HC Deb 09 June 1882 vol 270 cc653-4

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether the attention of the Government has been directed to the composition of the Derry City bench of magistrates; whether it is a fact that, while the Catholic inhabitants of the city number 18,000, and all other denominations only 12,000, there are only two Catholic magistrates upon the Bench; whether these two gentlemen, Mr. P. T. Rodgers and Mr. John O'Neill, since the 15th of May last, have refused to sit upon the Bench, in consequence of their opinions being systematically ignored and overridden by their Protestant colleagues, who for the most part attend only when party cases are to be tried; and, whether any steps will be taken to increase the confidence of the Catholic inhabitants in the administration of justice?


also asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether the record of the Londonderry Magisterial Court would not show that Mr. John O'Neill, a Roman Catholic magistrate, had not sat in that Court on four out of six days when Sessions were held; whether 75 per cent of the crime committed in Londonderry was not committed by Roman Catholics; whether, granting that there might be in that city 18,000 Roman Catholics, 19–20ths of the employers of labour were not Protestant, and mostly Liberals; and whether the majority of the Londonderry Bench were not Liberal Presbyterians and not Tories?


If the hon. Member for Tyrone (Mr. Macartney) only wishes to state the counter view, it can hardly be expected that I am at the present moment prepared with the information asked. The Catholics of Derry number 16,000, and the Protestants 13,000. There are at present only two Catholic magistrates on the Bench. I am aware that in consequence of some difference of opinion on the Bench, there has been unwillingness on the part of the Catholic magistrates to sit, which I hope will not be permanent. I am sure the Lord Lieutenant will be quite pre- pared to remove any just cause of complaint, and to consider the claims of any eligible Roman Catholic gentlemen whose names may be submitted to him for appointment to the Commission of the Peace.


Is the telegram to the effect that the Government have appointed a stipendiary Catholic magistrate correct?


I cannot say.


Is it the fact that the recommendation for appointments to the borough magistracy in Derry rests, not in the hands of the Lord Lieutenant, but in those of the Liberal Irish Executive?

[No answer was given to the Question.]