§ MR. LONSDALE (Armagh, Mid.)
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 Ross, on 17th May, in connection with a case of driving cattle off a grass farm at Shrole, county Roscommon, that a widespread and audacious 1648 conspiracy is at present rampant in the West of Ireland, which on ordinary moral grounds amounted to highway robbery; and whether the Government will take more energetic measures to check the intimidation which is being practised.
§ CAPTAIN CRAIG (Down E)
At the same time may I ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to the remarks of Mr. Justice Ross on the intimidation practised in connection with the letting of lands on the Chancery estate of G. A. Kelly, a minor, in county Roscommon, and the existence of a widespread conspiracy to prevent the hinds in hand on this and other estates in the West of Ireland from being let; and whether he proposes to take any, and, if any, what, action in the matter.
§ MR. BIRRELL
The observations of Mr. Justice Ross, as reported in the newspapers, include the statement attributed to him in the Question. There is no evidence before the Government showing that a widespread conspiracy is rampant in the West of Ireland. It is, however, the fact that cattle have been driven off farms in a number of individual cases, and, as I have repeatedly stated, the police are taking energetic measures to prevent such acts, and to bring offenders to justice. In the particular case to which Mr. Justice Boss referred, a prosecution was directed a week before he made the remarks quoted, and that prosecution is now pending.
§ MR. LONSDALE
Does the right hon. Gentleman admit that there is considerable disturbance and disorder in this part of Ireland?
§ MR. BIRRELL
I have repeatedly stated that in certain limited areas of Ireland there is considerable cause for anxiety.