HC Deb 06 August 1894 vol 28 cc132-3
MR. FFRENCH (Wexford, S.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether a person can legally act in a Presentment Sessions Court unless he is a cesspayer in the county; whether it was legal for the Wexford Grand Jury, of which Mr. J. J. Percival, junior, was a member, to nil and reject presentments made by the Presentment Sessions, composed wholly of cesspayers; whether this Grand Jury is responsible for the tax of £800 upon the county for extra police; and whether he is prepared to order an inquiry into this grievance affecting the people of Wexford?


(1.) Section 4 of the Grand Jury Act empowers, and indeed requires, every Justice of the county, except a Resident Magistrate, to attend at Presentment Sessions and act with the associated taxpayers. The Justice need not be a cesspayer; all others must. (2.) The Grand Jury in their discretion may reject a presentment, even though approved of at Sessions, and they are under no obligation to assign reasons for or explain the rejection. (3.) There are 15 men of the extra police force at present serving in the County of Wexford. A reduction of this number is under consideration; but so long as the extra men remain, the Grand Jury has no option but to present the amount claimed on the certificates certified by the Under Secretary under Section 37 of 6 & 7 Will. IV. c. 13. (4.) The Executive has no powers over the Grand Jury, nor is it responsible to the Executive for the manner in which it performs its fiscal business.


As this gentleman is only in lodgings as a lodger, will the right hon. Gentleman see if the provision of the law that a Grand Juror shall possess personalty to the value of £50 is carried out in his case?


I will inquire into the matter.

MR. THOMAS HEALY (Wexford, N.)

Are there not scores of Nationalists highly rated who are never summoned on the Grand Jury? Will the right hon. Gentleman take steps to secure the appointment of High Sheriffs and Justices who will represent in some way the vast majority of the cesspayers?

[No answer was given.]