HC Deb 21 May 1908 vol 189 c509
MR. HAYDEN (Roscommon, S.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that at three o'clock on the morning of the 6th May the police in the Athlone district of county Roscommon arrested a number of persons on a charge of unlawful assembly connected with the letting of some grazing lands, and detained these persons in the police barracks for several hours; whether he can state why these persons could not have been proceeded against by way of summons, and, if not, why they were not arrested at a less inconvenient hour; whether he is aware of the character of the evidence against them and of the fact that it was denied by the defendants; whether, under the circumstances, he will cause to be cancelled the bail bonds into which they were compelled to enter; whether he is aware that during the proceedings it transpired that Sergeant M'Elroy had three times endeavoured to induce a man named Burke to apply against the county for compensation for alleged injury to a heifer; and whether it is any portion of the duty of the police to work up claims of this character against the ratepayers of the country.


The persons in question were arrested at five o'clock in the morning, with the exception of one who was arrested at four o'clock. The police considered it desirable to make the arrests early in the morning in order to avoid the possibility of disturbance. It is not the practice to proceed in such cases by way of summons. The defendants were taken before the Resident Magistrate at 10.30, being thus given a sufficient interval to obtain breakfast and employ legal aid. I cannot enter into any question as to the sufficiency of the evidence, nor have I power to cancel the recognisances. Sergeant M'Elroy denies having attempted to induce Burke to make a claim for compensation; he merely visited Burke, in accordance with the usual practice, in order to ascertain whether any claim for compensation was being made.