, will be not only useful but ornamental.
The assessment book being prepared, and all the necessary notices given, the commissioners, on the 17th December, 1855 made a rate of 8d in the £ on all houses, and of 5d in the £ on all houses within the boundary. The whole amount of rateable property within the boundary, £4,253 24s on land, and £2,732 13s on buildings. So that after deducting unoccupied houses and places that are exempt, the total rate is £126, of which sum £115 has been collected.
The accounts which accompany this report will show how the money received has been expended. The Commissioners regret that they should appear before the public in debt, but their anxiety to serve and improve the town induced them to do more than the state of their finances justified, besides the flagging was much more expensive than they anticipated, caused by the great demand for flags at the Curragh camp. It will be seen by the account that there has been no extravagance – no litigation or unnecessary expenditure; in proof of which they would merely mention that whilst the expense of carrying the Towns’ Improvement Act into operation at Kingstown was £100, and at Carlow £60 17s, as appears by their published reports; in Naas the expense did not amount to £5.
On the 3rd of September the Commissioners addressed a communication to the Board of Ordnance, on the exposed and neglected state of the North Moat, and suggested that a wall should be built round it, to keep it from falling in on the road. An engineer was sent to inspect it, after which some improvement was attempted, by sloping off the sides; but the same evil exists – it is constantly crumbling and falling on the road – choking up the water course, and proving a great nuisance to the public. The Commissioners will draw the attention of the Board of Ordnance again to this subject, and trust by the time they make their next report, they will succeed in having a wall built, as it is the only thing will remedy the evil complained of.
The Chairman of the Commissioners having been appointed by the Lord Chancellor a justice of the peace, the Commissioners addressed a communication to the Inspector General of the Constabulary, requesting that all cases cognisable under the Towns’ Improvement Act, should be brought before him or the magistrates at Petty Sessions, by the constabulary in the name of the Commissioners, as by the act all fines go to the Commissioners in aid of the town rate. The Inspector-General of Constabulary replied that the constabulary cannot legally act so, except in cases in which they are expressly required to do so under the act. The Commissioners are of a different opinion, and have memorialled [sic] the Lord Lieutenant on the subject, and the matter is still under consideration.
A portion of the militia stationed in Naas, having, in the course of last year, disturbed the quiet of the town, by riotous and disorderly conduct, the Commissioners reported the matter to the authorities and had them removed.
Being obliged by the act of parliament to lodge our funds in bank, and make all payments by cheque, we appointed Messrs La Touche and Co., Castle-street, our bankers .The contracts which have been entered into during the year, are as follows;-
Mr Peter Doyle, to supply maps and tenement valuation.
Messers Paul and Vincent, to supply and erect ouncil and two metal pumps.
Messers Hanlon and Whittle, supplying granite kerbing.
Mr Ronayne, Bagnalstown, to supply flags.
Mr Rankins, to set flagging and make sewers.
Mr John Kelly, to sink wells.
Mr Cantwell, to make office press.

Previous post:

Next post: