HC Deb 10 May 1911 vol 25 cc1210-2

asked the Chief Secretary whether he has received a statement, signed on behalf of the residents of the district, setting forth the circumstances, so far as known, in connection with an alleged outrage which was committed on the night of 17th July, 1910, when shots were, as alleged, fired into a but occupied by three gamekeepers, one of them formerly an employé of Lord Ashtown at Glenahiry Lodge, county Tipperary, where an alleged bogus outrage took place recently, on the property of Mrs. Sinclair, at Shanagalwilly, North Tyrone; whether the wads and padding found outside the window of the but were similar to those found in the gamekeepers' cartridge-box inside the hut; whether two shots were alleged to have been fired and two cartridges were missing from the gamekeepers' boxes unaccounted for; whether it was alleged by one of the gamekeepers that he fired with a revolver at the assailants; whether any arrests have been made in connection with the occurrence, and what, if any, reports the police have made with regard to it; whether, on the strength of the uncorroborated story of the gamekeepers, police protection was afforded them; whether the district is perfectly peaceable; whether he is aware that the residents are incensed at the suspicion which the alleged outrage has raised and at the implication that they have been aiders and abettors in this alleged outrage; whether a demand has been made on their behalf for a full and an impartial inquiry into the whole of the facts connected with the alleged outrage; and whether, in view of the information in his possession and of all the circumstances, he will order such an inquiry forthwith?


On a point of Order, Sir, may I ask if it is in order that this question should contain an unfair attack upon Lord Ashtown by the suggestion that there was an "alleged bogus outrage" on that nobleman's premises; and whether it is acknowledged in this House that that case has been tried by the county court judge and the judge of appeal, and on each occasion it has been decided that Lord Ash-town was the victim of a genuine outrage with which he had nothing to do whatever, and do the Government associate themselves with that?


My attention was not called to these particular words. If I had seen them I should have struck them out or substituted some others.


There will be a few other questions on this subject later on.


My right hon. Friend has received the statement referred to. My right hon. Friend knows nothing about the individual gamekeepers. The facts generally are as stated in the hon. Gentleman's question. One of the gamekeepers did state that he fired with a revolver at the assailants, but another gamekeeper also stated that he fired two gun shots on the occasion. No arrests have been made with regard to the occurrence, and no special police protection was afforded on account of it. The police reports are confidential, and cannot be produced. The district is peaceable, and there is no implication that the residents have been in any way involved in the transaction. An inquiry is not considered necessary.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, in view of the seriousness of this case and in view of what has taken place before in the same locality, he will, in order to satisfy public opinion, order an inquiry which is very much demanded?


I can assure my hon. Friend that the matter has been most carefully considered by the police, who believe they are in possession of all the facts which it is possible to obtain bearing upon the matter.


What is the name of the gamekeeper who admits firing two gun shots?


I understand that the statement was made by a gamekeeper named McCrae.


Was McCrae a gamekeeper with Lord Ashtown?


That I cannot say.


Can he say where Lord Ashtown has Minnie Walsh?