§ MR. J. MARTIN
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Whether the county of Meath is not at present without any Coroner at all, and whether the office of Coroner for the lower division of that county has not been vacant ever since May 1871, and that of Coroner for the upper division of the same county ever since Spring 1872; whether the Grand Jury of Meath did not at Summer Assizes 1872 certify such vacancy to the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and recommend that one Coroner should be elected for the entire county; whether certain justices of the peace of said county have not applied to the Lord Chancellor of Ireland through the clerk of the peace, asking for the writ of election for a Coroner; what is the average 999 number of Inquests held in the county per year for the last three years; whether there have not been in the county of Meath cases of sudden death, or other eases proper for inquest, since the county has ceased to have a Coroner, in which considerable delay and inconvenience have resulted from the difficulty of immediately obtaining the attendance of a sufficient number of justices of the peace to perform the service formerly rendered by Coroners; and, whether it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government that the old and important office of Coroner shall not again he filled up in the county of Meath?
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON,
in reply, said, he had obtained some information, although it was not complete, respecting the office of coroner for the county of Meath. That county was at present without any coroner at all; the office of coroner for the lower division of the county had been vacant since May, 1871, and that of coroner for the upper division since the Spring of 1872. At the Summer Assizes of 1872 the Grand Jury of Meath certified such vacancy to the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and recommended that one coroner should be elected for the entire county. Certain justices of the peace for the county had applied for proceedings to be taken under the 9th & 10th Vict. for modifying the divisions of the county, and at a meeting of the magistrates, duly convened, a recommendation was made that the two districts should be united and one coroner appointed for the county. For some reason, however, which he had been unable to ascertain, no action was taken for some time in consequence of that recommendation; but not long ago a ease was submitted to the Law Officers, who expressed their opinion that the action taken by the magistrates was illegal, as they had no power under the Act of uniting the two districts, although they could alter or subdivide them. Under those circumstances, warrants for the election of two coroners for the respective divisions of the county were issued, and he was informed they were now in possession of the clerk of the peace. No action had yet been taken upon them, and he was unable to explain why further delay had occurred. He would make further inquiry, and, as far as Government could 1000 prevent it, would take care that there should be no more delay. He was obliged to admit that considerable inconvenience had resulted from the difficulty of immediately obtaining the attendance of a sufficient number of justices of the peace to perform the service formerly rendered by coroners.