§ MR. E. HARRINGTON (Kerry, W.)
I rise, Sir, to a point of Order. I wish to know whether I shall be in Order in referring to a Notice which was given on Monday by the hon. Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell) of his intention to put a Question to the Chief Secretary on Thursday, the 10th 1753 of March. If the hon. Member is in his place I would ask him to put the Question, or if not I will read it, as it contains serious imputations on the character of the district which I have the honour to represent. If the hon. Member declines to put the Question I will ask you, Sir, to allow me to put it, and if the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-General for Ireland is unable to give an answer to it, will you permit me to give an answer myself? I have received a telegram from the scene of the alleged outrage which purports to convey a united consensus of opinion from the priests, magistrates, and police of the district, and therefore I wish to know if I am at liberty to read the Question and also the telegram in reference to it?
§ MR. SPEAKER
I have not seen the Question to which the hon. gentleman refers, but as he represents the district in which an outrage is alleged to have occurred he may make a personal explanation.
§ MR. E. HARRINGTON
Then, in the first instance I will read the Question. It appeared on the Notice Paper of Monday, March the 7th, in the name of Mr. T. W. Russell, and it was as follows:—To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether his attention has been called to the following paragraph in The Times of the 7th instant:—'A party of ruffians recently visited the house of a farmer in the neighbourhood of Killarney, whom they found with only his daughter in the house. The poor girl clung to her father to save him from violence, and was laid hold of by one of the miscreants who grossly insulted her and endeavoured to drag her away. The old man indignantly resisted his conduct, but another miscreant, drawing a revolver, presented it at the old man's head and threatened to shoot him if he interfered. The girl was then carried off and outraged while her father was kept in terror of his life;' whether he can say if the information conveyed in the paragraph is true; and, if any arrests have been made.That Notice, Sir, was marked on the Paper for to-day, but to-day it does not appear on the list of Questions, nor do I find that it has been put off for a subsequent day.
§ MR. SPEAKER
As the Notice of the Question has been withdrawn, I shall not take any objection to the hon. Member making an explanation.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)
Before the hon. Member proceeds to give any answer to the Question may I be permitted to say that on reading the 1754 paragraph which appeared in The Times on Monday I placed the Question on the Notice Paper. [Cries of "Order!"] I have risen to a point of Order.
§ MR. E. HARRINGTON
I have received a telegram from the hon. Member for East Kerry (Mr. Sheehan), who represents the Division in which the outrage is alleged to have occurred, which is as follows:—Have asked police, priests, and magistrates. There is not one word of truth in it.—Sheehan.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
With the permission of the House I may, perhaps, be allowed to state that on reading the paragraph in The Times of Monday I put a Notice on the Paper in order to test the accuracy of the statement. I thought it a very serious statement, and on learning yesterday that the police could get no information as to the facts, I withdrew the Question from the Paper, not wishing to give it the publicity of this House.
MR. P.O'BRIEN (Monaghan, N.)
May I ask whether, considering the notoriety which The Times has obtained for the inaccuracy of its information, any extracts from that paper will be allowed to appear on the Votes of this House in future?
§ [No reply.]