Clancy v Valuation Comrs

Judgment Date30 January 1911
Date30 January 1911
CourtKing's Bench Division (Ireland)
Clancy and Others
The Commissioneli of Valuation
Respondent (1).

K. B. Div.











Poor rate — Exemption — Hereditaments used exclusively for charitable purposes — 15 & 16 Vict. c. 63, s. 1617 & 18 Vict c. 8, s. 2.

The appellants were trustees of a Temperance Hall, built, out of moneys raised by public subscription, with the object of promoting temperance among the poor and labouring classes of the town of Sligo and neighbouring districts, and for their moral and material advancement and improvement. There was no trust deed relating to the Hall. The Hall was used as follows: a person first coming to the Hall was expected to pay an entrance fee of 1s., and every person using the Hall was expected to pay 2d. per week, and was “put on his honour” to pay these sums if he could afford to do so; but persons of the class the Hall was intended for were not obliged to pay these sums whether they could afford them or not. More than half of the persons using the Hall paid these fees. Men playing billiards or cards, or taking a bath, were expected to pay certain small sums, but not bound to pay them even if they could afford. Most person playing billiards or cards, or taking baths, paid these sums. The sums received from the above sources were applied towards the upkeep of the Hall (which was not self-supporting), and in giving aid to persons who frequented it and were in temporary distress. There was a heavy building debt on the Hall, and to try and pay this off the trustees held occasional concerts and theatrical performances in the Hall, to which outsiders were admitted on payment for seats. The proceeds were applied in reducing the building debt.

Held, that the original object was charitable; that an exclusively charitable user would not be affected by the incidental concerts and theatrical performances, nor by small payments made by persons directly within the charitable object; but that the substantial payments made for the use of the Hall by persons not within the charitable object, made the user not exclusively charitable, and the Hall, therefore, was not exempt from assessment for poor-rate.

Case Stated, pursuant to 23 Vict. c. 4, by the County Court Judge and Chairman of Quarter Sessions for the county of Sligo upon the hearing of an appeal under sect. 22 of the Valuation (Ireland) Act, 1852, in respect of a building known as “The

Sligo Temperance Hall,” appearing in the revised valuation list made and signed by the Commissioner of Valuation; the appeal being on the ground that the building was not rateable, it being used exclusively for charitable purposes. The appeal was heard at the Michaelmas Quarter Sessions, the County Court Judge being the only Justice who sat.

The material statements in the case were as follows:—

“The appellants are the trustees of the Gilhooly Memorial Temperance Hall, Sligo (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Hall’), which was erected in memory of the late Dr. Gilhooly, formerly Roman Catholic Bishop of Elphin, and is situated on the south side of John Street, Sligo, opposite the Roman Catholic Cathedral.

“The Hall is a large edifice built of stone, and completed in the month of May, 1906, at a cost of about £6000. It was built out of moneys raised by public subscription (so far as it has been paid for), but a debt of about £3500 remains due for the building to the Provincial Bank, by whom same was provided, with interest at £4 per cent, per annum. The Hall is managed by the appellants, who are the trustees thereof.

“The object of building the Hall was to promote temperance among the poor and labouring classes of the town of Sligo and the surrounding districts, and for the moral and material advancement of these classes, and to improve them; and the attainment of this object was and is sought by providing amusements, recreation, and learning in the Hall in the manner hereinafter set out, and the Hall was opened for these purposes immediately after its completion. The idea of the trustees and those who built the Hall is that, by providing amusement, recreation, lectures, and learning in a well-lit, well-warmed, and comfortable hall, they will win these classes of the people from drink, and the streets and street corners, and improve them—mentally, morally, and materially.

