§ Motion made and Question proposed, "That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £2,100, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1911, for Criminal Prosecutions and other Law Charges in Ireland."
§ Mr. MOORE
I wish to bring several matters before the House, of which I gave the Attorney-General for Ireland notice 1754 some time ago. They are matters which purely concern the Government, and I shall criticise freely the conduct of the Government in regard to them. Undoubtedly the Government have laid themselves open to the very grave charge of partiality. I am not suggesting that the Attorney-General is cognisant of these matters, but he represents the Government, who have to defend themselves. We hear a good deal about the administration of the law in Ireland, but unless the country has it brought home to it, that the law is administered impartially between all sides, the people will have very little respect for it, and will have less respect for the Government which pretends to carry out the law. Two of the matters occurred in my own Constituency, since which these rates were passed in the House of Commons, one in November last, and the other in February. On the 21st September our Orange Hall was about to be opened at Ardmore, near Lough Neagh, and, as probably the Committee is aware, at the opening of an Orange Hall, it is customary for the lodges of the district to assemble on the occasion. An Orange Lodge, I need hardly remind the House, is a perfectly legal and also a loyal institution. [HON. MEMBERS: "Speak up."] I am speaking in a tone of voice to be heard by the Government whom I am attacking.
§ Mr. MOORE
The Orange procession on its way to the celebration passed through the village of Charlestown. These lodges, to whatever side they belong, when out in procession, are always accompanied by police of the district to identify the various members of the party, irrespective of Orangemen. Accompanied by two policemen in the ordinary way, the procession crossed the River Bann by the ferry. Two Nationalists came out and refused to allow any Orange procession to pass their village. The members of this procession were lawfully on the King's highway for a lawful object, the celebration of the opening of a lodge. The names of the two men were Tennison and Fox. The Orangemen defended themselves against attack, and the result of the whole thing was that the police and the Castle authorities made a selection of Orangemen, with Tennison and Fox, to appear at the petty sessions to give sureties for good behaviour and to keep the peace. I make no complaint of that at all. These proceedings were adjourned by request 1755 of the Crown. The next thing that happened was that eight or nine members of the Orange Lodge who had been attacked were summoned before the magistrates on a charge of rioting, and they were returned for trial at Belfast Winter Assizes. Nothing was done to Fox and Tennison. Application to the magistrates had been brought that they should give sureties for their good behaviour as far as these men were concerned, yet they were sent forward for trial at the Winter Assizes. The case was tried before Mr. Justice Madden, a judge of great experience. Witnesses and the police who accompanied this procession of Lodges testified that Tennison and Fox began the whole thing, and that there would have been no trouble if they had not come out of the House and attacked those people, saying that they would not pass through their village although they were on the King's highway. That was the admission of the constables, Crown witnesses, who appeared for the prosecution. Mr. Justice Madden said it was a trumpery case and should not have been brought, and the jury acquitted the prisoners. Those men were put to all the expense and trouble of going to Belfast to stand their trial at the Winter Assizes. The prime originators of the whole thing, because they were Nationalists, I suggest, were never even to this day asked to give sureties for their good behaviour. I say that those facts are uncontroverted. I gave my right hon. Friend notice, and I do not know if he has found any discrepancy in my statement. He has had ample time. I believe I have stated the facts absolutely correctly to the House. I say it is not a fair thing, and does not encourage belief in the impartiality of the law when eight men are picked out on a charge that the judge says is trumpery, while the two Nationalist aggressors are walking about soot free.
In the same constituency there was another matter. Unfortunately there was some rioting about two years ago in the town of Portadown. There was a riot, I am sorry to say, on 15th August, and there was a riot on 17th August. Unionists and Nationalists were concerned. They went for trial to Belfast, and some Unionists were acquitted as having had nothing to do with the riot of 15th August, and some Nationalists were convicted. When it came to the question of the riot on 17th August, some Unionists were convicted, and, I think, some Nationalists were 1756 acquitted. All who were convicted got exactly the same punishment. I make no complaint of that as it was perfectly right punishment by an impartial judge. They got each twelve months imprisonment. There was a Unionist man named Cassidy who left the country. He was concerned in the riot, but left and evaded arrest. He came back after a considerable interval, and he was arrested on a magistrate's warrant, which was perfectly right. He was tried at Armagh Assizes. His participation in the riot was proved, and he got twelve months, exactly the same as both the Nationalists and Unionists who were convicted at Belfast. That was the case of the man Cassidy, who absconded and came back, and was treated in that way. Again, I say, I make no complaint of that. But a Nationalist absconded, and I wish to bring to the notice of the Committee what happened to him. His name is McGurk. He went away just like Mr. Cassidy. He came back, was arrested, and brought before the magistrates on the prosecution of the Crown. He was brought forward on 13th February, and Constable Houseman swore that on the occasion of the riot he saw the gentleman with a bottle in each hand, that he was a ringleader of the Nationalist crowd that attacked Protestant working men coming from their work. That he called a riot. That was the Crown evidence. A most extraordinary thing happened. The district inspector of police, a gentleman called Mr. Hanna, said that he had instructions from Dublin not to press the charge of riot, and that if the defendant was bound over to keep the peace it would be sufficient. That is the way the Nationalist is prosecuted when he is arrested on his return. The Protestant gets twelve months, like the others, and the Nationalist is merely asked to give sureties for the peace. I say that that requires explanation, because you will never get respect from the law until people are satisfied that it is impartially administered. Those are the two questions, and I do say that we are entitled to have some explanation from the Chief Secretary or the learned Attorney-General.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL for IRELAND (Mr. Redmond Barry)
I think it is highly unfortunate that my hon. and learned Friend should have thought it proper to originate this case, because I am satisfied that so far from supporting the information of the hon. and learned Gentleman it will, I fear, have no other effect than to prolong the evil spirit and feeling 1757 which the circumstances of these cases display. The riot to which the hon. and learned Gentleman referred occurred, not at Charlestown, but in the village of Columcille on 24th September of last year. The occasion was on a Saturday, and, as has been stated, it was one on which some Orange hall, I believe, was being opened across the Bann. The district from which this band came is known as the Derryad district. For the moment I raise no controversy with my hon. and learned Friend as to whether it is or is not the fact that this band took the direct road from this district to the place where the Orange hall was being opened. It has been suggested to me that instead of doing so the band took quite a circuitous route for the purpose of being able to pass on its way two villages, Milltown and Columcille, both well known Catholic villages in that district. They were accompanied on the occasion by a single policeman named Constable McDonnell. They numbered sixty in all. [An HON. MEMBER: "Including women and children."] I never heard of any woman or child. The police report to me is that they were a body of sixty strong, and I certainly gathered that that meant sixty men strong. Accompanied by this single policeman they marched, playing their hand, through Milltown, thence towards the village of Columcille. I understand there is a rule, which, I am glad to say, is a rule which prevails generally throughout Ulster, by which it is the custom of the various parties so far to respect the districts or villages of the other party, as not to make a demonstration, particularly by band playing, in them. Going across towards Columcille, this small village consisting of fifteen Catholic residents, it is true, as my hon. and learned Friend stated, that just outside the village they were met by two men, a man named Fox and a man named Tennison, but the hon. and learned Gentleman is wholly misinformed when he says that either Fox or Tennison said that "No Orangeman dare pass this way." On the contrary, the police report, which I hold in my hand, says that Fox and Tennison in the first instance approached the crowd, and Tennison said:Don't you know this road is not open for bands?a reference on Tennyson's part to the rule I have just mentioned. I believe the rule is of this character, marching past is not objected to, but the playing of bands is regarded as a form of demonstration that should be avoided by one party in the 1758 district of another. The significance of the question is at once apparent:—Don't you know this road is closed to bands?The hon. and learned Gentleman said that the Orange party when it had vindicated its right simply passed on. That was, as I gathered, the impression on the hon. Gentleman's mind. That is the reason I regret these cases being brought on before the actual facts are known, facts of a totally different character and which I think reflect the highest discredit on the party to which the hon. and learned Member belongs. Let me state what occurred. The moment that Tennison, in the presence of the policeman, said, "Don't you know that this road is not open to bands?" the followers behind the band pressed on, and Fox, Tennison's companion, came forward and repeated the remonstrance, as I gather, in precisely the same words. Immediately the crowd broke loose, and attacked Fox and Tennison. Tennison ran a few yards to escape, but was knocked down, and while on the ground was kicked several times by the crowd and hit with a spear. One of the defendants was seen by Constable McDonnell kicking Tennison while on the ground. His behaviour was so violent that the constable had to raise the cry that the crowd should not kill Tennison, and actually stood over him to ward off the blows aimed at him. All this seems rather incredible to the hon. and learned Member, but this is the official police report which was before the Executive and before me when I came to consider the case.
