HC Deb 14 February 1838 vol 40 cc1109-13

Mr. Mahony moved the second reading of the Cork Sessions' Bill, the object of which he said was to extend the provisions of the act of 1793, as amended in 1836, to the county of Cork.

Mr. Jephson

opposed the second reading. The bill was very unintelligible; it had not been called for, and he believed, also, that it was not desired by the people of Cork. It was likewise opposed to the opinion of the assistant barrister of the eastern division.

Mr. Shaw

said, he should be glad to know what the Government intended to do with this and several other bills relating to Ireland which stood upon the orders for that evening, forming a kind of wholesale legislation. With regard to this particular measure, he could bear his testimony to the assertion of his hon. Friend, the Member for Mallow—viz., that everybody in Cork was opposed to it.

Mr. O'Connell

observed, that the objection of hon. Members to the bill appeared to arise from their not understanding it. The right hon. and learned recorder, however, might readily understand it, if he would take the trouble of applying his mind to it. The county of Cork contained as large a population as four ordinary counties. In 1824 it was divided into two ridings for sessional jurisdiction. The bill of 1836 enabled the Government to divide all the counties into ridings, and also gave the power of making additional sessional districts, but it did not include Cork, because it had already, in 1824, been changed into ridings, so that the bill of 1836 could not augment the sessions of the county of Cork. The object of the present bill was, then, nothing more than to ex end the bill of 1836 to that county, in order to increase the number of its sessional districts, they being at present so large that persons were obliged, in some instances, to go a distance of forty-five miles, to wrangle about a matter of a few shillings, spending perhaps, twice the amount on the road. This bill would remedy this; it was exactly what was wanted; but as he thought it would be better to allow it to stand over for a while, he would move, as an amendment, that it be postponed to that day week.

Viscount Morpeth, in reply to the right hon. Gentleman opposite, had only to say, that the Government could not prevent hon. Members from bringing forward such measures as they thought fit. It was the House that had allowed their introduction. With regard to this measure, he thought they should hear the opinion of the different Members, and of those in particular who were connected with Cork. There appeared to be sufficient difference of opinion amongst them both as to matter of law and fact to make it advisable not to proceed further without an understanding that it be referred to a Select Committee, or be postponed until the gentlemen of the county had an opportunity of consulting at the assizes, when his hon. Friend, the Member for Kinsale could endeavour to shape the bill in conformity with their views, and at the same time consistently with the public advantage.

Mr. Goulburn

was of opinion, that this, and all measures relating to the administration of justice should be taken up by the Ministers, whose duty it was to consider how far the claims of the different places were well founded. He thought the noble Lord should take such measures into his own hands, or place them in the hands of legal persons acquainted with the localities, rather than leave them to individual Members of that House.

Mr. Woulfe

perfectly concurred with the right hon. Gentleman that it was the duty of Government to attend to measures concerning the administration of justice; but, in this instance, the question did not exactly concern the general administration of justice, being a question rather of population, the situation of mountains, rivers, and roads, and the convenience of particular parties. He had already told the hon. Member for Kinsale, that the bill being one of local interest, he ought to consult those possessing a local knowledge of the subject. He would now add, that the Government would most anxiously pursue whatever course those individuals should determine on as most judicious.

Mr. Sergeant Jackson

said, that in order to take from the proceeding all appearance of a job, it would be better to postpone the bill until the county could be consulted on the subject. He certainly thought such a measure ought not to be brought forward without the opinion of the county being collected, as the noble Lord the Secretary for Ireland himself suggested.

Debate adjourned for three weeks.