HC Deb 26 March 1872 vol 210 cc689-90

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Whether his attention has been called to the satisfactory condition of the borough of Dundalk and county of Louth, both as regards offences against the person and against property, as evidenced by the charge of the presiding Judge to the Grand Jury; and, whether he is prepared to recommend the removal of the Proclamation under the Peace Preservation Act?


Sir, I am obliged to my hon. Friend for having postponed the Question until now, when I hoped I might be able to give him a definite answer. It is perfectly true that the state of the county of Louth, and, I am happy to say, of many other counties, is extremely satisfactory, both as regards agrarian and other crimes. At the same time, seizures have been and are occasionally made of rifles and other arms, which are supposed to be introduced for the use of the Fenian organization; and we have reason to apprehend that if the Proclamation were removed from all the counties to which I have referred, an attempt might be made to introduce a still larger number of arms. Under these circumstances, I regret to say that the Government are not prepared to remove the Proclamation at present from any of the Irish counties; but the Government are considering whether a distinction might not be drawn between rifles and the other arms to which I have referred and arms of another description, which there would be no reason to apprehend were intended for any treasonable purpose. I shall be able to say shortly after the reassembling of Parliament whether any partial removal of the Proclamation from the peaceful counties in Ireland can be adopted.