§ Mr. REDMOND BARRY
The attack made upon the Government and upon me is that partiality was exhibited in the treatment in the case.
§ Mr. REDMOND BARRY
I will communicate to the House in the fullest way the evidence not merely of this constable, but of the other constables present on the occasion.
§ Mr. REDMOND BARRY
Only one at present. He begged the crowd not to kill Tennison, and raised his arms over him to ward off the blows. The crowd then ran after Fox. After the original attack Fox ran away as hard as he could down the street, and he was now pursued by the crowd. Tennison was lifted be his feet by the constable and walked towards home, but as he went stones were thrown after him by followers of the band. The crowd now pursued Fox. The police at once followed and saw Fox being hotly pursued by fifty or sixty men. As he was passing over a bridge Fox did undoubtedly pick up a stone and throw it back at the men who were pursuing him. All that the police saw, Constable McDonnell called out to Fox to hurry off and to make for home. Fox disappeared for refuge into a place called the lock, and was apparently heard of no more. What was the position, then, of this band of fifty or sixty men? Tennison had disappeared, and, I believe, was never seen afterwards; Fox had fled for refuge as I have stated. This band of sixty men, instead of pursuing their way with the road absolutely clear before them, went back and began a series of what I certainly think were most discreditable attacks upon the houses of eight of the fifteen Catholic residents in the village. There was not a window left whole. Two gates were pulled down by them, and they had the whole place at their command. Apparently they were not satisfied with their own strength, for a body of one hundred men, friends of theirs, from another district, being in the same neighbourhood, and in view of this transaction came over and joined them, making a force, all told, of 150 to 160 men. In the presence of Constable McDonnell, who did his best to restrain them, of Sergeant Smith, and of another constable who had come upon the scene, they pursued their attack on the houses of the eight or nine residents in the village, and did not clear out until they had satisfied their full will upon them. In the course of their proceedings the windows were broken, and a man threw a stone at a woman who was hiding behind a stoup of wheat. When the constable remonstrated with him as he was about to throw a second stone he took the constable's arm and shouted to him not to hold him or he would break his skull with a stone. One would have thought that this band of 150 strong were provoked by an opposing crowd, but in the evidence given to the Government by the police it 1760 is stated that they saw no opposing party at all in the operations in the village. Another constable says that when he arrived there the crowd was shouting and rushing about in all directions, and that there was no opposing party. A good many stones were thrown at houses in Columcille, and, if not certainly at a later period, some stones were thrown over a hedge at the crowd beyond all doubt. But it cannot be suggested, and never was suggested by any police officer, that there was any evidence by which anybody could be identified in connection with the stone-throwing. It is quite certain that it could not have been either Fox or Tennison, because Tennison had gone home and Fox had taken refuge in the lock. So that this force of 150 men, whom the hon. Gentleman has described as Orangemen, held the village of Columcille absolutely at their mercy, doing what they would during a full half-hour, and would not leave it, notwithstanding the remonstrances of the people. At the end of half an hour they went on towards the place where the celebration was to take place. They were occupied an hour or two, and returned, as I gather, between six and half-past six, when a lamentable and disgraceful thing occurred. On their return journey they resumed their attack when passing through Columcille, again firing stones into windows, and certainly stones were again thrown at them from behind a hedge, but by whom the police are unable to tell. There is no reason for suggesting that either Fox or Tennison was the guilty party. This occurrence took place on 24th September. On 28th September the local police officer, finding that the next petty sessions were to take place on 3rd October, of his own motion, and without consultation with anyone, served summonses upon the various parties, including, as the hon. and learned Member says, Fox and Tennison, to the Petty Sessions court. The charge preferred against Tennison was simply that he had attempted to stop an Orange procession. The charge preferred against Fox was that he had done likewise, and in addition had thrown a stone, as I mentioned, while he was being pursued by the party. The other persons, that is, the Orange party, were accused of throwing stones at the houses. Having done that on his own initiative, the county police inspector next day communicated with the police authorities in Dublin, asking as to whether they thought he had taken sufficiently serious steps under the circumstances. The Dublin authorities 1761 came to the conclusion that the county police inspector had taken a wholly inadequate view of the situation, and that it was an absurd thing to charge a body of men, who were guilty of what I consider and submit to the House was a most discreditable riot, and wholly unprovoked, according to the evidence that was submitted to me, with stone-throwing. The view was taken that it was a wholly absurd view of the situation, seeing that the party had wrecked the town. The proper charge should have been one of riot and unlawful assembly. That direction was given, and the magistrates, having investigated the matter, returned the men for trial. They were tried at Belfast, with the result that has been communicated to the House.
§ Mr. REDMOND BARRY
In view of the facts which I have stated to the House, and which I have read from the police reports furnished to the Government, I would ask the House to come to its own conclusion in the matter. No judge would convince me, if the police reports be true, that it was a trivial matter. One hundred and fifty men confronted by two men on a road, and remonstrated with for playing a band, take their revenge by kicking the men to the ground, by throwing stones at the houses, and by misbehaving themselves in the fashion described by the police.
§ Mr. REDMOND BARRY
I am dealing with the question so far as it came before the Executive. All I have to justify is the action taken by the Government and myself in the particular course taken in instituting the prosecution.
§ Mr. REDMOND BARRY
Treat Tennison and Fox who were put to flight as guilty? Treat them on the same basis as the men who had wrecked houses, kicked the men upon the ground in the presence of a policeman; had threatened to attack the policeman and break his skull if he interfered with him, and took, as I said, 1762 physical possession of the town for half an hour? I will come at once to what happened with regard to Fox and Tennison. I say that the opinion of no judge would affect the mind of this House if the facts as stated by the police in these reports be true. [An HON. MEMBER: "If they be true!"] Well, I have nothing to do with what was put before the judge. Does the right hon. Gentleman suggest for one moment that I had?
§ Sir E. CARSON
I thought the Attorney-General as a rule read the depositions and prepared the prosecution before the judge, and that afterwards it came within his province to get an account of what had actually happened and proved on oath before the judge?
