HC Deb 02 March 1905 vol 142 cc195-6

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been directed to the fact that, at the last meeting of the South Tipperary County Council, held at the county Court-house at Clonmel objection was taken to the Court-house being used by a club for social purposes; and, if so, whether he will take steps to release the county council from paying rent for and maintaining this Court-house, over which they are permitted to exercise no control, and which is being used for purposes which they do not approve of. In putting the Question the hon. Member said that its terms had been so much altered since it was handed in at the Table that the right hon. Gentleman might not be able to answer it. The phrase "social purposes" had been substituted for "a tea and bridge party."


In the proceedings in Committee on the Local Government Act of 1898 the question of the control of the county Court- † See (4) Debates, cxl., 516. houses was much discussed and ultimately settled by the provisions in Section 72, Sub section 3, of that Act, to which I beg to refer the hon. Member. It is not proposed to make any change in the law. I believe the High Sheriff of Tipperary has been in the habit of permitting the use, by persons of all creeds and classes, and under proper guarantees and conditions, of a portion of the Court-house for balls, concerts, and other social gatherings of that class for the convenience of the inhabitants of Clonmel and surrounding districts. A dance organised by shop assistants was given in the building on the date of the meeting of the county council referred to in the Question. Whether bridge was played or not I cannot say, but it is open to opinion whether that is a social purpose.


It is evident that we have no control over the Court-house. May I ask whether the Government consent to even the High Sheriff of a county giving the Court-house, which the ratepayers are maintaining at their own expense, for the use of a club for tea and bridge parties?


I must ask for notice of that Question.