HC Deb 19 July 1905 vol 149 cc1183-4

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to the remarks of Mr. Justice Kenny, at the opening of the County Cork Assizes on the 14th instant, in which he said that the calendar for a large county like Cork could not be considered heavy, but that other matters had been brought under his notice which showed that there had been a considerable increase in that kind of intimidation which takes the form of threatening letters and notices; whether he can say if information of this character was furnished to the Judge by the constabulary authorities; and, if so, what steps are taken to test the genuineness of these alleged intimidatory notices, and what opportunity can be afforded the House of testing the reliability of the figures furnished by the police.


Yes, Sir, I have seen a report in the Press, according to which the learned Judge made remarks to the effect mentioned. The information upon which these remarks were based was, as is perfectly well understood, supplied by the police. As compared with the corresponding assize period of last year, the number of cases of intimidation by threatening letters or notices and otherwise had risen from seven to twenty. As I informed the hon. Member on May 29th,† every possible care is taken that none but genuine cases of intimidation are included in the returns. It is obvious that no opportunity of checking the figures can be afforded to the House.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is a widespread belief in Ireland that these returns are manipulated officially?


I am aware there are many beliefs prevalent in Ireland which have no foundation.

MR. JOSEPH DEVLIN (Kilkenny, N.)

Have these letters resulted in injury to either person or property?


Obviously I cannot answer that without notice.


Has the intimidation arisen since the right hon. Gentleman became Chief Secretary?


No, Sir.

MR. FLAVIN (Kerry, N.)

If a policeman swears injury is malicious, and the County Court Judge holds it is not, is it returned as a malicious injury? Who is the judge? What is a malicious inquiry.

[No Answer was returned.]