HC Deb 26 July 1888 vol 329 cc531-2
MR. W. A. MACDONALD (Queen's Co., Ossory)

asked Mr. Solicitor General for Ireland, Whether all the Roman Catholic special jurors in Queen's County have recently been ordered to stand aside without cause shown, and for no other apparent reason than that they are Roman Catholics; whether of the entire population of the county 88 per cent are Roman Catholics; whether he is aware that a strong feeling of indignation exists among the special jurors; whether he is aware that a respectful but firm protest was presented on the 12th instant to Mr. Justice Johnson, the going Judge of Assize; whether the learned Judge told the Memorialists that the thing was "no business of his;" whether he will say whose business it is; and, whether he will take steps to prevent the exclusion of Roman Catholic jurors for the future?


I am informed that the statements in the first and third paragraphs of the Question are entirely without foundation. A protest was presented to the going Judge of Assize, with the result stated in the Question; but the signatories to this protest were entirely mistaken in supposing that they, or any other jurors, were ordered to stand aside on account of their religion. No inquiries whatever were made as to the religion of jurors, nor is there any foundation for the suggestion that jurors were excluded because they were Roman Catholics. In reply to the sixth paragraph of the Question, I have to say that the Crown Solicitor's action as to jurors is regulated by a Code of Rules which was settled by the then Attorney General in 1867, and which has been since then adopted by his Successors in Office, and that the Crown Solicitors are responsible to the Attorney General for the observance of these Rules.

MR. J. E. REDMOND (Wexford, N.)

asked whether, as a matter of fact, all the Catholic jurors, as they were called, were ordered to stand aside by the Crown in the case of a change of venue?


said, that he had no information on the point.

MR. R. T. REID&c.) (Dumfries,

asked, if the Rules on the matter would be presented to the House?


replied that if the hon. Gentleman wished for the Rules on this particular subject he would have no objection to lay them on the Table.


said, that in consequence of the unsatisfactory answer of the hon. and learned Gentleman, he begged to give Notice that he should draw attention to this subject on the Vote on Account for the Civil Service Estimates.

MR. CHANCE (Kilkenny, S.)

asked, whether the hon. and learned Gentleman was in a position to state how many Roman Catholic jurors were summoned on these juries, and how many were ordered to stand aside?


Cetainly not, because no inquiry was made as to their religion.


asked, whether the hon. and learned Gentleman would grant a Return giving the information?


No, Sir.