HC Deb 22 June 1893 vol 13 cc1675-7
MR. RENTOUL (Down, E.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if his attention has been called to the case of "Murphy v. Hughes," tried at the recent Monaghan Quarter Sessions, and reported in The Monaghan Standard of the 17th inst., in which evidence was given of the proceedings of a League Court, presided over by the Rev. J. M'Phillips, C.C., and constituted of men whom His Honour, Judge Orr, described as a "gang of scoundrels;" whether he has read the statement of Judge Orr, that to say that men will be prevented from discharging their honest debts, and that it is tolerated in a civilised country, is a perfect disgrace to the Government. It is now fully disclosed in the presence of the police and the properly constituted authorities, and if they did not take notice of it he thought it most monstrous; and whether the authorities have been instructed to put an end to these illegal proceedings?

MR. DIAMOND (Monaghan, N.)

May I ask the Chief Secretary if it is a fact that the case was not tried in a League Court, but in a properly constituted Arbitration before two duly appointed arbitrators. Does he think the language of the learned Judge, in referring to the arbitrators as a gang of scoundrels, was justified by the facts?


By whom were the arbitrators appointed? Was it by the League?


It is impossible for me to answer these questions, as the proceedings were private and of a practically secret character, so that the police could have no information as to them. I have seen a report of this case and the observations of the County Court Judge thereon as referred to in the question of the hon. and learned Member for East Down. The matter is now under the consideration of the Law Officers. With regard to the condition of the County Monaghan, from the point of view of crime, I find that so recently as March last Mr. Justice Madden, Attorney General to the late Government, in his address to the Grand Jury at the opening of the Monaghan Spring Assizes, expressed his pleasure at the very satisfactory state of the county, and remarked that the cases for trial were very few in number and of the most ordinary character. The county continues, I am glad to say, in a thoroughly satisfactory state in this respect.

MR. MACARTNEY (Antrim, S.)

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that Hughes has sworn in his evidence he was taken before a League meeting which was presided over by the Rev. Mr. M'Phillips?


That matter is being inquired into.


In view of the extraordinary language of the Judge in calling the arbitrators a gang of scoundrels, will the right hon. Gentleman direct the police to inquire whether the Arbitration Court was not legally constituted?


Yes, that also is being inquired into.

MR. T. HARRINGTON (Dublin, Harbour)

I hope the police will also be instructed to inquire if there is a branch of the National League at this place.