§ LORD ARTHUR HILL
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If the present high sheriff of the county of the town of Drogheda was recently confined in Dundalk Gaol as a suspect, under the Crimes Act; if the other parties whose names were submitted by the Corporation to the Lord Lieutenant for appointment to that 586 office were also ex-suspects; if the present sub-sheriff was, on the 6th June 1881, summoned before the local justices, by direction of the Castle authorities, for "printing a certain placard and notice tending to incite to an illegal combination and conspiracy;" if several members of the late grand jury have been either lately under police surveillance, or had left the country for a time to avoid arrest under warrants issued against them; if those persons were summoned as grand jurors to the exclusion of upwards of sixty names, including the sitting Member of the Borough, and all the principal gentry, magistrates, and merchants; if the Judges of Assize have not frequently expressed an opinion adverse to the continuance of these Assizes; and, if, under these circumstances, the Government will consider the propriety of discontinuing them?
§ MR. SEXTON
As this Question concerns the character and functions of a high official, I have to ask, If the noble Lord is not absolutely in error in supposing that any proceedings have been taken against the High Sheriff of Drogheda under the Prevention of Crime Act; if his imprisonment as a suspect, described in the Question as recent, occurred in 1881–2; if the Lord Lieutenant was quite aware of the fact when he made the appointment; and, if it is true that, while in prison as a suspect, this gentleman was elected Major by the Corporation of Drogheda; if the complaint against the Sub-Sheriff in 1881 was dismissed; if the grand jurors panel referred to by the noble Lord included the names of four magistrates, one of them the brother of the sitting Member, and another the High Sheriff of the previous year; thirteen members of the Corporation, and numerous members of other public Boards; and, if the panel was not wholly composed of respectable merchants and traders, regarding whom the suggestions in the Question of the noble Lord are quite unfounded; and, if Mr. Baron Dowse, in addressing the Grand Jury of Drogheda at the Spring Assizes on the 3rd instant, used the following language:—There are some people among you who perhaps think that on account of there being no Crown business and the general immunity of 587 crime from this town, that the Assizes should be removed; but there is scarcely any man who loves order and morality but would like to see Judges come amongst you to open Her Majesty's Commission, and I hope you will long continue to have your Assizes?
§ MR. TREVELYAN
Sir, I daresay the hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) will give me Notice of his Question. The facts are as stated in the first three paragraphs of the Question of the noble Lord opposite. The case referred to, however, of the Sub-Sheriff was dismissed. Several of the members of the late Grand Jury were, at one time or other, more or less under the observation of the police. They were summoned as Grand Jurors to the exclusion of the classes mentioned. It is true that the Judges of Assize have frequently expressed an opinion adverse to the continuance of the Assizes at Drogheda; and, quite irrespective of the circumstances referred to in the Question, it seems, in that view, to be proper matter for the consideration of the Government. Drogheda is, I think, the only county town which is not at the same time the Assize town for the county.
§ MR. SEXTON
On Thursday I shall repeat the Question. I may also ask, with reference to paragraph 5 of the Question of the noble Lord (Lord Arthur Hill), which refers to the exclusion from the Grand Jury of the sitting Member for Drogheda, Whether the right hon. Gentleman will lay upon the Table a Return of the Members of this House representing constituencies in Ireland who have not been asked to serve on Grand Juries?
§ [No reply being given]