HC Deb 23 March 1882 vol 267 c1660

asked the Attorney General for Ireland, having regard to the fact that Mr. H. McDougall, agent to Lord Gormanston, did a few days ago set fire with his own hands to the houses of a number of tenants whom he charged with having taken forcible possession, but which charge he failed to substantiate, Whether such action, taken without legal decree, was a criminal action punishable by Law; whether, even if a legal decree had been obtained, it was an illegal action to take possession by means of firing the houses over the heads of the tenants; whether such action on the part of the agent, being likely to lead to a breach of the peace, would come within the provisions of the Protection of Life and Property Act; and, whether he intends to take such steps in the matter as may tend to a maintenance of Law and order in the district?


Sir, it appears that these tenants were evicted for non-payment of rent last year, and the period for redemption expired last December. The holdings thenceforth became the property of the landlord, discharged of the tenancies, and the tenants were merely trespassers by re-entering, even though they did so peaceably and without force. They were, I understand, then dispossessed without breach of the peace and without excitement; and the agent, being in absolute possession of the houses, was entitled, if the landlord thought fit, to destroy them without committing any breach of the Criminal Law. Under these circumstances, it is not proposed to take any step in reference to the matter.