MR. PATRICK O'BRIEN
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether the attention of the Lord Lieutenant has been called to the number of occasions during the past 12 months on which prisoners brought to the police court in the city of Limerick, charged with drunkenness and other offences, had to be taken before magistrates at their private residences or offices to be dealt with, owing to the non-attendance of magistrates at the said court, which is supposed to be held daily, and to the irregularity and inconvenience caused thereby; and whether, in view of the apparent difficulty experienced in procuring the attendance of magistrates at the said court, His Ex- 80 cellency will consider the advisability of increasing the present number of magistrates in the city of Limerick, so that the police court may be attended, and that persons in custody on trivial charges may not have to be taken over the city to find a magistrate?
§ MR. ATKINSON
I am informed that owing to the non-attendance of local justices at the Limerick Police Court, prisoners have occasionally to be taken to the residences of justices, in order that they may be discharged and brought up on summons to the police court according to the usual procedure in such cases. Cases of drunkenness, in which it is considered the prisoners would abscond if this course were adopted, are usually dealt with at the police court. There is no reason for believing that the more regular attendance of local justices, who are 26 in number, would be secured by further increasing their number, as suggested. The matter is receiving the attention of the Government, but I may mention that it is only when the resident magistrate is unavoidably absent that any difficulty arises.