HC Deb 19 October 1908 vol 194 cc717-8
MR. MACCAW (Down, W.)

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether the Inspector-General of Constabulary has instructions to employ official shorthand note-takers at open-air meetings of the United Irish League at which the local police authorities have good reason for believing that language of an illegal or inflammatory character will be used; whether the services of such note-takers have been availed of on the occasion of recent meetings in various districts of the country at which language inciting to boycotting and other criminal courses was employed; and whether the Government have in contemplation the institution of proceedings against such speakers by an application to the King's Bench Division of the Supreme Court for an order requiring them to enter into sureties of the peace and good behaviour.

(Answered by Mr. Birrell.) Constabulary shorthand writers are employed to report open-air meetings from time to time as necessity may arise, and several recent meetings have been so reported. No recent case has arisen in which the Government contemplate the institution of the proceedings indicated in the concluding part of the Question. The Government will take such steps to enforce the law as may be advised by the responsible Law Officers of the Crown upon consideration of the facts of each particular case.