HC Deb 25 February 1886 vol 302 cc1227-8

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether he is correctly reported as having declared on 22nd February that— Her Majesty's Government are very desirous to see the authority of the Crown in Ireland restored to that full state of efficiency which it enjoys in England and Scotland; and, if so, whether Her Majesty's Government have taken or are taking effectual steps to put an end forthwith to so alarming a state of affairs as is implied in this confession that the authority of the Crown is in a definite degree in abeyance in Ireland?


I thought that this Question had been answered by me more than once. With regard to the words ascribed to me, I have no complaint whatever to make of the report of my words. I have no doubt of their substantial accuracy. I considered, and still consider, that the efficiency of the authority of the Crown in any portion of Her Majesty's Dominions must be measured by the degree of fulness with which the Judicial and Administrative Departments of the Government attain the end for which they are appointed in the protection of personal liberty, property, and life. Well, Sir, I have stated more than once, and I apprehend it cannot be denied, that, in the opinion of Her Majesty's Government, the question of social order in Ireland requires close attention, and we are engaged in considering by what means we can obtain remedies for the existing state of things.


asked the First Lord of the Treasury, If it is in accordance with the invitation conveyed in his letter of the 12th instant to Lord De Vesci, seeking information in reference to the wants and wishes of the Irish people, that Lord De Vesci, through his agent Mr. Fitzherbert, has been trying to compel his labourers and small tenants to sign a document protesting against Home Rule for Ireland, and, at the same time, compelling those labourers who signed the paper to remit a portion of their week's wages in order to pay expenses?


In regard to the first part of the Question, the object of my letter to Lord de Vesci was to make it known, for the purpose of obviating possible misapprehensions, that I should be very glad to receive information of the wants and wishes of the people of Ireland from those best qualified to describe them, quite irrespective of parties or opinions. I do not see the connection between the object of that letter and the report which the Question recites. I am aware of no such proceeding on the part of Lord de Vesci or his agent. I have never known Lord de Vesci except in the character of a most humane, kind, and estimable man; and I should be very slow indeed to credit without evidence any report to a contrary effect. I have no information supporting the report here mentioned; and I do not find, upon telegraphic inquiry, that the Government of Ireland are in possession of any such information.

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