HC Deb 24 February 1890 vol 341 cc1026-8
MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether the promised local inquiry enables him now to state to the House the circumstances connected with the arrests of a number of persons, including the parish priest, at Clongorey, on several days of last week; and particularly, whether the arrests were made upon warrants; what were the charges on which the arrests were made; why the prisoners were first handcuffed, and afterwards admitted to bail; and upon what legal authority a private dwelling-house was broken into by force?

MR. CAREW (Kildare, N)

had also upon the Paper the following question: To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been directed to the following statement in the Daily News of 20th February:— Twenty-nine more workmen were arrested to-day in Clongorey for building houses for the shelter of evicted tenants. The arrests were effected by a force of 100 policemen, and the prisoners were brought handcuffed to Newbridge, and were detained in the Bridewell until 6 o'clock, when they were discharged under bail to appear at Newbridge Petty Sessions to-morrow week. The district has been greatly excited by these arrests; whether it is a fact that on the previous day 14 other tradesmen and labourers engaged in similar work were, with Mr. Everett, their foreman, arrested and brought to New bridge police barrack; whether these men at the time of their arrest were working on land from which tenants had been previously evicted, or on land still in occupation of tenants; why were they handcuffed, or did they show any disposition to evade arrest; and, on what grounds, or by whose authority, were the forces of the Crown so employed?


With the permission of the House I shall now also reply to the question of the hon. Member for North Kildare (Mr. Carew) on the same matter. It is a fact that on the 19th inst. 29 labourers or workmen were arrested in the act of converting certain out-offices attached to the farm of Mrs. Kelly at Clongorey into dwelling-houses, in defiance of a precept issued by the Resident Magistrate and served at Mrs. Kelly's residence on the 15th inst. Thirteen of these 29 persons had been arrested for a similar offence on the previous day and discharged, being then cautioned not to repeat the illegal act. The persons were marched to New bridge, having refused to allow themselves to be conveyed by cars. They were handcuffed in accordance with Constabularly Regulations, an attempt at rescue or escape having been feared. As already stated, 13 of these 29 persons had been arrested on the previous day, brought to Newbridge, and discharged. These tenants were working on a farm from which, the tenant had not been evicted, as she had paid her rent, it is alleged, with the approval of the managers of the Plan of Campaign conspiracy on the property, the object being to retain the farm as an accommodation for tenants evicted in consequence of the adoption of the Plan of Campaign. The constabulary acted in pursuance of a legal order issued by a Resident Magistrate, under powers vested in him by the 23 and 24 Vict., c. 154, section 35, and this precept was issued on a sworn information made by the agent to the estate, who deposed to having witnessed persons in the act of committing a gross act of waste within the meaning of the Statute quoted. The dwelling-house of Mrs. Kelly was broken into in pursuance of a warrant issued by a Resident Magistrate to arrest persons who had been engaged in an unlawful assembly, and who were seen by the police inside the house. As the inmates refused to admit the police they were compelled to force the door.


Was the precept served upon Mrs. Kelly as well as upon the 13 persons who were arrested?


I understand that Mrs. Kelly was absent, and that the precept was served on her daughter.


Has the right hon. Gentleman any information as to the arrest of the parish priest?


Yes; the parish priest was arrested, as he was engaged in an illegal conspiracy.