HC Deb 17 August 1916 vol 85 cc2042-3

asked the Chief Secretary whether his atention has been called to statements made in evidence given before the Royal Commission on the rebellion in Ireland, and also made elsewhere, casting aspersions on the fitness and conduct of the magistrates in the counties of Cork and Kerry, and also on the method of the appointment of justices generally in Ireland; whether any justices have been appointed in the counties mentioned in opposition to the express wishes of the Lords Lieutenant of those counties; if so, how many; whether any particulars can be given as to the number of instances, if any, in which complaints have been made as to the misconduct or disloyalty on the part of any of the justices appointed for these counties since April, 1913; and what action, if any, has been taken upon the receipt of adverse reports on such justices?


I am informed that of the magistrates appointed by the present Lord Chancellor of Ireland in the counties mentioned, none were appointed in opposition to the wishes of His Majesty's Lieutenants of those counties, who, in fact, were consulted in every case. No complaints have been received as to misconduct or disloyalty on the part of any of these magistrates. One magistrate, appointed by virtue of his office as chairman of an urban district council, was recently superseded by the Lord Chancellor, as also one magistrate appointed for the city of Cork several years ago. As regards the general question of the appointment of magistrates, the Lord Chancellor states that in no case has any magistrate been appointed by him without careful inquiry and deliberation, and that it is his custom to take into consideration the views of His Majesty's Lieutenants of the various counties.


Has the right hon. Gentleman read the evidence of Major Price?


I have no recollection of the passage in the evidence of Major Price to which the hon. Member calls my attention, but I am familiar with it generally. I no doubt shall get an opportunity of seeing to what he particularly refers.


Will the right hon. Gentleman look into the matter and ask Major Price for an explanation of his evidence?


That is a matter I should have to consider when I have seen the evidence.