“The way in which the Hall is used is as follows:—When a man first comes to the Hall, he is expected, and he is told that he is expected, to pay an entrance fee of one shilling; but, provided that he is of the class for whom the Hall was built, and that he will take the temperance pledge, and undertake to cultivate temperance, he is not obliged to pay this entrance fee of one shilling, whether he can afford to do so or not. In the same way, each person using the Hall is expected, and told that he is expected, to pay the sum of two pence per week for the use of the Hall; but he is not obliged to pay this sum, whether he can afford to do so or not, provided that he is of the class that the Hall is intended for, and that he takes the temperance pledge, and undertakes to cultivate temperance. As regards the shilling entrance fee and the two pence weekly, the men using the Hall and who can afford to pay these sums are ‘put upon their honour’ to pay them, but no one has been or is refused admission to the use of the Hall who desires to enter and use it, even though he refuses to pay the entrance fee of one shilling or the two pence weekly or both, and even though it is known that he can afford to pay them, provided that he is of the class the Hall is for, and that he takes the pledge, and undertakes to cultivate temperance. Since the Hall was opened in 1906 more than half of those using it have paid the one shilling entrance and the two pence weekly. In the billiard-rooms, each man who plays a game of billiards is expected to pay two pence for each game, but he is not obliged to do so, even though he can afford it. In the card-room, each man who plays a game of cards is expected to pay a small sum towards the purchase of the cards which are provided, but he is not bound to pay this sum, even though he can afford to do so. Most of those playing billiards and cards do pay these sums. In the bath-room, each man who has a bath is expected to pay two pence for it, but he is not obliged to pay it. Most of those taking baths do pay the two pence. No payment is expected or taken for the use of the library and reading-room and the books and papers therein, or for the use of the ball-alley and gymnasium. In the large hall a National school is conducted on four evenings in the week, and books and school requisites are provided free. These night-schools are attended by newsboys, errand-boys, and apprentices, who work during the day, and by grown-up persons whose education has been neglected, and they are conducted by four teachers approved of by an inspector of the National Education Board, and paid by the National Education Board through one of the trustees. In one of the rooms off the entrance hall a branch of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, which is a society for relieving the destitute poor, is allowed to hold its weekly meetings free of charge. On every Wednesday evening lectures are given in the large hall on various subjects of interest by distinguished scientific and professional men, who come to lecture at the request of the trustees from various parts of Ireland. These lectures are free, except that on a few occasions the men who attend the Hall have been asked to give two pence or one penny each towards the expenses of the lectures, and some of these men have done so. A. Gaelic class is held once a week, on Saturdays, in the large hall, and in winter classes are held for the study of Irish history and Gaelic on other evenings, and these are all free of charge. The Hall as never been, nor has any part of it ever been, let to outsiders. The building debt of £3500 and the interest thereon is a heavy obligation, and the trustees, in order to try and pay off this debt and the interest, have had five concerts in the large hall in each year since the Hall was opened; and on a few occasions the trustees, with the same object, have had theatricals in the large hall; and at these concerts and theatricals sums of two shillings and one shilling per seat, according to the seats, were charged to outsiders who do not frequent the Hall, and at some of the concerts and some of the theatricals those who frequent the Hall were let in free, and at some they were charged half-price. At one particular concert five shillings per seat was charged to outsiders. The proceeds of these concerts and theatricals were applied to reducing the building debt. No food or drink of any description is sold or supplied in the Hall or in any part of it. Fires are kept lit in all the principal rooms in winter and in cold weather. There is a band attached to the Hall which plays in temperance processions, and plays in the large hall to amuse the frequenters of it, free of charge, and there is a bandmaster, who is paid to teach the band. There is also a librarian, who is paid. The caretaker only lives on the premises.

“A substantial sum is obtained in each year from the above-mentioned sums paid for entrance fees, weekly payments, games and baths. These sums are applied in paying for the upkeep of the Hall, the wages of the caretaker, bandsman, and librarian, for newspapers, for the cleansing of the Hall, for gas, fuel, towels, and soap for the baths, and also in giving aid to men who frequent the Hall, and who are in temporary distress. But these sums are insufficient for the upkeep of the Hall, and the Hall could not be carried on as it is but for public subscriptions.

“There is no trust-deed or instrument of trust relating to the Hall.

“I decided that said Hall is...

To continue reading

Request your trial
14 cases

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT