HC Deb 13 April 1848 vol 98 c284

MR. J. O'CONNELL asked the right hon. Baronet the Secretary for Ireland, whether it was the intention of Her Majesty's Government that Colonel Browne should remain in his present office as head of the Dublin police? Colonel Browne could not expect to retain the respect or confidence of the public after what had occurred. He also asked the right hon. Baronet whether Her Majesty's Government were aware that Colonel Browne had publicly denied having instructed the man Kirwan to give orders for the manufacture of pikes, and whether that denial did not appear to be an afterthought?

SIR W. SOMERVILLE said, that when the hon. Gentleman put a similar question to him a few evenings ago, he stated he would prefer not giving a distinct answer at that time, because he thought no dependence could be placed upon the newspaper reports, they being exceedingly contradictory. He was exceedingly glad he had deferred answering the question on that occasion, because he was now enabled to give a distinct contradiction to any such assertion as that Colonel Browne had employed individuals to make pikes. He could not do better than read Colonel Browne's own statement of the circumstances. He said— I have to state most positively that I never gave directions to Kirwan, or any other person, to entice or induce blacksmiths, or other artisans, to manufacture pikes; but having received information that such weapons were made in several parts of Dublin, I employed Kirwan and others to call at the blacksmiths' shops, and buy some of them if they were to be had. I even cautioned them that the pikes must be ready made. Here was Colonel Browne's positive and distinct contradiction that he ever employed Kirwan to order the manufacture of pikes. When his hon. Friend asked him whether he did not think this was an afterthought, he must say he thought the positive contradiction of Colonel Browne, an officer and a gentleman of high respectability, deserved credence rather more than the report of a newspaper taken in a police court, upon which, as every hon. Member knew, entire reliance could not be placed.

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