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! DIARY OF COMING ENQAOIEMENfS.-

IRISH REIGN OF TERROR.

T RADICAL RURAL LEGISLATION.

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T RADICAL RURAL LEGISLATION. On previous occasions we have called atten- tion to the legislative efforts of the present Government, and have emphaeised the lack of discrimination in the matter of the requirements of country districts as contrasted with the needs of congested areas. A striking case in point is the Probation of Offenders Act of last session, which comes into force on the lfct of January next. The Act repeals the Probation of First Offenders Act, 1887, and ecction 16 of the Summary Jurisdiction Act, 1379, and confers more comprehensive powers on the justices than were contained in tho repealed statute. It provides, inter alia, for the appointment of probation officers during the month of January in each year, the province of such officers being to befriend the offender with a view to his reformation and to bring the culprit before the court, should he prove undeserving of the leniency extended to him. The duties of the probation officers are set out at some length in the Home Secretary's Rules, recently issued, and provision is made for the appointment of female officers for boys and gin's of school age, as well as of women and girJe over 16. The duty of notifying every appointment to the Clerk of the Pea-c-c and Chief Constable is imposed on the Justices' Clerk. Periodical reports are to be furnished to the court by the officers ap- pointed, also an annual report in the month of January on a prescribed form, which last- named report the Justices' Clerk is to forward during the month of February to the Secretary of State. We have omitted reference to several minor provisions, but the foregoing suffices to shew the elaborate nature of the Act and rules and their inapplicability to petty sessional divisions in country districts. It cannot 00 maintained for one moment that country Justioet; have failed to appreciate the value of the Probation Act of 1887, or neglected to utilise its provisions, when it was desirable to do eo, and yet, on enquiry, we find that in six petty sessional divisions in our immediate vicinity there are only two recognizances under the Act of 1887 now in force and that one of these will expire on the 11th January. f

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