HC Deb 24 April 1907 vol 173 cc53-4

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that in June, 1906, Mr. John Beirne, of Ballinasloe, bought at public auction the interest in the farm at Tongalee, county Roscommon; that shortly afterwards he was called upon by the Kilbride branch of the United Irish League to surrender the farm for distribution among members of the league; that he offered to sell if he were paid £100 above the price he had given for the farm; that on this offer being refused he proceeded to stock the farm; that on 7th November, 1006, his cattle were dispersed by a mob of persons and cruelly beaten; that nine persons concerned in this act were identified by the police and prosecuted at the Sligo winter assizes; that the jury who tried the case disagreed; that they were tried again on 11th March at Roscommon and acquitted, although no evidence was offered for the defence, and Mr. Justice Kenny declared that there was no question of the prisoners' guilt; that on 20th January Mr. Beirne announced his surrender to the United Irish League, and offered to accept from the Estates Commissioners the full value of his land; and whether, having regard to these circumstances, the Estates Commissioners have furnished the funds for the purchase of this property.


I am informed that the facts are substantially as stated in the Question. It was reported to the police that a resolution was passed by a local branch of the United Irish League calling upon Mr. Beirne to surrender the farm for distribution, but the police have no evidence that the resolution was passed. On 2nd February last Mr. Beirne offered the farm for sale to the Estates Commissioners, and has since lodged the necessary documents. The Commissioners have referred the matter to one of their inspectors, and upon the receipt of his Report they will consider the question of purchase in the ordinary-course.