HC Deb 01 March 1867 vol 185 cc1233-4

said, he rose to ask the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Whether it is true that a reporter employed by the Cork Herald newspaper was arrested at Killarney, and has been imprisoned, and is still in close confinement, because, in the discharge of what he considered to be his duty, he offered for transmission by Telegraph a message bearing the heading "Disaffection amongst the Military;" and, if it be true, by what legal authority that arrest has been made?


Sir, on the 20th of February a telegram was taken to the telegraph clerk at Killarney to this effect— Rumoured disaffection of troops. Officers heard men singing songs with civilians. Removed by police. Military sent to quarters. Fourteen soldiers missing this morning. A wire cut last night at Cluanmullane. I need hardly assure the House that with the exception of the last—the cutting of the telegraph wire—the whole was entirely false. On this message being taken to the magistrates by the person charged with the conduct of the telegraph at Killarney, the magistrates thought it their duty to order the arrest of the person who was proved to have sent the telegram. It turned out that the gentleman's name was Tracey, and that he was a reporter of the Cork Herald. The magistrates considered that this person, in sending this message, had been guilty of a very serious offence against the law of the land; and they committed him to take his trial at the ensuing assizes. Bail, however, was offered on his part and accepted. As the trial is pending, and as this gentleman has given notice of his intention to take action at law against the magistrates for false imprisonment, I am sure the House will feel that I should exceed my duty if I expressed any opinion on the transaction.