LIMERICK GOVERNMENT

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

The liberties are divided into North and South by the Shannon: the limits of the North liberties vary from one to four statute miles, comprising 1714 acres, as rated to the Grand Jury cess; the South liberties extend from four to five statute miles, comprehending 14,754 acres assessed, making in all 16,458 Irish acres, equal to about 26,600 statute acres, exclusively of the site of the town; the small island of Inniscattery, about 60 miles distant, at the mouth of the Shannon, forms a part of the parish of St. Mary, and is within the jurisdiction of the corporation.

The mayor is a justice of the peace within the county of the city, and ex officio a magistrate for the county at large; he is admiral of the Shannon, and, with the recorder and aldermen, has very extensive magisterial and judicial powers connected with the exclusive admiralty jurisdiction given by the charter of James I., being empowered to appoint all the officers of a court of admiralty, which court, however, has fallen into disuse; he is a judge in local courts, and is named first in the commission with the judges at the assizes for the county of the city; and is a coroner within the county of the city and the parts of the Shannon comprised within the admiralty jurisdiction, and clerk of the markets. The other magistrates are the recorder and four charter justices; six additional justices are appointed by the lord-lieutenant under the authority of the act of 1823.

The county of the city has an exclusive criminal jurisdiction exercised by its magistrates at the court of quarter sessions and at petty sessions; assizes are held for it twice a year by the mayor and the judges travelling the Munster circuit. The court of quarter sessions is held before the mayor, recorder, and other justices, for the trial of such cases as are not reserved for the assizes. Petty sessions are held every Wednesday and Saturday before the mayor and five or six of the civic magistrates. The chief civil court is the Tholsel or city court, in which the mayor and sheriffs preside as judges, assisted by the recorder, when present, as assessor, and the town-clerk as prothonotary: it is held under the charter of Henry V., which gave pleas, real and personal, to any amount arising within the county of the city: the court sits every Wednesday; the process is either by attachment against goods, action against the person, or latitat, but the last is seldom resorted to.

A court of conscience is held by the mayor every Thursday, by prescription, for the recovery of debts under 40s. late currency. The assistant barrister for the county of Limerick sits twice a year for the trial of civil bill cases within the county of the city.

The ordinary revenues of the corporation are derived from rents of houses and lands in the city and liberties, the fishery of the salmon weir, tolls and customs (which yield by far the greatest portion), and the cleansing of the streets in the old city, producing a gross income of between £4000 and £5000 per annum. The peace preservation police consists of a chief magistrate, 1 chief officer of the second class, 49 men and 4 horses; 37 men are stationed in the city barracks, and the remainder in the liberties: their expense for the year ending June 1st, 1836. was £1852. 1. 6., two-thirds of which was paid from the Consolidated Fund, and the remainder by Grand Jury presentment. This force is occasionally employed beyond the limits of the civic jurisdiction. The city is also the head-quarters of the revenue police of the district, the other stations of which are Gort, Ennis, and Cashel; it consists of a sub-inspector, a sub-officer, serjeant, and 15 privates. There are a lieutenant, two deputy-lieutenants, and 15 magistrates, including those already noticed. The amount of Grand Jury presentments for 1835 was £6311. 16. 4., of which £620. 15. 9. was for repairs of roads, bridges, &c.; £3894. 9. 11. for public buildings, charities, salaries, and incidents; £525. 10. 4 ½. for police, and £1271. 0. 3 ½. for repayment of Government advances.

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