§ MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether any communication has been made on the part of the Irish Executive to the Most Rev. Dr. Healy, Coadjutor Bishop of Clonfert, or to Mr. Tener, Lord Clanricarde's agent, to the effect that the forces of the Crown will not be supplied for the purpose of certain evictions in the Portumna district, because the Government are not satisfied that the decrees obtained by the landlords are legal; whether the agent suggested that the constables guarding the emergency men in the several huts should accompany them to the proposed evictions; whether this suggestion was rejected; why evictions are facilitated by the Government in the Woodford district of Lord Clanricarde's estates, and are hindered in the Portumna district of that estate; what are the "particular circumstances" which led to the refusal to lend the forces of the Crown for evictions in the Portumna district; whether the correspondence between the Irish Executive, Lord Clanricarde, and Mr. Tener will be communicated to the House; and whether, as the Coadjutor Bishop has no objection to the publication of the correspondence between himself and the right hon. Gentleman, and as the right hon. Gentleman has drawn from the correspondence an inference affecting the Bishop which the Bishop does not accept, a copy of that correspondence will be laid upon the Table?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
With regard to the first and sixth paragraphs of the question, there is no official correspondence of the kind, as the hon. Gentleman seems to suppose. The Divisional Commissioner reports that he told Mr. Tener, in reference to his application for protection in carrying out certain warrants both in Woodford and Portumna, that, as there was a doubt about the validity of the orders on which the 1649 warrant was granted, it was not advisable to afford protection in the execution of them. The agent did make the suggestion contained in the second paragraph, but the Divisional Commissioner refused to accede to it. There is no ground for supposing that a distinction has been drawn in the action of the Government between Woodford and Portumna. The "particular circumstances" referred to in the fifth paragraph related partly to the extreme difficulty of assembling the necessary protection previous to the expiration of the decrees, partly to the doubt about the legality of the decrees. I do not know upon what grounds the hon. Gentleman expresses the opinions attributed in the last paragraph to Dr. Healy?
§ MR. SEXTON
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that statements have appeared in the public Press to the effect that the Bishop has no objection to the publication of the correspondence between himself and the right hon. Gentleman; and is the objection on the part of the right hon. Gentleman to the publication of the letters due to his unwillingness to disclose his share in the correspondence?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The statement to which the hon. Gentleman refers is one that I think came out in a leading article in the Freeman's Journal. I do not think it requires any answering.