I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been drawn to the statement made by the right hon. Mr. Justice Gibson that it appeared to him that the state of the county of Westmeath was far from satisfactory, that he understood there were two districts in the county where boycotting existed, but this was not disclosed in the police reports; and if he can state whether there is any uniform system to guide the police in the presentation of their reports to the Judges of Assizes; and, if not, will he take steps to have this done.
§ MR. BIRRELL
My attention has been drawn to Mr. Justice Gibson's remarks as reported in the Press. The instructions to county inspectors require them to furnish to each Judge of Assize the Returns, in the prescribed forms, of both serious and minor offences committed in the county since the last Assizes, and the county inspector is also instructed to attend before the Judge and afford him any information or explanation that he may require. In 1904, the existing forms of Return were submitted to the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland with the view of ascertaining whether such Returns would meet the approval of His Majesty's Judges. The Lord Chief Justice expressed approval of these forms, and they have since been consistently used.
§ MR. KILBRIDE (Kildare, S.)
When vacancies on the Bench are filled up will the right hon. Gentleman take care that the men are appointed for their professional capacity and not for political rewards?
§ [No Answer was returned.]
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
Is the right hon Gentleman aware that this practice of furnishing reports to Judges is utterly unknown in England?