HC Deb 17 July 1907 vol 178 cc702-3

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has bean called to the remarks of Mr. Justice Wright, at the Roscommon Assizes on Friday, that cattle driving was absolutely lawless and entirely subversive of the rights of property, that the movement had spread through many of the counties in the West of Ireland and had attained a strength which was a formidable menace to the public peace, and if it was not grappled with vigorously it would land that part of the country in a state of anarchy; and whether he will state when the Executive intend to grapple vigorously with this movement.


Before the right hon. Gentleman answers this Question, may I ask him not to attach too much importance to the remarks of Mr. Justice Wright, as the right hon. Gentleman will recollect that Mr. Wright's utterances were extra-judicial, founded on no evidence, and that the Judge was for twenty years Crown Prosecutor and Chief Agent to the Government in carrying out the Coercion Act.


It is impossible for me to assign to anyone the precise amount of weight that should be given to his remarks. My attention has been called to a newspaper report of Mr. Justice Wright's remarks. I have repeatedly stated that the Government have taken, and will continue to take, all possible measures for the preservation of the peace and for the prosecution of offenders.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether cattle raising and shifting was not at one time an honourable occupation in Scotland?


Is the right hon. Gentleman able to say that cases of cattle driving in the West of Ireland are diminishing in numbers?


I am rather disposed to think at the present moment that some improvement is noticeable even in those districts.