§ Mr. HAYDEN (Roscommon, S.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that Mr. P. D. Sullivan, the resident magistrate stationed in Mullingar, some months ago gave instructions to the clerk of petty sessions and the police authorities there to notify him of all cases of lunacy occurring in the petty sessions district requiring investigation before magistrates in order that he might attend same; whether there were various other magistrates in the township who, as a rule, had hitherto conducted such inquiries; and, if so, will he say whether Mr. Sullivan is entitled to sit in every such case; and whether he is aware that Mr. Sullivan takes the chair at every petty sessions at Mullingar without consulting the other magistrates present, although some of them may be senior to him; and, if so, will he say if he is entitled to do so.† See (4) Debates, exxix., 350.
§ THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. ATKINSON, Londonderry, N.)
At my right hon. friend's request I will reply to this Question. The resident magistrate was made aware some months ago that the local justices complained of the inconvenience of being required to investigate these more or less formal matters out of petty sessions. He, thereupon, requested the clerk of petty sessions to inform him when applications for the committal of lunatics to be made out of petty sessions were about to come on, in order that he might attend and dispose of them. This was done to convenience the local justices. It is not the fact that the magistrates in the township of Mullingar have, as a rule, investigated such cases; the resident magistrate has always taken part in such investigations. It is not the practice to formally elect a chairman at every Court of petty sessions at Mullingar. All the magistrates who attend the Court have expressed to Mr. Sullivan their wish that he should preside when present.