HC Deb 07 July 1887 vol 317 cc83-4
MR. W. J. CORBET (Wicklow, E.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland a Question of which I have given him private Notice—If his attention has been called to the address delivered by Mr. Justice Murphy to the Grand Jury of the County of Longford, as reported in The Freeman's Journal of the 6th instant, in which he said— I am happy to say the number of bills to go before is so very few "— only two; whether he has noticed that on the same date Mr. Baron Dowse, in opening the Commission at Carlow, said, in his address to the Grand Jury— He was glad to be able to inform them, and he believed it was a very usual announcement, that their labours at the present Assizes would not be very much. There were only two bills to go before them. The County Inspector stated in his Report that the condition of the county was, on the whole, satisfactory, and that there was nothing to complain of in the condition of the county as far as crime was concerned; further, whether his attention had been directed to the address of the late Attorney General for Ireland, Mr. Justice Holmes, to the Grand Jury of Drogheda the same date, in which he is reported to have spoken as follows:— His Lordship, in addressing the Grand Jury, said—Gentlemen of the Grand Jury of the County of the Town of Drogheda—It is, indeed, a matter of great satisfaction to me, on this the first occasion that I have been called on to preside in a Court of Assizes, to find the calendar a blank, and to be able to congratulate you heartily upon the freedom from crime which exists in the County of the Town of Drogheda. If it is a source of satisfaction to me, I can well understand that it must be also a source of satisfaction to you, who must be deeply interested in the peace and prosperity of this community. You must, of course, expect that in a busy place like this there should be minor offences; but on looking over the reports presented to me, I find that even minor offences are very few, and as far as serious crime is concerned, or even indictable offences, you appear to have enjoyed a perfect freedom from such cases since the last Assizes. I received a pair of white gloves from the Sheriff as a fitting emblem presented to the Judge when there is no criminal business to be disposed of. As soon as the presentments are disposed of I will be happy to discharge you; and whether, in view of such high judicial testimony as to the freedom of the country from crime, it is still the intention of the Government to proceed with the Criminal Law Amendment (Ireland) Bill now before the House?


I have not seen the reports referred to; but I have no reason to doubt their correctness. With regard to the Question which the hon. Member appended to the extract, while I regard as very satisfactory the circumstance that many parts of Ireland are free from crime, I do not think that is sufficient reason for not pressing on a Bill intended to deal with those parts of Ireland which are not free from crime.