HC Deb 22 March 1900 vol 81 cc54-5
MR. HARRINGTON (Dublin, Harbour)

I beg to ask Mr. Attorney General for Ireland whether he is aware that a feeling of dissatisfaction prevails among the licensed vintners in Dublin at the manner in which the metropolitan police exercise their right to visit public houses in search of breaches of the Licensing Laws; whether it is with the sanction of the Commissioners that the houses of respectable traders are being constantly visited by a sergeant accompanied by one or two constables, the customers at the bar interrogated and called upon to stand up to see if they are sober; if he can say how many such visits have been made in the metropolian police district within the past year; how many in the district comprehended by the C Division, and the number of prosecutions arising out of these visits; and whether steps will be taken to stop this practice.


I have no information that the fact is as alleged in the first paragraph. The practice of inspecting public houses is not peculiar to Dublin. In the year 1899 there were 23,047 such visits made within the metropolitan police district. In Liverpool in the same period the number of visits made by the police of that city was 101,723. This duty in Dublin is performed under the direction of the Chief Commission of Police. All classes of licensed premises are visited, irrespective of the respectability or otherwise of the proprietor. Customers are only interrogated or required to stand up when there is reason to think they are to some extent intoxicated. In the C Division there are 184 public houses, which were visited 3,218 times, resulting in thirty prosecutions in the past year. The Chief Commissioner does not propose to make any change as suggested, If the hon. Member is aware of any particular case in which the police are alleged to have acted improperly, I will be glad to cause inquiry to be made upon being furnished with particulars of the case.


I shall draw attention to this objectionable practice on the Estimates.