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Limerick City Petitions

31/07/1822

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Petitions Relating to the Local Taxation of the City of Limerick page 1
 
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Limerick City Petitions

Date of Article: 31/07/1822
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ON PETITIONS RELATING TO LIMERICK TAXATION. 5. it ought to be, from the most respectable, intelligent and opulent inhabi- James Fisher, tants of the city, without reference to local or political connection, but it is Min-. Ev- confined exclusively to the aldermen, burgesses, freemen and friends of the Edward^ arker'lb'. corporation. No individuals, though possessed of the highest qualifications M. Barrington, ib. in property and character, seem to be placed on the city grand juries if B" M Mahon'lbld' considered adverse to the political views of the corporation ; and this prin- ciple of exclusion, diametrically opposed as it is to the spirit of British law, seems to be as strictly attended to as if it were a qualification prescribed by statute. It has appeared in evidence, that the grand jury pannel lias been submitted by the sheriff to a leading member of the corporation, B. M'Mahon, ibid, who made such alterations in the names as appeared expedient to himself. On this proceeding Your Committee need not make any comment; any . such interference in the appointment of grand juries cannot but taint the administration of justice at its source ; and a grand jury nominated for private views, and consequently liable to be swayed by local prejudices, cannot but lose much of public respect and confidence in the discharge of its functions, both civil and criminal. Some particulars proved before Your j. Mark, ibid. Committee establish the facts, that the conduct of the city grand juries has Fisher, ibid, not been such as to warrant a recommendation for any extension of their powers. Under the authority of these grand juries, presentments contrary8 ^ Ed par|< er> ib. to law seem to have been made ; a defaulting treasurer15 has been contir ^ I( j ; bid nued in office, without being called to sufficient account, or his sureties J. N. liussell, ibid, proceeded against; and even in criminal proceedings, an instance has J' N* Russel, » lbld- been stated, wherein culprits were allowed to become accusers, and the parties really injured were placed on their trials for a capital offence. But even if the statutable exemption, under the 33 Geo. did not « xist, and if the city grand juries were fairly and impartially chosen from among the most respectable and wealthy inhabitants, the very con- trary of which is the fact, Your Committee could not recommend that the new town should bear a full proportion of city taxes, unless an equivalent part of the parochial taxes of the new town were borne by the old town and liberties. If a fair and impartial tribunal - could be found to J. M. Harvey, ibid, exercise the powers of local taxation, apportioning the total expenses to the real value of the total rateable property, such an alteration of the law might perhaps be justifiable; but Your Committee doubt whether it would give any practical relief to the inhabitants of the old town, and of the liberties. As any interference in the appointment of grand juries is discreditable to the public officers bound by oath to administer their functions fairly and impartially; as it is prejudicial to the best interests of the public, by casting suspicion on the administration of justice; as examples of a very Cork, J. c. Bes- different nature are given by other corporations, where a system of equal c representation has been acted on, it is to be hoped that in future the tenay 01 ' ' our" formation of grand juries in the city of Limerick may be governed by principles the reverse of those which appear to influence the sheriffs at the present moment. It may here be remarked, that the petitions from the old city state, that Votes App* 182- 2, " the wealthy inhabitants have from time to time removed to the parish jf^ jgg. " of St. Michael's, in which buildings and improvements are daily in- " creasing," and which presents streets not inferior " to those of the " metropolis of Ireland." The petition from the liberties in like manner states " the emigration from the old city of all persons of " opulence and importance;" and the resolutions of the inhabitants of Resolutions, St. Michael's attribute the extension and improvement of the new town to its exemption from the control and power of the grand jury, the abuse of App.( A.) Mi'n. Ev. 617. B which
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