HC Deb 20 June 1911 vol 27 cc142-3
Captain CRAIG

asked if the right hon. Gentleman is aware that one of the grounds on which the election judges avoided the election in North Louth was the publication of a libellous pamphlet by Mr. George M'Sweeney, and that one of the grounds on which the election judges avoided the election in East Cork was that the candidate had illegally not disclosed his expenditure, and that the candidate was exonerated from moral blame because he swore that he had only done so under the express advice of Mr. George M'Sweeney; and whether, seeing that Mr. George M'Sweeney was prior to the election petitions appointed Crown Prosecutor for Cork by the Government, that Mr. M'Sweeney is also a member of the directory of the United Irish League, and that he was obliged to retire from the East Cork petition as counsel in consequence of the intimation of the election judges during the hearing on his conduct, he will say if it is intended that he should continue to act as Crown Prosecutor?


Before the right hon. Gentleman answers that question, may I ask whether the imputation on the conduct of Mr. M'Sweeney contained in the last paragraph of the question has any foundation in fact, and whether he is aware that Mr. M Sweeney's action in voluntarily withdrawing, as counsel, was described by the judge as being in keeping with the honourable traditions of the Irish Bar?

The ATTORNEY-GENERAL for IRELAND (Mr. Redmond Barry)

In the judgment in the North Louth petition one of the grounds relied on was the circulation by Mr. Hazleton's agents in the constituency of a leaflet founded on a communication made to the Press in. the name of Mr. M'Sweeney in the course of a controversy between him and Mr. Healy. I have not as yet seen a copy of the judgment in the East Cork petition. I am informed that, prior to the petition, Mr. M'Sweeney was professionally consulted on the part of Captain Donelan, and that he gave particular advice on the information supplied to him. The matter having arisen at the trial, Mr. M'Sweeney retired from the position of counsel, and was examined as a witness. There is, I am informed, no foundation for the suggestion that Mr. M'Sweeney took the course ho did as the result of any pressure from the bench and no reflection whatever was passed upon his action by the judges. I have no knowledge of Mr. M'Sweeney's connection with the United Irish League. It is intended that he should continue to act as Crown Prosecutor. So far as I am aware there is no foundation for the suggestion that there was anything improper at all on the part of Mr. M'Sweeney from any point of view. The action of Mr. M'Sweeney in retiring from the case in which he was for the time employed as counsel in order that he might give evidence was perfectly proper.