HC Deb 26 November 1908 vol 197 cc646-7
MR. KENDAL O'BRIEN (Tipperary, Mid.)

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that, as a result of an alleged demonstration in connection with the breaking-up of a grazing ranch at Holy-cross, County Tipperary, eight men, all respectable farmers, were arrested in their beds at two o'clock in the morning by a force of 200 armed constabulary; whether he is aware that this action on the part of the authorities has aroused indignation and exasperated the feelings of the people in the locality; can he explain why proceedings of an exceptional kind were taken against these men and why the privacy of their homes was invaded in the dead of night; was there any attempt on their part to evade the ordinary processes of the law; and, if not, will he see that in future the ordinary practices of civil administration are not departed from in cases of this kind.

(Answered by Mr. Birrell.) The eight men referred to were arrested on a charge of riot and unlawful assembly. Prompt measures were necessary to prevent further disorder, and the arrests were made on the advice of the Law Officers of the Crown. The proceedings were strictly in accordance with the ordinary law and have my entire approval. I have no intention of giving any directions to the police to act differently in future should a similar riot occur in the locality or elsewhere.