HC Deb 04 February 1887 vol 310 cc646-8
COLONEL SANDYS (Lancashire, S.W., Bootle)

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether his attention has been drawn to the following telegraphic report of the state of Ireland, dated 29th January— An attempted eviction near Rathkeale had to be abandoned owing to the large force of people assembled there; the houses were well fortified, and several men arrived armed with scythes and pitchforks. The occupants of the houses threw boiling water upon the bailiffs when they ventured to approach the dwellings; and, if this report is substantially correct, what directions will be given to the police as to their action against armed resistance to the Law, until such resistance is broken?

MR. W. ABRAHAM (Limerick, W.)

Before the right hon. Gentleman answers the Question, I wish to ask him whether he is aware the attempted eviction was that of a poor widow who owed an exorbitant rent; and whether, previous to proceedings being taken against her, she made an offer to submit the amount of rent to fair arbitration, which the landlord declined to do?


In reply to the Question of the hon. Member (Mr. Abraham), I have to say, in the first place, that Mrs. Scanlon had been evicted long ago—so long ago as August, 1885—and was replaced as caretaker, and that, while holding possession as caretaker under the Petty Sessions decree, this last eviction was carried out. In reply to my hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Sandys) I would say that I hope he will not form his opinion as to the state of Ireland from isolated occurrences of this kind. The report mentioned in this Question contained a grossly exaggerated account of the circumstances to which it relates. It is true that on the first occasion when the eviction was attempted it was not carried out. This was because the Sheriff had not provided himself with implements to enable him to effect an entrance into the house. There was no assemblage of persons outside of any kind. On the second occasion the eviction was carried out; and I am informed that a settlement was subsequently arrived at between the landlord and the tenant, and that the tenant was re-instated as tenant, under a new agreement, at a reduced rent. The case does not appear to show any necessity for new directions to the Constabulary; but, with reference to other reports of the same kind as this, I may say generally that, where an attempt to carry out an eviction has failed, it has always been carried out at a later date; and while I have the honour to be Chief Secretary for Ireland I will do my best to secure that it always shall be.