§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
I also beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether his attention has been directed to a letter, signed Abina Austin, to The Cork Daily Herald of the 30th ultimo; whether Abina Austin was the same person for a moonlighting outrage upon whom three young men were arrested near Coolykerane, Millstreet, County Cork; whether it is correct, as stated by her—That after she had declared that she did not know any of her assailants, District Inspector Hill went and visited her a second time, and endeavoured to induce her to give evidence against these men after their arrest;what were the inducements offered; and, whether an inquiry will be made into those allegations?
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY UNDER SECRETARY (Colonel KING-HARMAN) (Kent, Isle of Thanet)
(who replied) said: Constable Austin has been discharged from the Royal Irish Constabulary. His wife is the same person who was assaulted by Moonlighters, who cut off her hair, and then poured tar over her head and neck. Austin was discharged for marrying without leave, he not having served seven years in the Force, and having, therefore, failed to fulfil the marriage conditions. Ten well-known bad characters were arrested on information supplied at the time by the girl. It is not the case that District Inspector Hill and the Head Constable tried to frighten the girl and to make her swear what they liked. In the course of his inquiries into the outrage the District Inspector saw her and all the members of her family on several occasions, and on one occasion he spoke to her in a field near her house. The Inspector General of Constabulary very much regretted that he had to discharge Austin; but he was obliged to do so to maintain a rule which is absolutely necessary for the efficiency of the Force. The constable was a promising and well-conducted man; and for this reason the Inspector General suggested to the County Inspector that he should endeavour to obtain his appointment to the Liverpool Police.
§ DR. TANNER
Might I ask the right hon. and gallant Gentleman, on how many occasions did this District Inspector Hill interview the girl; and what were the inducements which she states in her letter to The Cork Herald he offered in order to bring about perjury, so that he could convict these men?
§ COLONEL KING-HARMAN
I am not aware that she stated any inducements were offered to her to give evidence, and certainly not to commit perjury.
§ DR. TANNER
I shall give the right hon. and gallant Gentleman a copy of The Herald, with these two letters purporting to come from these two people; and then, perhaps, the right hon. and gallant Gentleman will see if he can give 1357 me a satisfactory answer to the Question.