HC Deb 17 April 1893 vol 11 cc448-9
MR. MACNEILL (Donegal, S.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he has observed the announcement in the Dublin Tory Press that Taxing Master Coffey attended the meeting in Leinster Hall, Dublin, on 8th April, to protest against the Government of Ireland Bill; whether this official's department is under the control of the Lord Chancellor; and whether his action is sanctioned by his superiors; and, if so, will it be open to other Civil servants to attend political meetings in favour of Home Rule?

MR. CARSON (Dublin University)

I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman a question of which I have given him private notice, Whether it is a fact that, since his appointment in 1862 by a Liberal Government, Master Coffey has never attended any political demonstration whatever; whether the announcement in the Press referred to in the question was made through the contrivance of a gentleman of Nationalist politics; whether Master Coffey is a Catholic and connected with the only Catholic Unionist Member of Parliament from Ireland; and whether it is on this account that the present and other attempts have been made in this House to give him annoyance?


I think the hon. Member will see that there are some portions of his question which I cannot be expected to answer. From a communication which I have received from the gentleman in question it appears there is no foundation whatever for the statement that he attended or took part in the meeting referred to. I understand that there is no actual Minute on the subject referred to in the last paragraph of the question, but it is certainly contrary to the practice of the Civil Service that its members should attend political meetings.


Is it not a fact that the announcement appeared in The Dublin Evening Mail, the official organ of the Tory Party, and was never contradicted?


Has the right hon. Gentleman any information as to who got the announcement inserted?


I am not aware either of the fact mentioned by my hon. Friend or of the fact mentioned by the hon. Gentleman.


Does the right hon. Gentleman consider that the well-founded opposition of the Civil servants in Ireland to this question of Home Rule— [The question was not completed.]


Order, order!