§ Mr. REDMOND BARRY
I am quite certain the hon. Gentleman will in all fairness allow the explanation to be given. I am not in the least degree responsible for the proceedings taken at the prior court in Belfast. I have no record of the evidence that was given, and could have no record. No record will exist except the judge's book, which I certainly have never seen. All that I am impressing upon the House and what I am stating is what was in the formal official report of the police prior to any proceedings being taken at all, and upon the strength of which the proceedings which are now challenged were taken. I put it to any fair-minded man in the House as to whether any other proceedings could possibly have been taken, and whether the refusal to take proceedings would not have been said to be the result of cowardice, ignorance, or incompetence. What about the case of Tennison and Fox. I said that Tennison was charged, and charged only, with having attempted by menaces to stop an Orange procession upon the road. I have read the statement of Constable McDonnell, who told us at any rate—whatever he said in Belfast—that the only thing said by Tennison on the occasion was, "Do you not know that this road is stopped to-day?" There was no threat whatever. Yet for saying that the man was thrown upon the ground and kicked in the presence of the constable. I 1763 take the full responsibility for the direction which I gave in the situation that, in my opinion, upon the evidence there was not one particle of foundation for the suggestion that Tennison was guilty of any offence that would expose him to prosecution. Therefore, in face of the police testimony that the man's only act was to say: "Don't you know that this road is not open to bands to-day?" I think it was an absurd and exceptional situation that he should have been criminally prosecuted. Therefore, as regards Tennison, I gave direction that I did not think the evidence in the least degree warranted a criminal prosecution of the man. As to Fox, I cannot understand how the hon. and learned Gentleman could state that the charge against him was withdrawn. I have here before me a direction that the charge against Fox should, be persevered in I cannot understand, therefore, why he should suggest to the House that Fox was not prosecuted. On the contrary, while it might well be said that Fox had only acted in self-defence, and had thrown stones at the men pursuing him, he was prosecuted for throwing stones. That was the direction I gave, and yet it is suggested that I gave precisely the opposite! Certainly I have never heard that the prosecution was dropped. All I can say is that if it was dropped it was dropped without my connivance or consent.
§ Mr. REDMOND BARRY
That is the history of the matter. The case was brought before the magistrate, and as a matter of fact I regret to say for the moment I cannot say what the magistrates did. I directed the prosecution to be instituted by the police, my view being that a man who throws a stone or uses a knife should have the obligation of defence cast upon him. So far for that case. I will not further weary the Committee with the facts, but it amazes me that anyone should think that the course taken was not a reasonable and a righteous one, having regard to the facts. Now I come to the case of Cassidy, whom I heard described as a Protestant. It is most unfortunate as I think that anyone should suggest that some different treatment is extended to a man because of his creed. I do not know whether the hon. 1764 and learned Member makes any suggestion of that kind against me. I do not suppose he does, but I think it is a most miserable business to attempt to identify the administration of our law to any extent, great or small, with religious prejudice upon one side or the other, and no one knowing Portadown as the hon. and learned Member does, and the wide differences prevailing among the different sects, should fashion his conduct towards such ends.
Let me tell the Committee briefly the circumstances of the riot in connection with the prosecution of Cassidy. Cassidy was accused of being the ringleader of a body of about 200 people who on Sunday, 15th August, plainly as the result of a deliberate plan, made a grave and riotous attack upon a body of forty people, including a number of women who were proceeding to the railway station at Portadown. These people were members of a Foresters' body, and they were going to Newry to take part in a Foresters' demonstration. The evidence as supplied to the Irish Government by the police was that on the Saturday night—that is the night before—as much as a ton of small stones which had not been there before were scattered in the night upon the road to serve as ammunition, and that a body of 200 men assembled on Sunday morning at eight o'clock, as this party was proceeding to the railway station, and used the ammunition placed upon the road overnight for the purpose, and made a most grave and brutal attack upon the body of forty people. There were many women among them. A very grave riot ensued. The police report furnished to us stated that Cassidy was the ringleader of the crowd, and in his personal action was the worst of the whole lot. That occurred on 15th August, and then Cassidy disappeared off the scene, and was not again visible in Ireland until the following May. A warrant had been issued for his arrest. Those who stood their ground were tried and several convicted, and were sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment with hard labour. Cassidy was the ringleader in this most grave and serious riot which threw the town of Portadown into a state' of excitement and turmoil that lasted for a very considerable time. It was not even a case of isolated riot, because as a result of the excitement created further attacks occurred between the parties in the next few days. The whole thing was initiated by the attack upon the Sunday morning by 1765 the crowd of 200 people led by Cassidy. He did not return to Ireland until May, and he was then arrested by the police on their own motion and on the warrant they had. So far as I was concerned, I had merely to consider the question whether the charge should be dealt with summarily or whether the accused should be sent forward for trial. In a case of the kind a court of summary jurisdiction has no control except to return the man for trial, and when he came before the judge at the Assize, Cassidy pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to twelve months imprisonment with hard labour. I have said the riot on Sunday was not an isolated case. On Monday and Tuesday following the disturbances were continued in the town. Undoubtedly, as the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Moore) said, the man McGurk who had been working in a factory, came out from his work, and, with a bottle in his hand, used words urging people to renew the attack. That occurred on Tuesday, but it was an attack wholly different in character. Nobody was injured at all. McGurk disappeared, and was away during the whole of 1910, and did not return to Ireland until the January of this year. The county inspector, finding McGurk, came back, called attention to the fact that he was concerned in the affair of August 17, but said that that riot was not nearly so serious as that of the 15th August, and he asked if depositions were to be completed, considering the lapse of time. The matter was considered by the inspector-general and his assistants. They were aware of the whole of the facts, and they knew from their officials in the district that the feeling engendered by the riots of the 15th August had absolutely disappeared—I hope this discussion will not tend in any sense to revive it—and the view of the police authorities in Dublin was that as the matter was so very old it would scarcely be worth while to reopen the case, and it was decided that an application to bind McGurk over to keep the peace and to be of good behaviour would in the circumstances be sufficient. The Executive Government are charged here with partiality founded upon some story of religious prejudice when called upon to decide what they should do with McGurk when they acted as they did, in view of the suggestion that the matter should not be pressed to the extent of a prosecution at the assize, and in face of the views held by the Royal Irish Constabulary, in whose judgment peace was absolutely restored in the district one would have thought that, after being 1766 bound over to keep the peace, that procedure would be sufficient. There is no foundation for the charge that there had been a grave and most dishonourable participation in a religious partiality. The peace was preserved and there was an end of the business until this revival of it in the House of Commons. I thank the Committee for the courtesy they have shown in listening to what I have said. The charge was an extremely grave one to make against persons whom the hon. and learned Member opposite knows very well would not stoop to such an intrigue.
§ Mr. MOORE
The whole of these proceedings in Portadown have been reopened in consequence of the treatment meted out to McGurk in contrast with Cassidy and the others. I received a complaint from my constituency, and under these circumstances it is my duty to demand an explanation. Now I have got that explanation. [An HON. MEMBER: "I hope you are satisfied with it."] I shall be able to judge later on whether my constituents are satisfied with the explanation which has been given. I do not think the hon. and learned Gentleman has treated the case quite fairly. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] I mean in regard to the history of the case. He has not told the House how many Nationalists were convicted and sent to hard labour for this very incident of the 17th May, which he said was so trivial. The men who were caught in the act go to prison, while those who keep away for fifteen months get off. I claim that under these circumstances I am entitled to ask for an explanation. I think the hon. and learned Gentleman will find on inquiry that the stone throwing was the beginning of the incident. The fact that at the trial at Belfast the prisoner was acquitted with the approval of the judge is quite sufficient justification for me bringing this matter before the attention of the House.
