HC Deb 16 March 1886 vol 303 cc972-3

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether his attention has been called to Mr. Baron Dowse's address to the Grand Jury of the county of Kerry, in which he states— That this county is in a much worse state than it has he been in for years; that there are no less than three hundred offences specially reported to the constabulary since the Assizes of 1885; that these offences are of a very serious nature, consisting of two cases of murder, eighteen cases of letters threatening to murder, thirty-nine cases of cattle, horse, and sheep stealing, eleven cases of arson and other wilful burnings, eighteen cases of killing and maiming cattle, fifty-two cases of seizing arms and levying contributions for money and goods, seventy-four cases of printing, writing, posting, sending threatening letters and notices, and twenty-four cases of intimidation, besides other offences minor in point of importance but serious in nature; and, whether the Irish Executive have any reason to doubt the correctness of Mr. Baron Dowse's statement?


I have no reason to doubt the accuracy of this quotation from Mr. Baron Dowse's charge, which must, of course, be taken as an expression of the views of the Judge himself on the information laid before him. There was, no doubt, an increase between July and January of crime in Kerry, and the county is in parts very demoralized. But by the latest reports which have reached me I am glad to say there are indications of an improvement in the more disturbed districts; and while the Returns for the past four months show a considerable growth of agrarian outrages over the same months of last year and the year before, I find that the number is only 10 more than in the same period of 1883; and, going back to the more disturbed years of 1882 and 1881, the number in the former year doubled and in the latter year quadrupled that of the present year in the same period. The numbers are—64 in four months of 1885–6; 54 in four months of 1882–3; 131 in four months of 1881–2; and 266 in four months of 1880–1. Therefore, I confess I do not quite understand the significance of Baron Dowse's remarks.

MR. W. O'BRIEN (Tyrone, S.)

Has the right hon. Gentleman any reason to doubt the accuracy of the charges in 15 of the 20 other Irish counties, with regard to which the Judges stated that the state of the calendars was of a satisfactory character.


Order, order!

MR. MITCHELL HENRY (Glasgow, Blackfriars)

asked whether it was true or not that 300 serious offences had been reported by the Constabulary in the county of Kerry, as stated by Baron Dowse?


Yes, Sir; I accept those figures; but I must remind the hon. Gentleman that those 300 crimes were not all agrarian outrages. They cover all the general crimes that came before the Judges of Assize.


They were specially reported offences.


I beg to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it is not a fact that a number of evictions exactly equivalent to the number of outrages have occurred in Kerry at the instance of one single landlord?


Order, order!