HC Deb 16 June 1902 vol 109 cc704-5
MR. SHEEHAN (Cork Co., Mid.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he can state what are the judicial qualifications of the resident magistrates who presided over the Court held under the Criminal Law and Procedure (Ireland) Act, which tried Messrs. Rahilly and Fitzpatrick at Millstreet, on the 19th of May; will he state the nature of the charge on which these men were sentenced to terms of imprisonment with hard labour; and can he give any instances of persons being prosecuted under the Act mentioned in connection with political resolutions adopted by public bodies.


The magistrates have been certified by the Lord Lieutenant to be legally qualified within the meaning of the 11th section of the Act. One of them is a barrister and has been a resident magistrate for fourteen years. The other has been a resident magistrate for twenty-one years. The defendants were convicted on the charge of taking part in a criminal conspiracy to boycott the occupants of evicted farms. The convictions were confirmed on appeal. The County Court judge is reported to have said that if the sentence on Rahilly had been heavier he would not have altered it. I cannot accept the suggestion, if such there be, that these proceedings were undertaken because the illegality was embodied in a resolution passed by a public body. I am unaware of any other example of so scandalous a proceeding.

MR. GILHOOLY (Cork Co., Mid.)

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that one of these magistrates was for many years a land agent?


Are these magistrates in the habit of attending these petty sessions? If not, by what method were they selected?


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the case against Fitzpatrick was based on a resolution adopted by a public Board?


The fact that the illegality was endorsed by a resolution passed by a public Board does not make it any the less reprehensible.