HC Deb 09 April 1883 vol 277 cc1822-3

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether, during the recent contested election for the office of Poor Law Guardian, in the Mullanalaghta Division of the Granard Union, county Longford, Colonel Dopping Hepenstall, a justice of the peace and deputy Lieutenant, made use of his police escort to enable him to intimidate his tenants into voting for the candidate of his choice; whether he went from house to house, gun in hand, accompanied by two policemen, calling on those whom he visited to vote for the candidate he supported; whether, on two occasions, he told the police to drive from the place the electors who were canvassing for the national candidate, and threatened these electors that he would commit them to gaol for three months if they did not go away; and, whether, if this be true, the Chief Secretary will take some steps to prevent police protection from being used for such purposes?


Sir, I have received a telegram, stating that Colonel Hepenstall, who is under police protection, was out, accompanied, as usual, by an armed escort. He saw a crowd crossing his land, and, on inquiry, he ascertained that they were canvassing for a Poor Law election. He ordered them off, telling them that they were trespassers. The telegram, however, does not state whether the land was in his occupation or not. He himself canvassed for another candidate, and being under constant police protection, he was, as a matter of course, accompanied by police when doing so; but he distinctly denies having intimidated or having used the police, either to support his canvass, or drive off electors or canvassers, or having threatened to send any one to gaol. If the hon. Member is not satisfied with this explanation, I will make any further inquiry he wishes.