HC Deb 13 August 1901 vol 99 cc605-7
MR. M'GOVERN (Cavan, W.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland is he aware that the agent to the Earl of Clanricarde, who is High Sheriff for the county of Cavan, on 1st July, without notice, broke open the door of the room in the courthouse which has been used by the finance committee of the County Council for its meetings, and by the secretary of the County Council for his private office, removed the papers therein, and put a lock of his own on it; and on same date took possession of a room which the Cavan Urban Council has used as an office and for its meetings since 1854; did the late secretary of the Cavan Grand Jury always use the room in which the finance committee transacted its business as a private office; and as neither of those rooms was required for the use of the judges or bar in discharge of their duties, do the Government intend to take any notice of this gentleman's conduct or make any change in the law, so that county councils in Ireland shall have full control over the courthouses which have been built and maintained at the expense of the ratepayers, except when required at assizes or quarter sessions.


The High Sheriff for the County of Cavan, who is the agent of Lord Clanricarde, desired to make the most convenient arrangements in the courthouse for the accommodation of the bar, the sub-sheriff, the county council, their secretary and his clerks, as well as for the finance committee, and, when and where possible, for the urban district council. He had the legal right to make these arrangements, which in themselves appear reasonable and proper. It is not true that he broke open the door of the room used by the finance committee or removed any papers, but it is true that he put a new lock on the door, as he designed the room for another purpose, offering the secretary a room in exchange. I shall be happy to supply the hon. Member with the details of the re-arrangements, which are too complicated to give in answer to a question. I have already replied to the queries contained in the concluding part of the question.

MR. CULLINAN (Tipperary, S.)

Are we to understand from the right hon. Gentleman's answer that it is in the power of sheriffs of Irish counties to enter these courthouses and upset the arrangements of the local authorities?


Order, order! That is a matter of argument.


Has the sheriff a right to go in and—


Order, order! That is the very question I have just ruled out of order.