HC Deb 28 June 1909 vol 7 cc33-4

asked on whose orders Assistant Inspector-General Bull and 250 policemen accompanied a transport car filled with crowbars, hatchets, ladders, etc., to the farm of Mr. Richard J. Walsh, at Cordal, county Kerry, at five o'clock in the morning of Tuesday, 22nd June; and by whose authority Sergeants McTntyre and Greene and several constables used the crowbars, hatchets, and other implements in demolishing the house of Mr. Walsh and endangering the life of his aged mother; and if there is any precedent for such action on the part of the police force?


When the sheriff and his assistants are assaulted or violently resisted in the execution of a writ of the courts, it is the duty of the police to arrest offenders, and for that purpose to force an entrance to barricaded premises if necessary. Having regard to the successful resistance offered by Walsh and his helpers on a former occasion, the police were bound to provide themselves with the necessary appliances to force an entrance on 22nd June, in the event of further resistance being offered. The police did not interfere on that occasion until the sheriff's men had been assaulted and resisted with violence in the execution of their duty. There are numerous precedents for the action of the police, who carried out their duty in accordance with the law as distinctly laid down by the High Court. I have no information that Mrs. Walsh's life was endangered, but if such was the ease, the fact was due, not to the action of the police, but to that of her son and his friends in violently resisting the officers of the law.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether there is any English precedent for such action by the police?


I think if hon. Members would acquaint themselves with the evictions at Shoreditch, they would find some precedents.


Does the right hon. Gentleman say that the police are called upon to assist the bailiffs with hatchets, or are they only required to protect them?


If resistance is offered to the execution of a writ of the High Court, it is their bounden duty to see that the writ is carried out.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he will see that the crowbar and the pickaxe are put on the policemen's buttons?