HC Deb 07 February 1893 vol 8 cc671-2
MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department under what conditions and by whose authority Mr. Justice Mathew was released from his judicial duties in England, and sent to Ireland as President of the Evicted Tenants Commission?


With the permission of the House I will reply to this question. When the Government decided to appoint an Evicted Tenants Commission, it was considered advisable that it should he presided over by a Judge. For this course there were found to be precedents—for example, the Bess-borough Commission of 1880, appointed by warrant to inquire into the Irish Land Acts, which held a preliminary sitting on August 7th, 1880, and finally reported on January 4th, 1881. Mr. Baron Dowse, of the Exchequer Division of the High Court of Justice in Ireland, was a member of this Commission. Again, the Belfast Riots Commission of 1886, over which Mr. Justice Day presided, having been appointed under Warrant of the Lord Lieutenant. This Commission opened its proceedings on October 4th, 1886, sat uninterruptedy until the 25th of October, and finally reported in January, 1887. Mr. Justice Mathew was accordingly invited by the Lord Lieutenant to preside over the recent Commission. No conditions were imposed.


Is it not the case that Mr. Baron Dowse was not necessarily removed from his judicial functions when attending the Bessborough Commission? Is it not also a fact that the Belfast Commission was appointed by Statute?


I am not able to answer the question whether the late Mr. Baron Dowse was able to be upon the Bessborough Commission, and also to perform his judicial duties. As to the Belfast Commission it was appointed originally by Warrant, but afterwards it had to acquire powers from Parliament. Mr. Justice Day was, however, appointed not by Statute, but by Viceregal Warrant.