HC Deb 07 April 1848 vol 98 cc3-4

MR. J. O'CONNELL said, that seeing the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland in his place, he was anxious to put a question to him, of which he had given him notice. He would confine himself for the present to the simple point—whether the notice of the Government had been drawn to the strange facts that had gone forth within the last few days, that a man named Kirwan had been taken up in Dublin who had ordered six pikes to be made, having been desired to do so by Colonel Browne, one of the commissioners of police in that city; and that Colonel Browne had come forward at the police-office, and had declared that it was by his orders Kirwan had so acted? It appeared that Colonel Browne had acknowledged that it was exceedingly dirty work, and it also appeared that this person so employed had attended one of the meetings that had been denounced in that House, and had uttered cries there of the most seditious character, with a view of thereby inciting the people to sedition; and that on being asked what he wanted with the pikes, he replied that he wanted to use them in the coming times. It also appeared, that documents had been found in his possession referring to the plot which he was engaged in, getting up. From the dangers into which innocent citizens had been plunged by such characters on former occasions, great excitement now prevailed in Dublin on this subject; and he wished therefore to know from the right hon. Baronet whether the attention of the Government had been called to this matter; and he trusted, that as soon as the Government had time to consider the subject, the right hon. Baronet would allow him to ask what course the Government meant to pursue, and whether they intended to retain that officer in his present situation?

SIR W. SOMERVILLE almost wished that his hon. Friend had postponed his question until some future time, for he could state that no official account had reached him of the transaction alluded to, and that he knew nothing of it beyond the accounts which had appeared in the public papers. He should say, that these accounts appeared to him to be extremely contradictory; and, if his hon. Friend permitted him, he would rather not commit himself to any answer founded upon them. This he should say, that a more meritorious officer than Colonel Browne could not be found in any portion of Her Majesty's service, either civil or military. He knew nothing of the speech attributed to Colonel Browne at the police-office.

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