said, in rising to call the attention of the House to the recent appointment by the Attorney General for Ireland of Mr. Keogh to be Sessional Crown Solicitor for the county of Meath, he wish ed to observe that the duties of that office wore very important, and required an extensive knowledge of criminal law. He (Mr. M'Evoy) was informed that the gentleman who had been selected possessed no such knowledge, and, moreover, had no connection with the county in which his duties were henceforth to he performed. The duties of the late Crown prosecutor during his illness had for some time been performed by his son to the satisfaction of all parties, but he had been put aside. He (Mr. M'Evoy) made no charge against Mr. Keogh, except that he was unfit for the office. The only reasons that he had heard assigned for the appointment were that Mr. Keogh had been an active agent in the management of the registration for the Liberal party in Dublin, and also that he had the good fortune to receive his legal education in the office of the brother of the late Attorney General for Ireland. If those were not the reasons for the appointment, he would be glad to hear what the real reasons were.
§ MR. CORBALLY
said, he had no objection to the gentleman who had been appointed, but at the same time he regretted that another gentleman, who had for some time discharged the duties of the office very efficiently, had been set aside. If the objection to appointing that gentleman to succeed his father was a desire not to let it be supposed that the office was hereditary, there were plenty of other gentlemen perfectly qualified for the office, and who possessed the advantage of local connection and acquaintance.
said, he was sorry that the appointment of Mr. Keogh, for which he was solely responsible, had not given satisfaction to the people of Meath, but he felt certain that when they had experience of the manner in which the gentleman whom he had selected discharged his duties, that dissatisfaction would disappear. The hon. Member for Meath made two charges against Mr. Keogh—first, that he was not connected with the county, but the Attorney General was not bound to select only gentlemen who were natives of or residents in Meath, and neither had that been the uniform practice. The late Crown solicitor for Meath, Mr. Ford, was not a resident in that county but in Dublin, to the corporation of which he was clerk. The other charge was that Mr. Keogh was unfit for the office. He met that charge with a confident denial, for he believed that gentleman to be the most efficient of all the candidates for the office. That was the reason why he appointed that gentleman, and neither his predecessor, the present Justice Fitzgerald, nor any one else, had anything, directly or indirectly, to do with the selection he had made. The reason he had declined to appoint the son of the late Crown solicitor, who had acted as his father's deputy, was that it would have been virtually to deprive the Attorney General of the patronage if such a practice were sanctioned. It was true that Mr. Keogh had conducted ably the registration of the Liberal party in Dublin, and gained the respect of those before whom he practised, and even he believed that of those to whom he was politically opposed. He (Mr. Deasy) admitted that that fact had been one of the reasons which influenced him in making the appointment, for he thought services honourably rendered to a party in opposition should not be forgotten when the party was in power.
§ MR. WHITESIDE
said, he did not think the hon. and learned Attorney General for 1535 Ireland had given a satisfactory answer. He would say nothing against the personal character of Mr. Keogh, who, if known to the hon. Gentleman, was no doubt deserving of the high character he had given him. No doubt, that gentleman had rendered services to the great (or small, as the case might be) Liberal party in Dublin which entitled him to a reward at the expense of the public. The objection that was made to him, however, was that he was not acquainted with criminal law, and it was understood that he never had practised at Quarter Sessions. When he (Mr. Whiteside) was in office, and was called upon to make such appointments, he always addressed a letter to the Chairman of Quarter Sessions to ask whether the applicant was in good practice, and performed his business satisfactorily. If the Attorney General had addressed such a letter in the present instance, the answer would have been that the gentleman was entirely unknown in Meath. From the nature of the duty which sessional Crown solicitors were called on to discharge, they were always supposed to be resident in the county to which they belonged, as application was constantly made to them by the law officers for information; and when a homicide occurred, they were directed in many cases to attend promptly to prevent the coroner from spoiling the administration of justice. He could add his testimony to that of his hon. Friend, that in trials in Ireland it was very desirable that the Crown solicitor should be acquainted, not only with the faces, but with the characters of most of the jurors. Seeing that Meath must contain many gentlemen well qualified to hold the position, he thought the county had been somewhat hardly dealt with.