§ MAJOR COATES (Lewisham)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he can state the dates between which the Crown Jewels must have been stolen from Dublin Castle.
§ MR. BIRRELL
The proceedings before the Commission of Inquiry showed incontestably that whoever stole the Jewels did so between 11th June and 6th July of last year. As I am on this subject, I may refer to a most cowardly falsehood connecting the name of Lord Haddo with the theft of the Jewels, which has obtained wide circulation both in Dublin and in London, and has found its way into certain newspapers. Ridiculous as such a statement may appear, it is not always easy to maintain total indifference to such charges. I am able to say of my own knowledge, that Lord Haddo left Dublin on 7th March. 1907, and lived in Scotland and London from that time without intermission until 7th December. I hope this statement may put an end to the business of the scandalmongers—in this particular at all events. If I may be permitted to mention the name of the Lord-Lieutenant in the matter, I may add that Lord Aberdeen was, from the first, most anxious that there should be the fullest possible inquiry into all the circumstances attending the loss of the Crown Jewels, and would have been glad if it had been possible to call into existence a Statutory Commission for that purpose.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND (Waterford)
May I ask whether it is a fact that Dublin Herald and Athlone Herald were asked to resign their offices by the Government, and, it so, why was that done?
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL (Donegal, S.)
Inasmuch as the libels to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred have been published in England, may I ask him why have no proceedings been taken for criminal libel in the criminal Courts?
§ MR. BIRRELL
That is a very proper question. I can only say that legal advice has been taken on the matter, and action, or rather inaction, has been adopted in accordance with that advice.