§ SIR JOHN SWINBURNE (Staffordshire, Lichfield)
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, When Her Majesty's Government will be prepared to state whether, in the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown, the Coroner's warrant lately issued by Mr. Coroner Rice to commit Constable Bulmer, of the Royal Irish Constabulary, is legal or illegal? As the Chief Secretary, to whom the Question is addressed, is not in his place, I will ask the Attorney General for Ireland to answer it.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. HOLMES) (Dublin University)
, in reply, said, he had only seen this Question within the last two or three minutes; but he hoped to be able 1147 to give an answer on the subject on Thursday.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT (Derby)
Has a week elapsed without the Representatives of the Irish Government in the House of Commons asking their Law Officers whether the Constabulary are justified in disobeying the warrant of the Coroner?
§ MR. HOLMES
A misapprehension in reference to this matter seems to exist in the minds of several hon. Members. Friday evening was the first occasion the attention of the Chief Secretary was called to the matter. I immediately communicated with Ireland; and the reply I gave to a Question on yesterday evening was the reply that came from Ireland. I have since communicated by telegraph with Ireland to get a copy of the warrant and have it forwarded here, in order that the Law Officers may be able to express an opinion on it.
§ MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)
asked, whether it was not the duty of the Sub-Inspector of Police, to whom the warrant was handed, to put it in execution, leaving the question of the legality of the warrant to be decided by the Law Officers?
§ MR. HOLMES
said, it was certainly the duty of a Sub-Inspector of Police to take instructions from the Heads of Departments, who would take the opinion of the Law Officers in the ordinary course, with whom rested the question of the legality of the warrants. The matter not having been brought to his notice, he took steps to ensure that it should be brought to his notice as soon as possible.
§ MR. P. O'BRIEN (Monaghan, N.)
asked, who in Ireland was responsible to the Chief Secretary for informing him of these irregularities before they were brought up in the House of Commons by hon. Members? Was it General Buller's duty?
§ [No reply.]