HC Deb 01 May 1893 vol 11 cc1621-3
MR. PATRICK A. M'HUGH (Leitrim, N.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether any Catholic holding the Commission of the Peace for the County Leitrim is resident in the Petty Sessions district of Kinlough; has a Nationalist Magistrate ever adjudicated in the Court of Kinlough Potty Sessions district; has a Catholic Nationalist, resident in the district, Mr. Patrick Fergus, P.L.G., been recommended by the Lord Chancellor of Ireland for appointment to the Commission of the Peace for the County Leitrim; has the Lord Chancellor made the appointment; and, if not, will he explain on what grounds his Lordship has declined to appoint Mr. Fergus a Magistrate for the County of Leitrim; how many persons at present hold the Commission of the Peace for the County of Leitrim; how many of these are Catholics, and how many are Nationalists; and will the Lord Chancellor of Ireland act on the precedent established by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and make the Magisterial Bench in the County of Leitrim in some degree representative of the state of public; feeling in that county?


At the same time I will ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, in the appointment of Magistrates in Ireland, the Lord Chancellor acts only on the recommendation of the Lord Lieutenant of the county; whether the Lord Chancellor, so far without any result, has pressed for such recommendation of certain gentlemen in Ulster whom his Lordship desired to have appointed; and whether he will take stops to induce the Lord Chancellor, in such cases, to exorcise his statutory-powers as to the appointment of Magistrates?


There is no Catholic Magistrate resident, I believe, in the district of Kinlough; but I have no information as to the political opinions of the Justices adjudicating there. The name of Mr. Patrick Fergus has been suggested to the Lord Chancellor for appointment to the Commission; he has not, however, been appointed. There are 71 Magistrates for Leitrim, and of these, so far as can be ascertained, nine are Catholics. I propose, when the opportunity arises, to make a statement as to the whole system of the appointment of County Magistrates in Ireland, and the action which the Lord Chancellor will be prepared to take. Until then I think it would be inconvenient to enter fully into the subject. I trust the hon. Member for Newry will also accept this answer.

MR. MAC NEILL (Donegal, S.)

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the precedent set by Lord O'Hagan in appointing Magistrates after the various Lords Lieutenant had refused to nominate persons whoso names had been submitted to them?


Yes; we are well aware of the precedent set by Lord O'Hagan.


I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if the Return relative to the Irish Magistracy can be printed and circulated to Members of the House before Friday next?


No, Sir; I am afraid that this Return, much as I desire it, cannot be ready by Friday next. The Return was ordered on the 14th February last, is a voluminous one, and, from the nature of the information required, must necessarily take a considerable time in preparation.

SIR THOMAS LEA (Londonderry, S.)

Are we to infer the right hon. Gentleman will make his promised statement next Friday?


I did not say the opportunity would come next Friday, but if it does I shall be ready for it.