§ Viscount CASTLEREAGH
I beg to move to reduce the Vote by £100.
The right hon. Gentleman has made an interesting speech, but every word he has uttered goes to show hon. Members in all parts of the House that there is a state of lawlessness existing in Ireland. I had hoped to hear a few words from the Chief Secretary for Ireland in reference to this Estimate on the Paper. The right hon. Gentleman certainly has a great advantage over us, because we have had the doubtful honour of sitting here for eighteen hours, and he comes here quite fresh.
§ Viscount CASTLEREAGH
I did not intend to do the right hon. Gentleman an injustice. I was only congratulating him upon having had a night's rest which we had not had. With regard to the item of £2,100 on the Paper, I formally move its reduction by £100. I feel that the Government are not entitled to call upon the taxpayers to pay this extra money. This expenditure is due to an increase in the number of Crown prosecutions. I think I am entitled to say that from all points of view Ireland is almost crimeless. The crimes which exist in this country do not exist in Ireland, but all the crimes with which these Estimates and Supplementary Estimates deal are agrarian outrages and political crimes which do not exist in this country. They are crimes which the Government, if they would only make up their minds to put down with a strong hand would succeed in exterminating altogether, because they are crimes which are peculiar to Ireland at the present moment. I do not intend, on the present occasion, to go into these various agrarian crimes, but they do exist, and it is a very unfortunate thing that they have increased. With reference to the minor crimes it is unfortunate that the Government do not receive any support from hon. Members behind me, because such support would go a long way towards removing that kind of crime in Ireland. Extra police are required for cases of boycotting, and we know that the Nationalist Members actually encourage boycotting and cattle-driving. There are other crimes, but what I wish to ask the Chief Secretary in regard to this increase in the number of Crown prosecutions is what particular crimes have been committed in Ireland to justify this expenditure. The Government have had a very good idea from their experience during the last few years that there would be an increase in the expenditure on the administration of law and order in Ireland. Ever since the present Government came in power these crimes and outrages have existed, and it would be a fortunate thing if hon. Members opposite would go carefully into this question, for then they would realise that a large part of the community live under police protection, with bullets passing through their houses, and where murder is committed in broad daylight. We ask questions in this House about these crimes, and the Chief Secretary generally adopts an entirely hopeless 1768 attitude, and usually ends up by saying, "I am a Home Ruler, and I believe the panacea for all the evils of Ireland is the granting of Home Rule." If hon. Gentlemen are right surely it is the duty of the right hon. Gentleman in the meantime to do his best to administer the law in Ireland for the protection of those innocent people whom the Nationalist Members have never hesitated to incite other people to boycott. I could give hon. Gentlemen proof of the various outrages which are committed in Ireland. I have documents with me, but I do not propose to weary the House by going into that which is common knowledge in Ireland. I only regret hon. Gentlemen do not go closely into this question, so as to realise that the administration of the law in Ireland is in the most hopeless hands it has ever been in for the last century. It is looked upon as a farce. I should like to point out one particular episode which occurred on 18th January in Dublin. Mr. J. P. Farrell, a Nationalist Member of Parliament, was prosecuted for intimidation and boycotting, and, with the learned Solicitor-General for the prosecution was associated Serjeant O'Brien, K.C. The case was concluded on 18th January. The same evening the Nationalists held a banquet in Dublin, and among the guests on the right of the hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond) was Serjeant O'Brien, fresh from an attempt to put his colleague and fellow Member of Parliament into prison. The hon. Gentlemen who sit behind me look upon the administration of the Law in Ireland as a joke. They know perfectly well that a few years ago the hon. and learned Member for Waterford would not have been banqueting with an individual who was endeavouring to place a colleague in prison. It is for that reason I point out that the administration of the Law in Ireland is looked upon as a farce by those called upon to administer it. I sincerely hope the right hon. Gentleman will give us some words of enlightenment with regard to his view of the administration of the Law in Ireland, and to put myself in order I beg to move to reduce the Vote by £100.
§ Sir E. CARSON
I certainly am not in the position of the Chief Secretary of having sat up last night, and I do not think it necessary to offer any apology to the House for not having done so. I desire to say a few words with reference to the matter with which the Attorney- 1769 General has dealt. I look upon it in a somewhat different way from the way in which it has been presented to the House hitherto. The Attorney-General must not imagine this is the first occasion on which there has been a suggestion of religious prejudice in relation to the administration of the Law in Ireland. I can assure him that many years ago I had to suffer from exactly the same kind of charges; and, although now the statement that there ought to be no religious prejudice in Ireland is loudly cheered by hon. Members below the Gangway, all they really mean is that the charge ought not to be made against the right hon. Gentleman. They would be quite willing to renew the charge against me if I was in his position. That is the nature of Ireland, and I think it is well not to have any delusion or hypocrisy about the matter at all, all the more because I believe, though I regret it, there is daily growing up in Ireland very extreme and very bitter feelings between the various sections and the various political parties, and I have no doubt in the coming months, having regard to what we are told is going to take place, that the right hon. Gentleman will have to watch with grave consideration the conflicting interests of sects and parties which will arise in that country. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh."] I am expressing my opinion, and I have right to do so. I shall not be called to order by any hon. Gentleman who expects to be a Chairman or a Speaker of a House of Commons. For my part, I realise entirely the difficulties of the Attorney-General. I repudiate as strongly as he does any charge against him of any religious prejudice of any kind. I believe he attempts to do his duty, and does it as honestly as any man in his position could do it in Ireland, and I think, knowing the responsibilities of the position, I should certainly be wanting in my duty in the position I occupy if I did not state that. So far as I am concerned, the explanation of his own conduct in the matter, if any explanation is wanted at all, is entirely satisfactory. The view I take is this: it is an utter waste to spend money upon prosecutions in Ireland. Everybody knows that these prosecutions will lead to nothing. I read of case after case in Ireland where matters are brought before juries with evidence so clear that nobody who really wished to act on their oath and in accordance with their oath could do otherwise than convict; but no one, not even the Attorney-General, from 1770 the beginning to the end, from the institution of those prosecutions down to the time when judgment is given, has the slightest doubt as to what will happen, utterly regardless of the evidence brought before the Court. That, of course, is a very sad fact, but the question is whether we are really justified in voting all this money for public prosecutions when everybody knows that they are a farce from the beginning to the end.
Take the case the Attorney-General has just presented to us. He read out some police reports which justified his own action. The case he made, to my mind, showed a most distressing and grievous state of affairs during almost the whole day in a village in the north of Ireland. As far as I could see, a peaceful village was in the hands of rioters, stones were thrown, people were assaulted, and a man was knocked down and his life threatened in the presence of the police. All that evidence was there. These men are prosecuted and no result comes of it. We were told by the hon. and learned Member who originally moved in reference to the matter that the judge concurred in the verdict of the jury. The Attorney-General says he has no knowledge or information on that subject at all. I should have thought, and I say this with all deference to the Attorney-General—
§ Mr. REDMOND BARRY
I should have come back to that. The explanation I have is that the judge regretted the matter was not disposed of in the interests of peace and order, and beyond that, I am not aware that he expressed any view at all.
