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County Tipperary Magistracy

Volume 32: debated on Tuesday 9 April 1895

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I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that two appeals from Justices in Petty Sessions, in cases in which Michael Buckley had been convicted for assaults upon a civilian and a police sergeant, acting in the discharge of his duty, respectively, came before the County Court Judge and Justices of the County Tipperary in Quarter Sessions in the month of February last; whether Mr. Patrick Crowe, one of the last-named Justices, who had been but recently appointed, is correctly reported to have stated, upon the case being called on and before any evidence had been given, that he had had an interview with the defendant, and intended doing all in his power to get him off; whether the County Court Judge is also correctly reported to have stated it was highly improper for any magistrate to discuss with a person who was about to be tried before him for a criminal offence the merits of his defence, and that such conduct was calculated to bring into contempt the administration of justice; is he aware that the decisions of the convicting Justices were affirmed, notwithstanding the protest of Mr. Crowe; and will the Lord Chancellor of Ireland call upon him for an explanation of his conduct?

The facts, I believe, are stated with substantial accuracy. I have referred the matter to the Lord Chancellor to deal with.

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1) whether his attention has been called to the proceedings held at a meeting of the Irish National Federation on Sunday the 3rd March last, at Ballylooby, County Tipperary, presided over by the parish priest, at which Messrs. Nicholas Shee and Patrick O'Donnell, two recently appointed Justices of the Peace, attended, when strong resolutions were passed condemning the taking by persons of unoccupied evicted farms in the locality, and demanding the release of Irishmen convicted in England of the commission of serious crimes, and that in support of such resolutions Mr. Shee made a strong speech, in the course of which he stated that it was very doubtful whether the persons so convicted were really guilty at all; (2) whether he is aware that these are the same two gentlemen who attended at a great National demonstration held at Mullinahone, in the same county, on the 28th October last, at which similar resolutions were proposed by Mr. Shee and seconded by Mr. M. Drohan, also a recently appointed magistrate; and (3) has the conduct of these Justices of the Peace been brought under the notice of the Irish Lord Chancellor; and, if so, will any action be taken in reference thereto?

I have seen a newspaper report of the proceedings at the meeting referred to in the first paragraph, and have read the speech delivered by Mr. Shee. The other magistrate named as having been present at this meeting did not speak, and took no part in the meeting further than attending. I have also seen a newspaper report of the proceedings at the earlier meeting alluded to in the second paragraph. The resolution passed at this meeting on the subject of the taking of unoccupied farms was very general in terms, and contained no direct reference to any particular case in the district, and, so far as I am aware, no result has followed the adoption of this resolution. The action of the gentlemen referred to has not been brought under the notice of the Lord Chancellor, nor do I, upon the information before me, see any reason for taking this course now.

asked the right hon. Gentleman whether, in cases of meetings being held to denounce the takers of unoccupied farms, he was in the habit of putting the speeches before the Law Officers of the Crown with the view of ascertaining whether there should be a prosecution or not.

believed that in nine cases out of ten the speeches went before the Law Officers; he directed that they should go before them. Of course in some cases he formed his own judgment.