HC Deb 18 February 1867 vol 185 cc462-3

said, in the absence of his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Serjeant Barry) who had given notice of the Question, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for War, Whether the Military authorities have instituted or intend to institute any inquiry, or have taken or intend to take any action, with respect to the alleged conduct of the sixteen men of the 12th Lancers who, on the polling day of the late Election for the County of Waterford, according to the sworn testimony of the officer in command, broke away from his control, and without orders charged the people along the Quay of Dungarvan, the result being that two persons were killed, one of them, a respectable inhabitant of that town, having been, while standing near the door of his dwelling, stabbed by one of the soldiers with a lance, as appears by the reported evidence and verdict of the coroner's jury?


Sir, in consequence of the Notice given by the hon. and learned Member, I requested the Commander-in-Chief to apply to the Commander-in-Chief in Ireland to know what steps had been taken; and the answer of the Commander-in-Chief in Ireland is as follows:— It was considered that it would be unusual and an unbecoming interference with the rights of the constitutional and legal tribunal—the coroner's inquest, and of the judicial proceedings which might result from it—to hold a formal military inquiry into the Dungarvan riots and the matters connected with them—a matter which was entirely in the hands of the civil law of the country, and dealt with by it. The military authorities had exhausted inquiry, and had obtained all the information which was in their power to do on this subject. As regards the conduct of the 12th Lancers, the reports of the superior officer, Colonel Sawyer, commanding the 6th Carbineers, who was sent expressly from Cahir to Dungarvan, to command the troops during the contested election for Waterford, prove, as did all the reports of the other officers commanding detachments employed during the election, that, notwithstanding the greatest provocations, the conduct of the troops was very good; indeed, Colonel Sawyer calls it 'admirable,' and that if casualties among the people, however much to be regretted, did occur, they were unavoidable.