§ MR. JOHN ROCHE
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been directed to the proceedings before a special Court held in Ballinasloe on the 21st May; can he state the reason why this Court was set up on the occasion; whether he is aware that John Dolan, of New Inn, was brought before that Court, and was it specially constituted to try his case; can he say by what authority, or under whose warrant, the sergeant in charge of the Royal Irish Constabulary barracks at 483 New Inn, county Galway, arrested John Dolan of that place, and brought him eighteen miles to a special Court before the resident magistrate; was he acting under orders from Lord Ashtown or at his instigation; whether the alleged cause of arrest was Dolan's refusal to allow Lord Ashtown's workmen to interfere with his boundary fence; and whether Dolan offered violence or used intimidatory language towards anyone, and what was the result of the prosecution.
§ MR. BIRRELL
On 21st May Thomas Dolan went with a hatchet to a farm in Lord Ashtown's occupation and proceeded to destroy a wire fence which was being erected by Lord Ashtown's workmen, saying that he would allow no one to make a fence there. A police sergeant who was present remonstrated with Dolan, and pointed out that if he had a grievance a legal remedy was open to him. Dolan, however, persisted in destroying the fence, and as a broach of the peace was imminent, the sergeant arrested him and took him before the resident magistrate at Ballinasloe (thirteen miles distant) in the usual course. No special Court was constituted. The sergeant acted under his general authority as a peace officer, and did not act under orders from Lord Ashtown, or at his instigation. Dolan used no actual violence beyond breaking down the fence. The resident magistrate discharged the accused, as he raised a question of title.
§ MR. MOONEY
asked if it was not a fact that the possession of this land was in dispute between Lord Ashtown and Mr. Dolan, and if the latter did not take the ordinary steps to assert his rights? Was not a special tribunal set up to deal with the case, and was it not the fact that before anything occurred on the day in question the police sergeant told Dolan that he had an order in his pocket to arrest him? If so, from whom did he get that order?
§ MR. BIRRELL
said the case was dismissed because the question of title was raised. He knew nothing as to the order for arrest.