HC Deb 14 February 1895 vol 30 cc755-6

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that, on the evidence of the police and the analysis of Professor Tichborne, the Clare Presentment Sessions rejected the claim of Colonel O'Callaghan for the loss of 14 bullocks, alleged to have been poisoned in June last; that the police proved it was impossible that the cattle could have been maliciously tampered with, and the analyst's certificate showed that they died from eating water parsnip; that Colonel O'Callaghan's agent subsequently sent to another analyst specimens from the stomachs of the cattle without sealing the jars in the presence of the police; and that the second analyst then reported a trace of arsenic; whether he is also aware that the claim for compensation is now being renewed before the Clare Grand Jury, of which Colonel O'Callaghan has frequently been a member; and will the Government, in the interests of justice, take steps to have the police represented, and their analyst in attendance, when the claim is resisted on behalf of the ratepayers.


May I ask you, Mr. Speaker, whether this Question is in order, on the ground that it contains one-sided highly-coloured statements of fact tending to prejudice the trial of pending proceedings?


I presume the hon. Gentleman who puts the Question makes himself responsible for the facts set forth in it.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman in this connection, whether it is not a fact that some time ago, in the County of Clare, several men were prosecuted, and that it was found they themselves had committed the outrages for which they claimed compensation, and whether, in view of the fact that it frequently happened that these claims for compensation have been proved to be bogus claims, he will order the Authorities to watch these cases very carefully?


I am aware of what the hon. Member has stated, and I will watch the matter. It is a fact that at Presentment Sessions held at Tulla on the 6th November last, the claims of Colonel O'Callaghan, in respect of the alleged malicious poisoning of a number of cattle, were thrown out for want of sufficient evidence. The District Inspector of Constabulary attended the Sessions in order to afford such information as was in his possession as to these cases, and produced documentary evidence of the Reports made by the analysts who had been employed by Government to examine the viscera of the animals. Copies of these Reports have been supplied to Colonel O'Callaghan. The police will be in attendance at the renewed hearing of the claims before the Grand Jury, but Government has been advised that it would be inexpedient to send down the analyst unless his attendance is required by the Grand Jury.