§ MR. JORDAN
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he can state the numbers of Roman Catholics and Protestants respectively in the county Fermanagh at the last census; has his attention been called to a scheme, dated the 5th July, 1901, framed by the county council of Fermanagh, whereby the Roman Catholics, who, according to the former Census Returns, were in a majority of the population, are, by a rearrangement of local districts and a reduction of representatives, to be placed in a permanent minority in the county council and in the district councils. Will the inquiry into the scheme asked for by the county council be granted by the Local Government Board? If so, will it be conducted by a Roman Catholic or a Protestant inspector; and is there any precedent for such an inquiry under the Local Government Act, 1898.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
The Roman Catholic population of the county at the recent census was 36,066; the Protestant population was 29,168. The county council has prepared a scheme proposing alterations in the boundaries of local areas with the object of removing inequalities in the electorate and representation, but there is nothing in the scheme to indicate that it would have the effect suggested. The council has been informed that no alterations, even if made, could take effect until January, 1903, and that the further consideration of the matter should be deferred until after the election of councillors in January of next year. I am unable to say whether an inquiry will ultimately be granted; or, if so, what inspector will hold it. Such an inquiry was lately held in Dublin.
§ MR. M'GOVERN (Cavan, W.)
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this scheme was initiated by a Tory election agent at Belfast?
§ [No answer was returned.]