HC Deb 07 June 1894 vol 25 cc548-9
MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether, in view of the number of publicans who are being appointed to the Magisterial Bench in Ireland, he will consider the propriety of asking the Lord Chancellor to issue a Circular pointing out the statutory prohibitions against Magistrates engaged in the drink trade sitting at Licensing Sessions or on cases connected with the administration of the Licensing Acts?


This question seems based on the assumption that a considerable number of publicans have recently been, and are being, appointed to the Magistracy. In replying to a question of the hon. Member for York on the 17th of November last, I stated that the number of licensed victuallers placed by the present Government in the Commission of the Peace in Ireland down to that date was 16, and since that date three additional appointments have been made, 19 in all. The 60th section of the Licensing Act, 1872, expressly prohibits Magistrates who are in any way pecuniarily interested in the sale of liquor from adjudicating or taking part in licensing cases, and imposes a penalty of £100 on Magistrates who violate the section, and, as the hon. Member knows, this affects not only licensed victuallers but shareholders in breweries, distilleries, &c. The Lord Chancellor does not at present consider it necessary to issue any Circular for the instruction of Magistrates in this more than in any other department of their duties. If cases are brought under his notice he will deal with them promptly.


Is the right ton. Gentleman aware that at the last Annual Licensing Sessions for the County of Dublin, at Kilmainham, from 12 to 15 Magistrates were forced to leave the Bench on account of their connection with Companies interested in the liquor traffic? May not that happen in other places?


I have heard that a clean sweep was made of the Dublin Bench on that occasion, but I do not see why in consequence the same thing should occur in other parts of the country. But if any hon. Member can inform me of cases in which it does occur I will bring them to the notice of the Lord Chancellor.

MR. M'CARTAN (Down, S.)

Is it not the fact that those who had to leave the Dublin Bench were not publicans but shareholders in breweries and distilleries?