§ MR. MICHAEL AUSTIN (Limerick, W.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if he is aware that the police interfered to alter the practice of billeting in Newcastle West, county Limerick, so as concentrate the billets to the advantage of the Potty Sessions clerk, after the local publicans had been previously required to go to expense in providing billets; and that the resident Magistrate of the district, Major Rolleston, and the Petty Sessions Clerk canvassed the 363 officers for the billeting of the horses exclusively for Mr. Dawson; and whether he will cause inquiry to be made into all the circumstances of the case?
MR. JOHN MORLEY
I am informed by the district Inspector of Constabulary that it is not the case that the police interfered in any way to alter the practice of the billeting so as to concentrate the billets to the advantage of the Petty Sessions Clerk. The police were requisitioned in the usual way to provide billets for men and horses, and, in accordance with this requisition, they notified the publicans and the publicans only. It is quite true that a number of horses were sent to the stables of the Petty Sessions Clerk, but the police were no party to the transaction, and the arrangement appears to have been the result of an understanding between the Major commanding the artillery battery and the Petty Sessions Clerk. I shall bring under the notice of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War the report which I have received in this matter from the District Inspector of Police. I may add that the Resident Magistrate tells me he took no part whatever in the transaction complained of, and that he was not aware that the artillery were to arrive until he saw them in the town.
§ MR. AUSTIN
asked whether, as the police gave notice to the publicans that they would be liable to penalties if they failed to billet the troops, the publicans would be recompensed for their outlay?
§ DR. R. AMBROSE (Mayo, W.)
asked whether the Resident Magistrate denied that he canvassed the officer in command of the troops.
MR. J. MORLEY
The resident Magistrate informs me that he took no part whatever in the transaction, and that he did not know the artillery were coming until he saw them in the streets.
§ DR. AMBROSE
If we produce evidence to show that Major Rolleston did canvas the officers, will the right hon. Gentleman hold an inquiry?
§ MR. AUSTIN
Are the publicans liable to the loss incurred owing to the conduct of the police in this matter?
MR. J. MORLEY
I must repeat that it was not at all owing to the conduct of the police, who took no part whatever in the matter. It was entirely an arrangement between the Petty Sessions Clerk and the officer in command of the troops.