HC Deb 18 March 1830 vol 23 cc544-5
Mr. O'Connell

presented a Petition signed by several Protestants and Catholics in the town of Galway, praying for the admission of Catholics as well as Protestants to the freedom of the Corporation of that, town. The petitioners stated, the hon. Member observed, that the right to vote for Members of Parliament had been recognized, several times, to vest in the resident burgesses, and in particular, that it was recognized by the Irish Parliament, though it was barred by the enactments of the 4th of George 1st. Now, they said, in consequence of confining this right to one class of persons, a great many, abuses had crept into the borough. They stated that, in 1819, one gentleman procured the freedom of the borough for 793 tenants of his, only one of whom was resident in the borough; the gentleman himself being a non-resident. They further stated, that large funds, in the possession of the Corporation, were not applied to the purposes for which they were intended. One man had held the office of mayor thirteen years, and another had been sheriff seven years, during a part of which he was non-resident. So bad was this system, that there were not resident magistrates sufficient to fulfil the duties of the magistracy, and the Government had been obliged to supply the deficiency. They added, that the rates of the land subject to the Corporation, were 1l. 13s. 7d. per acre whilst on the adjoining land they were only 2s. and the petitioners prayed that the House would take these matters into its serious consideration, and pass a law to admit Catholics as well as Protestants to the freedom of the borough.