§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland what, if any, are the qualifications for the position of resident magistrate in Ireland, and what steps are taken to secure that candidates selected for appointment to that position shall be persons of unblemished character; whether he is aware that a person was appointed by the late Government to an Irish resident magistracy shortly after his dismissal with ignominy from a corps in Cape Colony for the embezzlement of the money of private soldiers entrusted to him for transmission to their relations at home, that this person formed one of a court of resident magistrates, specially constituted under the Crimes Act, by which forty-eight persons, some of whom were Catholic priests and Irish Nationalist Members of Parliament, were convicted 48 and sentenced to terms of imprisonment, and were in charge of the police or military on the occasion of a collision between the forces of the Crown and the people, in which these civilians lost their lives; and whether he will give an assurance that the persons appointed to the position of resident magistrate will only be appointed after a strict investigation of their previous careers.
§ MR. BIRRELL
No qualifications for the position of resident magistrate in Ireland are prescribed by statute or otherwise, but in making appointments the Lord-Lieutenant selects gentlemen of whose competency to hear and determine cases in Courts of summary jurisdiction he is satisfied. In making such appointments the Irish Government utilise any sources of information which may be at their disposal in each individual case, in order to ensure that the person appointed is qualified in all respects, including character. The concluding part of the Question appears to relate to an appointment made in 1886 and terminated in 1889. I find that this case was fully discussed in this House in 1888 and 1889, and I would refer the hon. and learned Member to the Parliamentary Debates of those years for full particulars.