HC Deb 24 April 1882 vol 268 cc1247-50

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether Government will undertake that in future there shall be no interference with persons building or occupying huts on sites properly procured, or with evicted tenants availing themselves of the shelter thus provided?


Where the huts are merely for the shelter of the persons building or occupying them there will be no interference; but in all cases the action of the Government must depend upon the particular facts of each case.


I am sure the House will believe that it is with extreme reluctance that I resort a second time in this matter to the use of the Forms of the House. ["Older!"]


I rise to a point of Order, Sir. It will be in the recollection of the House that the hon. Member for Sligo, on Thursday last, put a Question to the Chief Secretary for Ireland with reference to this matter, and moved the adjournment of the House in order to discuss it. I am quite aware—[Cries of" Order!" from the Home Rulers]I—I am explaining the point of Order which I wish to put—I am aware that it is the practice of the House, under the exigencies of the moment, to extend its indulgence to any hon. Member who wishes to raise a Question upon a Motion for Adjournment; but I submit that when an hon. Member intends a second time to make use of the Motion for Adjournment on the same Question it is an abuse of the indulgence of the House, and an excess of even that outrageous licence which has grown up of late years.


On the point of Order, Sir, I—[Cries of "Order!"]


As has been stated by the right hon. Gentleman who raised the point of Order, this case is certainly without precedent. The House is very indulgent to hon. Members in allowing the adjournment of the House to be moved before the commencement of the appointed Business of the day. That step was taken by the hon. Member for Sligo upon an occasion last week, when the same subject now raised was fully discussed; and I am bound to say that I consider that to raise again the same Question upon this occasion would be a gross abuse of the privilege ordinarily conceded to hon. Members. At the same time, I am not prepared, without direct instructions from the House, to say that the Question of Adjournment shall not be put from the Chair.


Mr. Speaker, I shall not proceed, as I originally intended, considering the nature of the remarks you have addressed to the House, and especially the considerate manner in which you, at the close of your statement, guarded the Privileges of the House. I shall merely ask leave to read a letter from a parish priest of Tulla, with respect to an interview which he had with the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary on the subject before the House— DEAR SIR,—As I had a large share in the erection of the wooden huts in the parish of Tulla, I take the liberty of sending you the following facts in connection with them. When the Chief Secretary visited here, I asked him if it were legal for me to assist the lady (Miss Kirk) who had just arrived from Dublin for the sole purpose of erecting huts for the evicted tenants and giving them temporary relief. Here are Mr. Forster's words—'It is perfectly legal, and nothing could he more legal than for man to assist man, and so long as the lady confines herself to these duties she should not he molested.' I then promised the Chief Secretary that I would act as a special policeman, and see that this lady did not in any way incite the people to pay no rent. I now assert that this lady did not, either directly or indirectly, interfere in anything outside what Mr. Forster had declared to he 'perfectly legal,' and that she always declined to answer any question outside the building of the huts and the distribution of a little charity. Miss Kirk is now in Limerick Gaol for acting legally. With regard to the erection of these huts, Miss Kirk and I were opposed to them whenever lodgings could be procured. Now, we erected them on sites for the most part where both landlord and occupier had given full and free consent. Only three of the entire number have been erected on land without the consent of the landlord, which consent would be applied for had we known his address. On the day of eviction the owner and occupier of a fee-simple property voluntarily came forward, and offered sites for huts for all evicted tenants. Several huts are erected, and others in course of erection, on that fee-simple property. Some of the evicted, with families of 10 and 12, first went into lodgings with neighbours who had large families and small houses. These lodgings were convenient to the holdings from which they had been evicted, and yet, as they had not sufficient accommodation, they went a considerable distance to wooden huts. This does not look like watching the farms. I know nothing about some of the evicted having paid their rents and are afraid of returning to their farms. Intimidation and outrage in the district have ceased. By Miss Kirk and myself telling these people that if any outrage or intimidation took place we would immediately break off all communication with them, we brought about a condition which the vast police, and military force too, had failed to effect. MR. Speaker, I submit that letter to the consideration of the House. I thank you sincerely for the manner in which you have guarded, on this occasion, our Privileges in this House; and I give Notice that I shall, on the earliest available occasion, call attention to the subject.


wished to put a Question arising out of an answer given by the Chief Secretary a few moments ago. Had the attention of the right hon. Gentleman been called to Section 41 of the Code for the regulation of the "Royal Irish Constabulary? The section in question provided that— Before issuing any orders of a general nature to police officers under his command the County Inspector will submit them to the Inspector General for his approval. What he wished to know was, whether the order directing the issue of County Inspector Smith's Circular was submitted to the approval of the Inspector General?


replied, that he was quite cognizant of the section of the Code referred to by the hon. Member, and that the Inspector General was not aware of the Circular before it was issued. He hoped that on a future occasion he should be able to give the House much information on the subject.