§ Sir E. CARSON
What I want to point out is that I should have thought the Attorney-General would have deemed it necessary, having regard to the failure of justice—and providing, of course, the facts he relied on are true—to institute a most searching inquiry into the causes of that failure. We are told by my hon. and learned Friend that these constables who were reporting on this matter stated that this was an entirely unprovoked assault by two men upon a party who were going out to an Orange celebration, and we are also told that upon cross-examination of the police who sent in the report, that the whole trouble was due to these two men. If that be the case, it puts an entirely different face upon the matter. But I ask the Attorney-General, who says there has been a miscarriage of justice, could he not see that the right thing in this kind 1771 of case—where he knows there is a predisposition in favour of one side or the other in any district—is to remove the trial out of that district and attempt in that way to have impartial justice administered. I am sure, in a case of this kind, where a village is in the hands of rioters for many hours during the day, it must have been realised that it was useless to go on with a prosecution of this kind at the place at which it was instituted. Yet it is for this action we are now asked to pass this Vote. While I entirely dissent and dissociate myself from the idea that there is any intention to attack the Attorney-General upon any grounds of prejudice, I must say I think that during the last few years while the Attorney-General has been in office, and with the present Chief Secretary, there has been a lamentable failure to enforce the law in such cases as this, due, it may be, to the dislike, for political reasons, to put into operation the provisions of the Crimes Act, which enable a change of venue in these cases. It is on that ground, and on no ground of a personal character against the Attorney-General, that I support this motion.
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
I hope the House will take notice and that the public, too, will note the true meaning of the speeches we have heard. We are approaching a time, as we have been told, when matters of the gravest and most vital import to Ireland will be submitted to the consideration of the British people. [An HON. MEMBER: "When?"] Next year. A campaign has been engineered by those who are opposed to the concession of liberty to Ireland to blacken the name of Ireland and to misrepresent the action of her people. What is the meaning of the speeches we have heard this afternoon? They have two evident meanings and motives. The first is to endeavour to show that there has been, as indeed, I think, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Trinity College said, an unfortunate recrudescence of religious animosity and hatred in Ireland, and, secondly, to show that there has been a recrudescence of violence and crime. I say there has been no recrudescence of religious animosities or hatreds in Ireland, but the effect of speeches such as those we have listened to might be to lead to such a recrudescence. I hope the motive was not to bring that about. I for my part believe that those who are opponents of Irish freedom think that their 1772 only chance of inducing the British people to take an unfavourable view of the proposals to be made is by inducing them to think that this religious question is becoming so acute again in Ireland as to make it dangerous to trust the people. What was the meaning of the speech of the hon. Member for Trinity College? What is the meaning of every speech made by the hon. Member for North Armagh (Mr. Moore), who never speaks in this House on any subject without bringing in the question of Catholic v. Protestant? Why his whole object in this House seems to be to endeavour to show that the Irish people are really a race of uncivilised savages fighting one another for the love of God, and anxious to tear one another to pieces for religious motives. I say a more ignoble mission was never undertaken than that which seems to be the mission adopted by those who are preparing a campaign of calumny and misrepresentation with which they desire to defeat the hopes of Ireland in the future. They will fail in that campaign. I say in contradiction to what has been said about there being a recrudescence of acute religious discord in Ireland that, on the contrary, the religious hatreds which have been the bane, and I would say the disgrace of Ireland in the past, are softening and disappearing, and we on these benches have said, and will say, nothing which can lead to a renewal of those wretched discords. Who is it that comes to this House and talks constantly about the iniquities of Catholics, and who whenever there is a riot or an assault committed in Ireland declares it to be an attack by a Catholic on a Protestant. It is hon. Members from Ireland above the Gangway. Is there a single case in which we on these benches have attacked Protestants in this House for assaults. We have not done it. We have very often remained silent sooner than retaliate on these attacks by quoting unfortunate incidents of religious bigotry and violence on the part of Protestants.
I am one of those who firmly believe that these wretched discords are disappearing in Ireland, and with all my heart and soul, I hope that the object which these men have in view by speeches like we have heard to-day—namely, the endeavour to inflame religious discard in Ireland, will fail, and that we shall find Ireland in the near future just as we find Canada, where the majority of Catholics is overwhelming—
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
I meant Quebec, not Canada—I was guilty of a slip of the tongue; but I hope we shall, in the near future find Ireland to be a country like Quebec, where the overwhelming majority of the people are Catholic, where there dwells in their midst a Protestant minority, with their rights and liberties safeguarded, and their persons and property protected, living in perfect amity, and goodwill with the overwhelming bulk of their Catholic fellow-countrymen. The second object of these speeches is to create an idea that Ireland is in a state of disorder, violence, and crime. The Noble Lord the Member for Maidstone (Lord Castlereagh) should, I think, hesitate before he adopts the rôle which he seems to have taken up. I do not desire to say anything personally offensive, but I say, that he bears a name associated with deadly crimes in Ireland—a name which stands out in history associated with the vilest crimes committed against a nation, and its descendant and namesake ought, I think, to shrink from adopting the rôle which apparently he is about to take up. As far as I know, the Noble Lord never loses an opportunity, in season and out of season of attacking his country and saying something to its discredit. It comes badly from any man who calls himself an Irishman to go out of his way to attack his countrymen, but I am afraid the rôle is an hereditary one. The Noble Lord has tried to create the impression that there is violence, crime, and outrage in Ireland. He says murder is committed in broad daylight, but I want to know is there any country in the world in which a murder does not occur occasionally. How many murders occur in England? When we were discussing this matter seriously I made a speech in which I quoted statistics of murder, attempted murder, violence to the person, and so forth, in England, and I showed that in proportion to the population of Ireland, they were in this country ten-fold what they are in Ireland, and so on, through every class of crime. A murder was committed the other day in Ireland—a deplorable murder which attracted a great deal of attention in this country. There had not been a murder in the country for goodness knows how many years before, but that one murder in Ireland creates more sensation in this country owing to the methods of these gentlemen and their newspapers than scores of horrible, brutal murders committed in this country. I deplore crime and outrage, I think, as honestly as the Noble Lord. He has, from 1774 his political point of view, everything to gain by crime, murder and outrage in Ireland. We, from our point of view, have everything to lose. We know that, and every influence that we have at our command is used and will be used in the future to prevent violence, or outrage, or crime of any sort. I say that the assertion that Ireland is in a state of violence, or crime, or disorder is a false assertion. I say that Ireland is to-day in a state of profound peace; far more so than it was while the twenty years of resolute Government were being applied. The Noble Lord's complaint is this that the Executive Government in Ireland do not administer the law firmly and with a firm hand, but when he had his firm hand and his resolute Government for twenty years, I say that those twenty years of coercion in Ireland were marked with crime in England of ten times the amount which existed in Ireland. I hope the Noble Lord the Member for Thirsk will not excite himself. He is quite able to speak after me.
§ Viscount HELMSLEY
I only want to ask the hon. Gentleman to prove his statement. To prove it by figures.
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
I did prove it. Last time I spoke on this question, and if I had known that this Debate was coming on I could prove it again. Why, what proof is needed. Only the other day in the recollection of this House—within the last three or four weeks—criminal statistics of Great Britain were published, with the report of the Commissioners, and what did they say? Why that unfortunately for the last ten years there had been a large and progressive increase in every kind of violent crime in England, and they went on to consider what they thought were the causes which led to the increase of criminal statistics last published. In Ireland there has been a decrease in these crimes—everyone of them, and it is a monstrous perversion of the truth to suggest to the Committee that Ireland is not in a state of absolute crimelessness as compared with any part of Great Britain. There is a good spirit abroad in Ireland to-day—a spirit full of hope. That spirit is leading to the softening of religious hatred and discords. It is leading to maintenance of peace, and my part and that of my friends will be to promote that spirit—to promote religious tolerance and good feeling and peacefulness, and to put down violence and crime in every way. The spirit we desire in Ireland is one of 1775 hope—hope that the future administration of the law will be viewed with greater confidence by the mass of the people of the country, without which it cannot be in Ireland or in any other part of the world either effective or respected.
