HC Deb 29 March 1889 vol 334 cc1145-6
MR. JOHN O'CONNOR) (Tipperary, S.

asked the Solicitor General for Ireland whether he had seen the following statements printed in the Daily News of 26th March, and made by that paper's Special Commissioner in Donegal— One cottage I went into where I found an old woman whose only son had fled….. She told me, through an interpreter, how the police had searched her place, and how one of them seized her by the shoulder and shook her when she refused to give him information. He threatened she should have handcuffs put upon her if she persisted in her refusal….. I saw a man whose case, I believe, has already been referred to. The police had pursued him, and as he continued to fly they had fired at him repeatedly. He fled to the water's edge, and was there taken. He stated that one of the men who arrested him pointed a revolver at him, and threatened to shoot him unless he told which way his companions had gone. He declared that he did not hear the call to surrender….. A poor woman had her cottage searched both before and after her confinement, the policeman, I was assured, getting up as she lay there to overhaul the top of her bedstead. Whether in view of the feeling in the district he would at once cause inquiries to be made into all the circumstances of the case; and whether he could state under what authority the police have acted in the manner described?


The statements in the Daily News to which this question calls attention appear to be for the most part without foundation. The allegation as to the case of the old woman is, so far as can be ascertained, unfounded. As regards the man, he was not only not fired at repeatedly, but, as already stated in this House, not at all, two shots only having been fired by the sergeant when the man was running away to evade arrest, and these shots were fired not at the man, but as signals. The revolver was not pointed at him when arrested, nor was he threatened to be shot. The local officer has failed to find any foundation for the allegation with regard to the overhauling of the top of a bedstead under the circumstances indicated. The police are reported as being uniformly considerate in carrying out the duty in question, and the searches for the suspected murderers have been conducted so as to entail as little inconvenience as is compatible with the bounden duty of the police.


Is it the fact that the police paid two visits to a house at night, one of them two or three days before the poor woman who occupied it was confined, and the other two or three days afterwards; that they walked over the bed in which she was lying, that they turned up the bed in which the children were lying, and that they held a gun over a girl 13 years of age while they questioned her? And may I ask further why these police visits cannot take place in the daytime?


I have no further information than that which I have already given.

MR. SEXTON) (Belfast, W.

Will the hon. and learned Gentleman be prepared by Monday next to give a categorical reply to the question?


Yes; if the right hon. Gentleman will put one down upon the paper. I have already answered the question which appears on the paper to-day.