HC Deb 28 March 1887 vol 312 cc1600-1
MR. M'CARTAN (Down, S.)

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether the Grand Jury empanelled for the County of Down, at the recent Spring Assizes, consisted of 12 landlords, and eight other gentlemen who are the agents of landlords; whether, in Ireland, Grand Juries are usually constituted in like manner; whether Grand Juries, in Ireland, are the only Bodies (save Coroners' Juries) that can ignore or find true bills against persons sent forward for trial before a Judge of Assize; whether these Grand Juries have power to present or reject all applications respecting the making and repair of roads, fences, bridges, and all other works to be undertaken by the county, besides the applications for compensation for malicious injuries, and presentments for the salaries of the County Treasurers, Clerks of the Crown, Clerks of the Peace, Secretaries to Grand Juries, Coroners, Sheriffs, Medical Officers to Prisons, and other county officials; whether the Baronial High Constables appointed for the collection of the assessments made by the Grand Juries are paid out of the county cess; whether the Grand Juries appoint the Baronial High Constables; whether they have power to appoint, and do appoint, certain persons to the office, notwithstanding that other candidates frequently offer to collect the cess at lower rates, and to give the security required; and, whether, under the circumstances, the Government will make provision, in their promised legislation on the Irish Land Question, to secure to the cess-paying tenant, by proper representation on the Grand Juries, a voice in the expenditure of the county monies paid by them?


said, before the right hon. Gentleman answered that Question, he wished to ask him, whether it was not a fact that all presentments which came before the Grand Jury were originated at Baronial Presentment Sessions; and. whether the powers of the former Body were not limited in almost all cases to refusing, rejecting, or confirming the presentments sent up to them by the latter?

MR. W. ABRAHAM (Limerick, W.)

asked the right hon. Gentleman, whether he was aware that the Grand Jury of the County of Down was composed exclusively of Protestants?


I am afraid I cannot give any information on that point. The empanelling, the duties, and the functions of Grand Juries are all regulated by Statute; and I am advised that any illegality or irregularity connected therewith would be at once corrected by the Judge of Assize on the matter being brought to his notice. The Government recognize that some change in the law is desirable as regards these subjects; but this, as well as other very important questions connected with Local Government, must stand over until more pressing matters are dealt with.