HC Deb 13 September 1886 vol 309 cc181-3
MR. P. O'BRIEN (Monaghan, N.)

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether he is aware, in South Tyrone Revision Court, during its sitting on Thursday last, claims were lodged for a large number of persons whose names were already on the voters' lists; whether it is alleged the said claims were lodged by the representatives of the Orange Unionist party, who admitted, through their solicitor in court, that they claimed for these people because they were Protestants, and therefore assumed that they were political supporters of theirs; whether, on learning that the persons so claimed for were supporters of Mr. William O'Brien at the last and preceding General Elections, the agents above referred to lodged objections to these same people; whether the Revising Barrister condemned the practice when brought under his notice; and, whether the Government will so amend the Registration Act as to prevent such vexatious interference with the rights of the people in future? The hon. Gentleman also asked the right hon. Gentleman the following Question, of which he had given him private Notice:—Whether it is true, as alleged, that during the sitting of the East Tyrone Revision Court, on Thursday last, Dr. Magill, J.P., Mr. Robert King, J.P., and other gentlemen, who might be described as belonging to the landlord class, occupied seats on the Bench; whether, while two bailiffs named Aberneathy and Devlin, were being examined in support of objections lodged by the Orange landlord and Unionist party against a number of farmers and labourers, claimants for the franchise, the Revising Barrister observed that the above-named occupants of the Bench were prompting the witnesses, and forthwith ordered them to leave the Bench; whether he does not consider the presence of landlords or their satellites on the Bench in Revision Courts calculated to intimidate and prevent farmers and labourers from securing the franchise; and will he take care that such people are not allowed to occupy the Bench under such circumstances in future; whether he will consider it his duty to bring the conduct of Mr. Magill and Mr. King in this matter under the notice of the Lord Chancellor, with a view to their removal from the Commission of the Peace?


(who replied) said: The Government has no means of learning what occurs in a Revision Court beyond what appears in the newspapers. The only thing that I know of the matter is what I read in The Freeman's Journal of Friday last. The only practice which, according to that report, was condemned by the Revising Barrister was the practice of using names without authority. The Question cannot be accurate in suggesting that objections were lodged during the revision, as this would be contrary to law. In answer to the Question of which the hon. Member has given private Notice, I have to say that I am informed that no magistrate sat on the Bench at the Revision Sessions; but that a magistrate called Robert King sat for a time in the Registrar's seat, and on his speaking to a witness the Revising Barrister directed him to leave the Court. Magistrates and landlords have the same rights, neither more nor loss, than other persons in Revision Courts.