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Londonderry Court House

Volume 32: debated on Tuesday 9 April 1895

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I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that the rooms allotted to the Clerk of the Crown and Peace for the County Londonderry in the Court House are wholly inadequate for the purpose of holding the Crown Records and other documents, and are insanitary; whether the Clerk of the Crown has reported that the Public Records, of which there are several hundred files in this office are in danger of being lost, and that he is unable properly to perform his duties in consequence of the want of accommodation; whether it has been brought to his notice that the right honourable Mr. Justice Holmes held, at last Derry Assizes, that the Grand Jury were not bound to provide these offices; and whether, inasmuch as the Treasury receive all the stamp duties and fees in respect of the besiness passing through this office, he is prepared to advise that Department to provide the necessary accommodation, or assist in providing the same in conjunction with the Grand Jury?

The duty of providing adequate County Court accommodation rests with the Grand Jury, and not with the Treasury. I understand that the matter referred to in the question is now under the consideration of the Lord Chancellor of Ireland. The expenses of County Court Officers borne on the Votes greatly exceed the receipts from the stamps and fees.

I beg to ask the right hon. Gentleman if Mr. Justice Holmes, on the occasion referred to, commented rather severely on the application referred to him by the Grand Jury for increased accommodation for the Clerk of the Crown and Peace, whose salary was ample enough to provide it, whilst he (the Judge) had not a proper desk to write upon, and also stated that the accommodation most required there was for suitors, witnesses, and others, and that the sum of £200 proposed to be expended on the Court House for general accommodation was wholly insufficient.

In reply to the hon. Member I have to say that the Treasury consider that this expense should be voted by the Grand Jury. The observations of Mr. Justice Holmes are now being considered by the Lord Chancellor of Ireland.

Do I understand that although the Treasury receive the fees, they are not prepared to contribute anything whatever?

The expense of the Treasury is a great deal more than what they receive.