HC Deb 07 March 1912 vol 35 cc519-20

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland if his attention has been called to the statements of the Lord Chief Justice at the opening of the Spring Assizes at Ennis on Saturday; that the calendar contained one case of murder and three deliberate attempts to murder; that there were nine cases of threatening notices in which no one had been made amenable; and that this indicated that in some parts of county Clare people were so utterly demoralised that they would not come forward to assist the authorities; if it has been found necessary to postpone the trial of a prisoner charged with murder because of the feeling of terror which prevails in the county amongst witnesses and jurors; and if he will state how he proposes to deal with this state of affairs?


asked the right hon. Gentleman whether his attention has been called to the address of the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland to the Grand Jury at Ennis Assizes on Saturday, 2nd March, in regard to the reign of terror now existing in county Clare; and what steps, if any, he proposes taking to cope with the situation in that part of Ireland?


I have seen a newspaper report of the address of the Lord Chief Justice. The case referred to has been postponed for the reasons stated. There is a large extra force of police in the county who are doing all they can to prevent intimidation, but the difficulty is to obtain evidence, and I am not aware of any measure which would meet that difficulty.


Might I ask the right hon. Gentleman, arising out of his answer, whether he is not aware that these lamentable outrages have been condemned by the people generally and by every public body in the county of Clare, by the bishop, and also by the Parliamentary representatives for the district; and whether it is not true that outside a limited area in which these occurences took place the county of Clare is quite as free from crime as any county in the United Kingdom?


It is no doubt the fact that these lamentable and detestable outrages, which I am glad to say have met with great condemnation in all parts of the county, are confined to particular black spots in the county.


Might I ask the right hon. Gentleman if it is the case that county Clare requires forty-six policeman to every 10,000 of inhabitants, whereas only ten policemen are required for every 10,000 inhabitants in Antrim and Down?


That fact only proves the truth of what I have said, or at all events it is not inconsistent with the truth of what I have said, that these lamentable outrages are confined to small localities in the county.


Might I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it was in this county Head Constable Whelahan was stationed for many years, and whether it was in this county Whelahan employed Cullinan at 10s. per week for the purpose of getting up outrages, and that under a Tory regime?