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Motion For Correspondence

Volume 217: debated on Tuesday 5 August 1873

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moved for a Copy of Correspondence, and all Documents con- netted therewith, between the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, his Lordship's Secretaries, and Mr. Callan, M.P., and E. H. MacArdle, esquire, between the 23rd clay of December 1868 and the 31st day of July 1869, with respect to the filling up of a vacancy on the Dundalk Bench of Magistrates, by the appointment of the Chairman of the Town Commissioners thereto. The hon. Member said, that as he understood that his Motion would be opposed by the Government, he must very briefly explain the facts. In 1868 there was a vacancy in the Dundalk bench of magistrates for the county of Louth, and he (Mr. Callan) having been recently elected Member for that borough, was requested by a large number of residents to apply to the Lord Chancellor of Ireland for the appointment of Mr. Edward Henry MacArdle, of Cambrickille, to the magistracy. This he (Mr. Callan) did; but received a reply front the Lord Chancellor's secretary, informing him that according to usage the application should, in the first instance, be made to the Lord Lieutenant of the county. He accordingly applied to the Lord Lieutenant, Lord Rathdonnell; and received from that nobleman a curt refusal, no reason or cause being assigned. This ungracious refusal excited much surprise and indignation; and a Memorial was in a few days presented to the Lord Chancellor, stating—

"That Mr. MacArdle had for ten successive years been unanimously elected Chairman of the Dundalk Town Commissioners, during which period he had acted as borough magistrate efficiently, and with satisfaction both to the public and the authorities, and that from his general knowledge and great experience the memorialists felt confident that he would discharge the duties incident to the commission of the peace with credit to himself and advantage to the public."
That Memorial was signed by the most rev. Dr. Kieran, the Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of Ireland, the Member for the borough, and the only two Catholic as well as Liberal magistrates on the Dundalk bench; and the appointment of Mr. MacArdle was advocated by other local authorities, and by the public Press, Liberal as well as Tory. A correspondence with the Lord Chancellor ensued; and in the result the Lord Chancellor, in the exercise of his discretion, sent to Mr. MacArdle the usual documents to be filled up, which were ordinarily trans- mitted by the Lord Lieutenant of the county. Then came the delay and the hesitation of which he (Mr. Callan) complained. The Lord Chancellor plainly shewed that his hesitation arose from no scruple as to overruling the decision of the Lord Lieutenant of the county—other influences came into action, in which Lord Rathdonnell was not concerned—influences the nature of which he would much prefer should be explained in the words of the Lord Chancellor than by any words of his own.

Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That there be laid before this House, a Copy of Correspondence, and all Documents connected therewith, between the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, his Lordship's Secretaries, and Mr. Callan, M.P., and E. H. M'Ardle, esquire, between the 23rd day of December 1868 and the 31st day of July 1869, with respect to the filling up of a vacancy on the Dundalk Bench of Magistrates, by the appointment of the Chairman of the Town Commissioners thereto."—(Mr. Callan.)

(for the Marquess of HARTINGTON) said, that the communications referred to in the Motion were of a confidential nature, and such as it was not usual to produce, and he must therefore oppose the Motion.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.