HC Deb 01 April 1889 vol 334 cc1242-3
MR. SEXTON (West Belfast)

I beg to ask, on behalf of my hon. Friend (Mr. Gilhooly), whether the attention of the Chief Secretary for Ireland has been drawn to the report of the eviction of Michael Donovan, at Ballydurane, near Clonakilty, County Cork, from which it appears that Mathew Donovan, aged 86 years, the father of the tenant, was dragged from his bed of illness, and fainted when taken from the house; whether the eviction was abandoned some months ago owing to the illness of Mathew Donovan; whether Dr. Hayes, on behalf of the landlord, certified on Wednesday last that Mr. Donovan was fit to be removed; whether previous to the eviction, Father Hill, on the part of Mr. Donovan, made an offer of settlement to the landlord, Mr. Beecher, which the Sheriff, who was in attendance at the eviction, stated to be fair; and, if the above statements be true, whether the forces of the Crown will be used in future to assist at such evictions?


I am informed that Mathew Donovan, the father of the tenant, Michael Donovan, is known as one of the healthiest and strongest men of his age in the country about where he lives. It is true that a few days ago, and also in October last, the eviction of the son was abandoned on account of the alleged illness of the father. But it is also true that on the day previous to each attempted eviction the old man was going about the farm as usual, and I am informed that he has not been known to be confined to his bed except on these days of attempted eviction. On the recent occasion the doctor examined him in bed, and I understand that he is prepared to prove, if necessary, that the old man was in a perfectly healthy condition, and fit to be removed, but that he was overcome by excitement caused by the turbulent behaviour of his relatives. The doctor then advised that he should not be moved, and the eviction was accordingly abandoned. I have no details as to the nature of the settlement offered, but have been promised information.


Concerning the imputation the right hon. Gentleman has made, I ask him whether this old man of 86 years was taken out of his bed; whether he fainted while the two men were forcibly dressing him; and whether two doctors, brought there to certify to his condition, applied a galvanic battery to restore him to animation?


I must have notice of that question. I am not aware there were two doctors. I am told he was not confined to his bed until the day of the eviction, and possibly that was caused by fear, and possibly the same cause led to his fainting.