§ Mr. CHARLES DUNCAN
I have listened to the whole of the case put before us this afternoon, and I think the reason for this Debate was a question of partiality in taking legal action on the part of the Attorney-General for Ireland. I have heard the case, and I have heard the defence, and I am bound to come to the conclusion, having listened carefully to both sides, that so far as the complaint made by the hon. Member opposite is concerned it seems to me to have been one of the most flimsy cases that I have ever heard in the House of Commons. There was one thing that surprised me more than anything else in this afternoon's Debate, and that has been the exceedingly vague quality of the speeches that have been made, particularly on the other side of the House, beginning with that of the hon. Gentleman who raised the question. He introduced the question with the usual paraphernalia of the big drum and the rest of it. May I say that I came to this House with no very strong predilection either on one side or the other on this question, and I claim to be just as strong and as good a Protestant as any man in this House, but all my experience here since 1906 has proved absolutely to demonstration to me continually that in ninety-nine out of one hundred cases the Protestants of Ireland are wrong and the Roman Catholics right. I have listened to the speeches to-day. I heard the first speech making the charge, I heard the answer, and I heard the Noble Lord (Viscount Castlereagh), from whom we got the usual brimstone, fire, and thunder. We are used to that kind of thing. I think the Noble Lord is a man of higher attainments than to endeavour to build up a reputation in this House on that kind of statement. That kind of thing is getting disgusting and nauseating. To think that hon. Members with all the advantages of education that he has had should still endeavour to build up a case as they do upon foundations that we all know are most trivial, and, in my judgment, ridiculous. It is true that to some extent there is a certain amount of religious difference in Ireland. There are two sets of people each strongly holding dif- 1776 ferent conditions. I am in complete agreement with the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. John Redmond). I am a member of a trade unoin organisation which has large branches in Ireland. We have many branches in a place where, I suppose, disturbances take place on 12th July, in Belfast, and I can from my own experience bear testimony of the strongest and clearest character to the fact that this religious bigotry which has played such a great part in the north of Ireland is dying down rapidly. I am exceedingly glad that this is so, because, after all, religious differences keep men apart in all walks of life, and they only do injury to the whole of the people in the country. A year or two ago I happened to be in Belfast, and the one thing that struck me more than anything else, having had some experience as a member of a town council in England, and knowing the ratio of the policemen to the population in an industrial town in this country, was the tremendous number of policemen. I also knew that the people of Belfast were an exceedingly religious community, and it seemed very strange to me that, in a professedly religious community like Belfast it should take about five times the number of policemen to keep them in order than would be the case in any industrial town in this country. These are things that one cannot help noticing when one goes to Ireland with one's eyes open. This effort that is continuously being made to create and to embitter religious intolerance and bigotry makes me begin to feel disgusted. This should never come from men who profess any faith in any religion of any kind. It seems to me, after listening to the Debate, that this is a terrible thing. The whole case is exceedingly trivial, and is a waste of the time of the House. I had a glance at the Estimates before coming to the House. There is a certain amount of money to be spent on law charges and criminal prosecutions in Ireland. This comes to £67,375. We were told by the right hon. Gentleman (Sir E. Carson) that this is a very large sum of money. I was rather surprised to hear him say that, because I took the trouble to work this £67,375 into shillings and pence. I (understand in Ireland there are between three and four millions, and I find in this alleged tremendous amount of money there are 1,617,000 pence, so that even on this estimate itself it is only a cost of a halfpenny per individual of the population. That does not indicate a state of lawlessness in Ireland.
§ Viscount CASTLEREAGH
Is the hon. Member aware that all the charges for police protection come on the rates?
§ Mr. CHARLES DUNCAN
We were dealing with these charges. I am not dealing with the police at present. It is obvious that there is no evidence in these prosecutions that the state of Ireland is in the lawless condition that some hon. Members would have us believe. Hon. Members who are continually drumming away at this question would be much better employed if they tried to induce the people of Ireland to bury once and for all in an exceedingly deep grave the religious differences which do exist.
§ The CHIEF SECRETARY for IRELAND (Mr. Birrell)
A Supplementary Estimate proposing an increase in criminal prosecutions and legal expenses in connection therewith seems hardly the right occasion to base a general accusation against the Irish Administration of neglecting their duties and leaving the country in an alleged state of lawlessness. Although I was quite prepared for some discussion on the matter of which the hon. and learned Gentleman gave notice, I certainly am not prepared to enter into a general defence of either my administration or the present condition of Ireland. I only wish hon. Gentlemen opposite had access to the same information that pours into the Irish Office as to the present general condition of Ireland. If they were in possession of that information which comes in week by week and month by month any such statements as those made by the Noble Lord, creating the impression that at this moment Ireland is seething with undiscovered crime and that altogether it is a blot upon Christianity and civilisation would seem to be perfectly absurd. I have just had in the office all the judges' charges. The judges are eminent and distinguished men, by no means partisans of the present administration. If I were an optimist, and I do not know that I am one, I should take a most cheerful view, and I do take a cheerful view of the present condition of Ireland. It is altogether an outrageous thing, in face of the statements that the judges make, after going about the country on assize and receiving police reports in each district, as to the perfectly crimeless condition of the majority of the counties, and as to the improving condition of the others to make these accusations against a country, even if it happens to be their own.
