asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland, If his attention has been called to the fact that a number of American gentlemen intend visiting Ireland, in the coming summer, for the purpose of competing, on the part of America, in an international rifle-shooting match, and that some of the Irish municipalities, and the Irish people in general, are anxious to accord to those representatives of American riflemen a cordial and hearty welcome; whether it is true that immediately on landing in Queenstown those gentlemen will be liable to arrest and imprisonment for having and carrying their rifles without a licence from the police authorities; and, whether it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to present to those American gentlemen, immediately on landing, the requisite licence to have and carry their rifles while in Ireland?
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
I have learnt, Sir, the fact that some gentlemen who are the representatives of rifle-shooting in America intend to visit Ireland in the summer for the purpose of engaging in an international shooting match, and I feel assured that all classes of Irishmen, including the Government, will give them, as the hon. Member 787 states, a cordial and hearty welcome. Those gentlemen are doubtless law-abiding citizens in their own country, and as such will not be likely to break the laws of any country they may visit; therefore, they will no more render themselves liable to arrest and imprisonment for having rifles in their possession than the number of gentlemen, both English and Scotch, who annually visit Ireland for sporting purposes. I am not aware that any real inconvenience is caused to peaceful visitors to Ireland by the special provisions of the law of the country relating to arms; but if it should appear necessary, at the time, to make any special arrangement to secure that these gentlemen shall not be inconvenienced, the Government will be prepared to make it.
begged to observe that the right hon. Gentleman had omitted to answer the most important part of his Question. According to law these gentlemen were liable to arrest on landing at Queenstown.
I give Notice, Sir, that I shall put the Question in another form—namely, whether these gentlemen having their rifles in their trunks will not be wilfully breaking the law.