HC Deb 11 December 1906 vol 167 cc147-8
MR. CLANCY (Dublin County, N.)

asked the Attorney-General for Ireland whether his attention had been called to the speech delivered by the late Chief Secretary for Ireland at a Unionist meeting in Dublin on Friday last.


My attention has been called to a newspaper report of the speech to which the hon. and learned Member refers, and if the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Dublin is correctly reported he appears to have discussed at considerable length the merits of a case tried at the Sligo Assizes in which the jury had disagreed. In the ordinary course of events that case will come up for trial at the next assizes of county Roscommon or county Leitrim—there were two cases, one from Leitrim and one from Roscommon, and I am not quite sure which of them the right hon. Gentleman commented upon. The only thing I can say in reference to this matter is that the right hon. Gentleman thought fit to adopt a course which has been over and over again condemned by the highest judicial authorities in Ireland. Inasmuch as the Government do not consider that the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman will affect the jurors who will try the case next March, we do not propose to take any action in the matter.

MR. J. REDMOND (Waterford)

Is it not a fact that in many similar cases people have been brought up for contempt of Court and sent to prison?


I believe that has occurred.

MR. HAYDEN (Roscommon, S.)

called the attention of Mr. Speaker to the fact that there were three Questions upon the Paper for to-morrow relating to the cases which had been referred to, and in these Questions the statement was made that in one of the cases the facts were not denied. He asked whether Questions of this character, discussing questions which were still pending, were in order.


I am obliged to the hon. Member for calling my attention to these Questions. I have not seen them on the Paper, and even if I had seen them I do not think I should have been much the wiser. In consequence of what has occurred this afternoon, and as I understand the case of this man is likely to come before the Court, I think that no statement should appear upon the Paper which pronounces any opinion upon the case that is to be brought forward. I will take care that the Question is corrected in such a way that this statement of opinion shall not appear. The hon. Member who has put the Questions on the Paper is entitled to ask the Attorney-General what course he proposes to take or whether any further action will be taken in the case. That is perfectly legitimate.

MR. T. L. CORBETT (Down, N.)

Has your attention been called to the fact that the Judge who tried the case made most severe comments to the jury? [NATIONALIST cries of "Order."]


The hon. Member must see that it is impossible for me to read all the Irish Papers.