§ Mr. BIRRELL
I have all the judges' charges here. There are Meath, Waterford, Limerick, South Tipperary, Longford, and Monaghan. I did not come here prepared to meet the charge which has been raised, but I would ask the Noble Lord generally to read these reports, and ask himself whether, on the whole, he does not think that they represent the country as being in a very satisfactory, and a growingly satisfactory, condition. There is one point I should like to make. There are, of course, in parts of Ireland, arising out of the operation of the Land Acts, offences such as boycotting, firing at the person, and firing into houses, which, of course, shows a lamentable and very sad state of things, but I do ask hon. Members to remember that we are trying in Ireland, and have been for many years, an extraordinary agrarian revolution and experiment. The whole of the agricultural land of Ireland is in the market. Everybody knows that it has got to be sold, and sold to the tenants in every village and district in Ireland. The lands are to be divided among a land-loving and land-hungering people, who have lived for years looking forward to the time when they would have a bit of land of their own, and, it may be, have been thinking out what particular bit of land that is to be. All these things you have done, and you have placed British credit at their disposal for the purpoe of allowing them to be done. I ask you to put yourselves, you who know village life in England where the land-hunger is by no means what it is in Ireland, what would happen? Can you suppose that there would not be boycotting?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The Noble Lord seems to take a cheerful view of his own country. I know perfectly well that if the land of Lancashire was to be sold to the tenants, and that the untenanted land would be divided among the poor people in that neighbourhood. You could not carry out an agrarian revolution of that kind without a great deal of trouble and disturbance. I cannot think that the Irish people have behaved worse than other people would do in the circumstances. I think, having regard to their past history, they have behaved far better than any rational statesman would have thought possible. 1779 There have been crimes and outrages, local jealousies, local disputes, and local unhappiness with regard to the manner in which the Estates Commissioners have divided the lands between these people. As soon as the difficulty is got over—I am sorry that any financial reason should make land purchase go slower than it was previously doing—I believe Ireland will be not only what it is at the present moment as compared with England, a comparatively crimeless country, but that when these troubles and disturbances are removed from the mind of a land-loving and excitable peasantry, you will find the state of Ireland an enormous credit to your Empire.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
I only heard a portion of the discussion, and I have no wish to add to the animation of it, but the right hon. Gentleman, who never seems to be happy unless he is receiving Nationalist cheers, has made an exceedingly controversial speech.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
The right hon. Gentleman, seeing his masters here expecting a speech—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh," and "Withdraw."] The right hon. Gentleman referred, among other things to the judges' charges. I have here the charge of Mr. Justice Dodd, delivered at Limerick, in which he said there was still in the country a number of people under police protection and a number of people who were boycotted. The right hon. Gentleman said that similar things would happen in the country life of England under similar temptations. I do not think the right hon. Gentleman knows much about English country life, and an observation of that kind really destroys all the value of his opinion. The hon. Member for Waterford (Mr. J. Redmond) made a speech earlier which seemed to be a sort of essay on Christian Science. According to him Ireland is a perfectly happy country, and the disorders in it are the creation of the mind of my right hon. Friend the Member for Dublin University. I happened to hear part of the speech of the learned Attorney-General. The hon. and learned Gentleman very emphatically said that there was no religious disorder in Ireland. There was a striking passage in the speech, in which he said that it was not the custom to play bands through a country principally inhabited by people belonging 1780 to the other religious parties, and that it was a breach of religious etiquette to do so, and that it always led to disorder.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
I do not think there would be any difficulty in playing a Nonconformist band in any Church of England village in England.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
I think I do. I know no place in England where there there would be a riot if you played a band of any religious kind. What nonsense all this is! Everybody knows that there is a great deal of tension between the religious bodies in Ireland, and that it constantly leads on one side or the other to disorder. The hon. and learned Member for Waterford went on to describe the part of the country in which he lives as being entirely in an orderly condition, and he gave his view of Irish history. I must say that I should be more disposed to believe his account of contemporary events if he had given a less startling illustration of his knowledge of Irish history. People who would say of the great Lord Castlereagh that he was not a great statesman are incapable of forming a judgment. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about Cromwell?"] The hon. and learned Member stated that for his part he was opposed to crime naturally, and that the Nationalist party had nothing to gain from it. I am very glad to hear the hon. and learned Member say so, but I could not help reflecting that he was one of the respondents before the Special Commission, when he was found guilty of very serious offences against the law, and not resisting intimidation and incitement to crime and outrage with knowledge of its effects. I could not help thinking that I would not like to live in a country under the government of a man who is all against crime and outrage when it injures his party, but who did not resist it in the earlier period of his career.
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
I absolutely deny that. The Noble Lord is apparently quoting from the Piggot Commission. As far as I am concerned, I always held the same view, and expressed it in public and in private, that crime and outrage were an injury to the national cause.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
The hon. Member may deny it if he pleases, but I am content to go by the verdict of the judges. [HON. MEMBERS: "Piggot."] Let me suggest to the hon. Member opposite that before he forms a definite opinion on Irish Nationalist politics he should read the Report of the Special Commission. I think he will find ample evidence which certainly suggests a very different standard of law and order from that which prevails in this country. It is perfectly plain that there are in Ireland traces of a great conflict which has gone on for centuries, and which does, as a matter of fact, lead, and always has led, to very serious disorder. These disorders are much less than they were, it is true, but that is principally due to the effects of Unionist administration first of all in enforcing law and order, and secondly in passing the measure of land purchase introduced by my right hon. Friend the Member for Dover (Mr. Wyndham). I do not thnk it at all unreasonable or improper when facilities are given by discussion in this House to call attention to the grave dangers of those disorders and to keep the eye of the public constantly fixed upon them; and I am not at all afraid to say that I think the lesson that this country ought to learn is that it would be madness, cruelty, and betrayal to put either one party or the other under the heel of its age-long opponents.
§ 2.0 P.M.
§ Earl WINTERTON
In this very interesting discussion the Leader of the Irish Nationalist party, the hon. and learned Member for Waterford, speaking in defence of his party, endeavoured to make a great point of the fact that crime of the ordinary kind, apart from political crime, was, if not existent, rather less on the whole in Ireland than in England. That point is supported by the hon. Member for Barrow, who, if I may say so, in a very interesting and obviously sincere speech on the question, said that if you look at the statistics of crime in Ireland you will see that there is less ordinary crime there than in England. That has nothing whatever to do with the argument which my hon. Friend has brought before us this afternoon. Our point has nothing to do with ordinary crime; it is concerned with extraordinary crime of a political and religious nature, which has, as my Noble Friend says, gone on for very many years, and which the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland has persistently throughout the time he has occupied that office endeavoured to ignore. What is the 1782 good of either him or the Irish Nationalist party trying to ignore that crime? It is only the Irish Nationalist party in this House that has taken up the position of denying an attitude which it always adopts in America and Ireland. It is no exaggeration to say that during the past twenty-five years, whether Radical or Unionist Governments were in power, there has been a vendetta against law and order in Ireland by hon. Gentlemen who sit below the Gangway. Hon. Gentlemen will not deny that it has been said constantly on platforms in Ireland that, while the Irish nation is compelled to obey law with which, not only it is not in sympathy, but to which it is very hostile, it is not only not a crime but it is its duty to do its best to break it. The hon. and learned Member for Waterford in the speech which he has just delivered denied he had ever advocated crime. I am sure that everyone who knows him would acquit him of any such intention. The hon. and learned Gentleman is not the kind of man who would advocate crime, and, though I am sure the more responsible Members of his party have not in any sense associated themselves during the last few years with attempts to incite to law-breaking, yet no one can deny that the general tendency of the Irish Nationalist party in Ireland has been to encourage this vendetta from one end of the country to the other. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I do not suggest that the hon. Gentleman sitting in this House are connected with this vendetta. The hon. Member for West Belfast (Mr. Devlin) would prefer the wild excitement of an all-night sitting to work such as I have referred to in Ireland.
§ Earl WINTERTON
I think I am relevant in this sense: we are dealing with the money that is needed for prosecutions in Ireland for political crime. I am anxious to show the widespread nature of the crimes, but it is not necessary to labour that particular point any longer, except to say in reference to the form which this crime takes that it seems to me, and I think the hon. Member who spoke earlier in the Debate could not deny, if you really approach this matter with an open mind, that such things take place in the South of Ireland, cattle-driving, cattle-torturing. [HON. MEMBERS: "No such thing."] There is no use in denying obvious facts. 1783 The "Freeman's Journal" will tell you all about that. I cannot believe that the hon. Member for Barrow would support such a state of affairs. Yet these things take place constantly. Though we are told by statistics that there is a little less or a little more crime in Ireland—I do not know what it was the Chief Secretary said—the central fact is not altered, that this political crime goes on, and that the Government of the day, who have now been five or six years in office, made no real efforts to deal with it. It does seem to me that on this Estimate a very important question is raised. This is money for carrying on criminal prosecutions in Ireland, and therefore in a sense money for maintaining law and order. The right hon. Gentleman since he has been in power has failed to do what I admit is a very hard thing to do in a democratic country, that is take up an unpopular strong line. He has never even once in his speeches or in his answers to questions taken up a strong line on the question of this agrarian crime, and as one who admires, in other walks of life and in other fields of labour, the right hon. Gentleman's work, it is pitiful sometimes to see the kind of attitude which he bakes up, and the jesting answers which he gives to questions put to him, vitally affecting the very life blood of Ireland, and thousands of people in the country. The right hon. Gentleman, and those who support him on this side below the Gangway, seem to think there is great cause for congratulation in his administration. I do not think anything of the kind. I think that his administration will be looked back to in years to come, whether hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway get their Parliament or not, as a very weak administration. You cannot govern a country nor carry on the machinery of administration by means of jokes. The right hon. Gentleman has taken up a rather cynical tone, which certainly ill becomes him, because it does not really represent what he is, but to make a joke of everything connected with administration that is brought up by my hon. Friends from the North of Ireland—
§ Earl WINTERTON
The right hon. Gentleman asks when has he ever made a joke. The whole of the right hon. Gentleman's attitude, his speeches, his answers 1784 to questions with regard to administration in Ireland are one huge joke. Although I admire him for his humour, I think the right hon. Gentleman is adopting a very foolish line in being humorous in a country of humorists, because he will find that he will always be beaten by hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway. All I can say is, if I were Chief Secretary several hon. Members below the Gangway would occupy less pleasant positions than they now occupy.
