asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland, If it be true, as reported in the Irish newspapers, that the police force has been employed in Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Derry, and other places, counting the number of people who went into the public houses in those cities and towns on certain Sundays; and, if so, whether this course has been adopted with a view to any legislation this Session, by Her Majesty's Government, on the subject of the sale of intoxicating liquors on Sundays in Ireland?
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
, in reply, said, he had thought it would be an important addition to the information on that subject already in possession of the Government if they were aware, as far as it could be accurately ascertained, 1122 how far any shortening of the hours during which public-houses were open on Sunday or the total closing of public-houses on that day would interfere with the convenience of the public in Ireland, and therefore he had directed that information should be obtained by the police in certain towns in Ireland as to the number of persons who were in the habit of frequenting public-houses in those towns on Sunday. He had no doubt this information was obtained in the way mentioned by the hon. Member. It was not obtained with a view to legislation by the Government this Session, but that the Government might have before it all possible information in considering the proposals on that matter which had been introduced by the hon. Member for the county of Londonderry (Mr. E. Smyth).