§ MR. WEBB (Waterford, W.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that the officers' quarters in Birr Barracks were lately entered by a masked party, and the door leading to the room occupied by the servants Kathleen O'Donovan and Annie Desmond broken open; that these girls identified some of the assailants as officers of a Militia regiment; that no charge has been brought against these girls; and that, nevertheless, they have been dismissed their situation, whilst no inquiry, beyond an abortive magisterial one, has as yet been instituted into the occurrence; and is it the intention of the Government to direct further proceedings? I wish, further, to ask the right hon. Gentleman if it is not a fact that these girls who have been dismissed are orphans, whose character is testified to be beyond reproach, and is it also a fact, as stated in The Midland Tribune, that one of the accused officers is nearly related to a high official largely responsible for the government of Ireland?
MR. J. MORLEY
In this case the Crown have instructed the Sessional Solicitor to send up a bill at the next October Quarter Sessions against the four officers as to whom the Magistrates were evenly divided at the late investigation. The bill will contain charges for indecent and common assault, and copies of the bill and depositions will forthwith be served on the parties concerned. That being so, I can say no more on the merits of the case. As for the action taken in respect of the two girls, I have no official knowledge of anything done in consequence of the direction of the Military Authorities. It does not come within my Department.
MR. T. M. HEALY
Will these officers be on bail in the meantime, or are they free to go where they like?
MR. J. MORLEY
I have no information as to that, and if I had all the information in the world, it would make no kind of difference. These persons will be treated exactly the same as anybody else.