HC Deb 18 May 1885 vol 298 cc711-2

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether his attention has been called to the circumstances under which Mr. Daniel Ryan, of Doon, county Limerick, and his wife have been prosecuted under the Crimes Act; is it the fact that Mr. Ryan's mother, Mrs. Mary Ryan, an old woman of ninety years of age, was on 16th April evicted from her farm at Carrigbeg, on the property of Major Hare; was she carried out on a pallet, in a dying condition, by emergency bailiffs, after she had just received the last sacrament from the Rev. Patrick O'Donnell, and cast on the roadside, in a bitter wind, despite the entreaties and protest of the clergyman; did the dispensary medical officer of the district, who visited her shortly after the evition, certify that she was unfit to be removed to hospital, and order a nurse to be provided for her; did the relieving officer, finding her in danger of death, order her removal to the adjoining house, and, acting on the recommendation of the doctor, appoint her daughter-in-law, Mrs. Daniel Ryan, to act as nurse; was the nurse so appointed, with her husband, prosecuted under the Crimes Act on a charge of forcible entry, for remaining in attendance upon the dying woman; at whose instance was the prosecution instituted, and what has been the result; and, will any steps be taken to prevent the Crimes Act from being put to such uses?


Daniel Ryan, with his wife and mother, was evicted from his holding on the 16th of April for non-payment of five years' rent. The old woman was in a delicate, but not a dying, state. She is, I believe, still alive. On the next day they were found to be again in possession of the house in circumstances which led to the conclusion that re-entry had been forcibly effected. It is not the case that they were there in consequence of the orders of the relieving officer, who, as well as the doctor, did not appear on the scene until after they had re-entered the house. On the fact of the re-entry being reported to the Divisional Magistrate, he, without being aware of all the circumstances of the eviction, came to the conclusion that an offence was disclosed, and directed that Ryan, who had already been informed of the illegality of his action, should again be warned of the consequences of his remaining in the house. This was done, but Ryan still refused to quit. He and his wife were then prosecuted, with the result that the magistrates appeared to have considered that there was no proof to show by whom the forcible re-entry had been committed, and dismissed the case. I am advised, however, that there was primâ facie evidence of the Ryans having forced open the house; but, at the same time, with the full circumstances of the eviction before them, I am inclined to think that the magistrates could not have come to any other decision than the one they arrived at, and that if the Divisional Magistrate had been fully aware of these circumstances he would not have ordered the prosecution. At the same time any hardship which may have attended the case is due not to the administration of the Crimes Act, but to the exercise by the landlord of his right to evict. So far as the Crimes Act is concerned, the prosecution resulted in the acquittal of the accused for an offence which, under the ordinary law, would have rendered them liable to have been indicted for a misdemeanour.