HC Deb 05 May 1892 vol 4 cc163-4

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that in the Killybegs Petty Sessions district, which is one of the most extensive in the County Donegal, stretching westward 23 miles and eastward 10 miles, there are at present only two magistrates, whereas a few years ago there were six magistrates; whether he is aware that much inconvenience is caused by the Bench being thus undermanned to the magistrates themselves and the inhabitants generally, more especially when either of the magistrates is absent from the Bench from illness or any other cause; whether he is aware that, although five-sixths of the population of this Petty Sessions district is Catholic, both the magistrates are Protestants, and that frequently no Petty Sessions can be held owing to their absence from the Bench; whether he is aware that some months ago an influentially signed memorial, approved of by both the magistrates who at present form the Petty Sessions Bench, the gentry of the locality and the Catholic and Protestant clergymen being among the signatories, was presented to the Duke of Abercorn, recommending the appointment of a gentleman residing at Killybegs to the magistracy, a request, however, which was refused by the Duke; and whether the Government will take any step to remedy this public inconvenience?


I am informed that there are three local magistrates belonging to the Killybegs district, two of whom give a good attendance at Petty Sessions and that they are also attended constantly by the Resident Magistrate. No complaints have been made to the Lord Chancellor as to the want of an additional magistrate in the district, while, as a matter of fact, there appears to have been only one occasion during the last eighteen months on which no Petty Sessions was held for want of the attendance of any magistrate. I have no information as to the memorial referred to in the question, or as to the grounds on which it was refused; but I am informed that the Lord Lieutenant of the county is always ready to consider the names of any properly qualified gentlemen that may be brought before him.


The right hon. Gentleman has not answered the third paragraph of the question. Is that true?


I do not know that it is the fact.