The Minister for Home Affairs told us that representations sent up in the form which the Seanad seeks to prevent are invariably sent to the magistrate for his comments. The Minister did not make clear why the magistrate cannot make his comments at the time of the passing of the sentence. He said that sometimes magistrates imposed exemplary sentences, having regard to their effect locally. The sentence is given apparently because of its effect opinion I was not entirely convinced by the Minister's reference to new facts coming up, because anybody who has experience as a magistrate knows the nature of the new facts brought up. They are not facts, as a rule, bearing on the offence; they are facts referring to the extreme poverty of the man's family or the great respectability of his uncle or his grandfather, and they bring in what is a curse—the curse of canvassing. In the old, days magistrates used to be canvassed, and at the present time I have no doubt members of the Dáil will receive numerous appeals from all quarters of their constituencies. I will do the Minister justice by saying that I do not think he will give way in the slightest to any of those representations; but we must remember that we are not dealing only with the present Minister. We are laying down the framework of government for the future, and we must have regard to any and every Minister who may be attached to future Governments.
The Minister for Fisheries gave us very enlightening figures, from which it seems to me that even now matters outside the view of the Fisheries Department enter into consideration. From the figures given us it appears that whereas the Fisheries Department recommended the remission of 42 sentences, actually 64 were remitted; that is, 22 were remitted by the Minister for Home Affairs against the advice of the Minister for Fisheries.