HC Deb 28 December 1893 vol 20 cc343-4

(on behalf of the hon. Baronet the Member for West Kerry): I bog to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland can he explain why the Lord Lieutenant cannot appoint Irish High Sheriffs although he can dismiss them; if the Lord Lieutenant is bound by law to nominate as the High Sheriff for the ensuing year one of the three gentlemen whoso names are sent up annually by the Grand Juries; and, if so, under what Act; if recently the persons nominated to serve as High Sheriff's for County Cavan and Queen's County refused to act in that capacity; if, in the case of the Queen's County, the Government indicted the gentlemen who refused so to servo; and whether, in future, instead of compelling persons nominated by the Grand Juries to act as High Sheriffs, the Government will appoint High Sheriffs in sympathy with the majority of the people?


The Lord Lieutenant can dismiss, because the High Sheriff holds office during pleasure. The names are sent up to the Lord Lieutenant not by the Grand Juries, but by the Judges. The usage has always been for the Lord Lieutenant to select a Sheriff from amongst the names so sent up, and such usage is laid down by the highest authority as having the force of Common Law. In the English Sheriffs Act of 1887 the corresponding usage in England is recognised and made Statutable. The facts stated in the question as to the Sheriffs of the Counties Cavan and Queen's County are substantially correct. With regard to the last paragraph, what I have just stated shows how the powers of the Lord Lieutenant in the matter are restricted and limited. Whether the Lord Lieutenant is bound to nominate one of the names on the Judges' list is a question of law, which can only be decided by judicial authority.