HC Deb 25 January 1897 vol 45 c403
MR. P. J. POWER (Waterford, E.)

on behalf of the Member for West Waterford, (Mr. J. J. SHEE): I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant for Ireland whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that at petty sessions held in Dungarvan, County Waterford, on the 9th instant, a man named Patrick Connors was committed to prison for contempt of court by Mr. Orr, R.M., for answering in Irish questions put to him; whether the person who acts as interpreter for the Court was present at the time; how long was Connors kept in custody; whether he is aware that Connors, when in custody, explained that he was afraid that he could not speak what he wanted in English; and whether, seeing that by the last census in the barony of Decies within Drum, and the barony of Decies without Drum, over 50 per cent. of the population spoke Irish, and over 1,000 Irish only, any steps will be taken to protect Irish-speaking witnesses in such districts?


Patrick Connors was detained in custody for a couple of hours only on the occasion referred to. The solicitors on both sides expressed approval of the intention to compel Connors to give evidence in English, and when he notified his willingness to do so he was at once discharged. The person who is usually employed to act as interpreter at this Court was not present on the occasion, though another person who was competent to interpret was present. On the adjourned hearing of the case Connors was examined in English, and gave his evidence in that language without difficulty. I am not aware that any need exists for steps to be taken to protect Irish-speaking witnesses.