§ Earl WINTERTON
I do not reply to interruption below the Bar. This question which has been raised this afternoon in many respects seems to me to be rather a sad one. It reveals the kind of attitude which people take up in regard to these very grave problems. While my Noble Friend the Member for Oxford University (Lord Hugh Cecil) was speaking, an hon. Gentleman opposite, representing a division of Bedfordshire, interjected something about Nonconformists in this country and the religious bigotry which prevails. It would be outside of the scope of this discussion to refer to what takes place among Nonconformists in the rural districts of England, but I think some hon. Gentlemen have strange and misguided ideas on that point. I put this to hon. Gentlemen opposite. Is it suggested that there might be the same kind of occurrences in England as have taken place in connection with the opening of this Orange Lodge in Ireland. In England everybody knows that there is a very large religious organisation called the Salvation Army, which is a very strong body—
§ Earl WINTERTON
I was only endeavouring to reply to the point raised on the other side of the House as to the religious question.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The Noble Earl might as well take one country after another all round the world. The Vote is for Law Charges and Criminal Prosecutions in Ireland.
§ Earl WINTERTON
The whole Debate, if I may say so with all respect, if it does not go all round the world covers a very considerable portion of its surface. With reference to what has taken place in Ireland, I would point out that such incidents as are there witnessed are impossible in England, even where you have the 1785 strongest religious feeling, as in a city like Liverpool, where the same question—for it is not a different question there—arises. Although the hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond) has this afternoon, as he always does, expressed his intention to do his best to do away with this bigotry, I must say that an ounce of proof in the way of fulfilment of that intention would be worth several tons
§ of theory. I would like to see the hon. and learned Gentleman put his professions into practice at the earliest posible opportunity.
§ Question put, "That a sum, not exceeding £2,000, be granted for the said Service."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 92; Noes, 218.1787
|Division No. 69.]||AYES.||[2.10 p.m.|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||Nield, Herbert|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Gilmour, Captain John||Norton-Griffiths, J.|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Goldman, Charles Sydney||Pole-Carew, Sir R.|
|Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Goldsmith, Frank||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Balcarres, Lord||Grant, J. A.||Rice, Hon. Walter Fitz-Uryan.|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Greene, Walter Raymond||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Baring, Captain Hon. Guy Victor||Gretton, John||Rolleston, Sir John|
|Barnston, H.||Guinness, Hon. Walter Edward||Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington)||Spear, John Ward|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen B. (Glouc., E.)||Helmsley, Viscount||Stanier, Beville|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Hickman, Col. Thomas E.||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Hill, Sir Clement L.||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, N.)|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Houston, Robert Paterson||Valentia, Viscount|
|Campion, W. R.||Ingleby, Holcombe||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Carlile, Edward Hildred||Kebty-Fletcher, J. R.||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Carson, Rt. hon. Sir Edward H.||Kirkwood, John H. M.||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Lewisham, Viscount||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Chaloner, Col R. G. W.||Lloyd, George Ambrose||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claude|
|Clyde, James Avon||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Magnus, Sir Philip||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Malcolm, Ian||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Dairymple, Viscount||Moore, William||Younger, George|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)|
|Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Newdegate, F. A.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Viscount Castlereagh and Earl Winterton.|
|Forster, Henry William||Newman, John R. P.|
|Gardner, Ernest||Newton, Harry Kottingham|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Clough, William||Glanville, Harold James|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford|
|Adamson, William||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Goldstone, Frank|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)|
|Alden, Percy||Cotton, William Francis||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)|
|Allen, A. A. (Dumbartonshire)||Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Hackett, John|
|Armitage, Robert||Crumley, Patrick||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)|
|Barnes, George N.||Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick)||Dawes, J. A.||Harmsworth, R. Leicester|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst (Leeds, N.)||Delany, William||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)|
|Barry, Redmond John (Tyrone, N.)||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry|
|Beale, W. P.||Dewar, Sir J. A.||Haworth, Arthur A.|
|Benn, W. (T. H'mts., St. George)||Dickinson, W. H.||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Donelan, Captain A.||Hayward, Evan|
|Boland, John Plus||Doris, William||Helme, Norval Watson|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Edwards, Allen C. (Glamorgan, E.)||Henry, Sir Charles S.|
|Brace, William||Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.|
|Brigg, Sir John||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Holt, Richard Durning|
|Brocklehurst, William B.||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Essex, Richard Walter||Hughes, Spencer Leigh|
|Bryce, John Annan||Esslemont, George Birnie||Isaacs, Sir Rufus Daniel|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Falconer, James||Jardine, Sir John (Roxburghshire)|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Fenwick, Charles||Johnson, W.|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)||Ferens, Thomas Robinson||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)|
|Byles, William Pollard||Ffrench, Peter||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Cameron, Robert||Field, William||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Fitzgibbon, John||Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts, Stepney)|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Joyce, Michael|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Gill, A. H.||Keating, Matthew|
|Kellaway, Frederick George||O'Dowd, John||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|King, Joseph (Somerset, North)||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Lambert, George (Devon, S. Molton)||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.|
|Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade).||O'Malley, William||Scott, A. M'Callum (Glasgow, Bridgeton)|
|Lansbury, George||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Law, Hugh A||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld., Cockerm'th)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Leach, Charles||Parker, James (Halifax)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Snowden, Philip|
|Lundon, Thomas||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Soares, Ernest|
|Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Pirie, Duncan Vernon||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Pointer, Joseph||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Pollard, Sir George H.||Tennant, Harold John|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|M'Callum, John M.||Power, Patrick Joseph||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|M'Laren, F. W. S. (Linc., Spalding)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Toulmin, George|
|M'Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe)||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Marks, George Croydon||Radford, George Heynes||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Martin, Joseph||Raffan, Peter Wilson||Wadsworth, J.|
|Mathias, Richard||Raphael, Sir Herbert H.||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Meagher, Michael||Rainy, Adam Rolland||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Menzies, Sir Walter||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Molloy, Michael||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Molteno, Percy Alport||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)||Webb, H.|
|Mooney, John J.||Rendall, Athelstan||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Morgan, George Hay||Richards, Thomas||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Morrell, Philip||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Munro, Robert||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Murray, Capt. Hon. Arthur C.||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Needham, Christopher J.||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Neilson, Francis||Robinson, Sidney||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Nolan, Joseph||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Norton, Captain Cecil W.||Roche, John (Galway, E.)|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Rowlands, James||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Master of Elibank and Mr. Gulland.|
|O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||St. Maur, Harold|
Question put, and agreed to.