HC Deb 05 June 1913 vol 53 cc1018-22
6. Captain CRAIG

asked whether the right hon. Gentleman is aware that, in connection with the shooting of Mr. Richard Maunsell on 15th April in the county Clare, this outrage was the result of the eviction of a herd on the farm held by Mr. A. C. Bannatyne, of Croome, county Limerick; whether this farm has been in the possession of the Bannatyne family for about sixty years; whether a demand has now been made that this farm should be given up by the owner in order that it may be divided up amongst local people; and whether it is the intention of the Estates Commissioners to compel the owner to yield to this demand?


The statement in the question as to the reason for the outrage referred to may very probably be correct, but the motive on which a criminal acts must generally be a matter of opinion. I understand that the farm in question has been held by the Bannatyne family for over sixty years. A resolution has been passed by the local Labourers' and Farmers' Association in favour of the distribution of the land amongst the local farmers. No proceedings are being taken by the Estates Commissioners with regard to the farm.

7. Captain CRAIG

asked whether he has been informed of a riot which took place on the evening of the 16th of May between the police and a large mob of cattle drivers on a farm near Clonbullogue, King's County; whether, in spite of the efforts of a, force of eighteen constables, the cattle were violently driven off the lands one animal being killed and others badly ill-treated; whether some of the police and also some of the rioters were severely injured in the fight; and what steps have been taken for the protection of the cattle and the owner of the farm in question?


On the occasion referred to a large crowd of people engaged in a cattle drive on the farm mentioned. The police warned the ringleaders to desist, but they were unable to prevent the cattle being driven away. One beast was kiled on the spot and another found dead in a ditch some miles away. None of the police were seriously injured. Sixteen persons have been arrested and returned for trial on a charge of riot and unlawful assembly. A force of police is employed protecting the farm with a view to preventing any further driving of cattle.


I suppose the efforts of the Government to bring the perpetrators of this outrage to justice will be as fruitless as they have hitherto been?


Is it not a fact that the riot in this case was due to the action of the head constable, and I wish to know whether he has been reprimanded or removed?


No, Sir, I have had no complaints.


Are not these 700 acres of land the property of Lord Ashtown from which he recently evicted Captain French, one of his own relatives; and is it not a fact that the descendants of these evicted tenants have made applications for this farm?


The hon. Member must give notice.

8. Captain CRAIG

asked whether the right hon. Gentleman is aware that on the morning of the 18th May a cattle drive took place near Geashill, King's County, when seventeen cattle, belonging to a Mr. Abraham, were driven off; and whether any arrests have been made in this case?


The police authorities inform me that about three o'clock a.m. on the 18th May nineteen head of cattle were driven off the farm referred to. None of the cattle were injured. The police are pursuing their inquiries, but so, far no arrests have been made.

9. Captain CRAIG

asked whether the right hon. Gentleman has been informed that, on the night of 5th May last, about six inches of the bone of the tails of two, bullocks, the property of Father W. Healy, P.P., of Templeboy, Easkey, county Sligo, was maliciously cut off; whether this outrage is believed to have been the result of the interference of Father Healy in the division of the Ballygreighan estate; and whether any arrests have been made or anyone made amenable?


I regret to say that the facts are as stated. The motive for the outrage is a matter of opinion. So far, the police have not obtained sufficient evidence to justify any arrests.


Are we to assume that the promise of the Government to give Home Rule to Ireland has not had the slightest effect in making—


The hon. Member can assume what he likes.


Are these the sort of outrages we are to expect after Home Rule?


Those are matters upon which the hon. Member can form his own judgment.

18. Captain CRAIG

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he has been informed of the particulars of a shooting outrage which took place on the 29th instant near Ballinasloe, county Galway; whether shots were fired into the house of Patrick Greene when the owner was sitting inside; whether any injury was done; and whether any arrests have been made?


On the night of the 29th May a shot was fired into the house of Patrick Green, who was sitting in the room at the time. Four panes of glass were broken by the shot, but no other injury was done. No arrests have, so far, been made.


Has the right hon. Gentleman any information to show that these shots were fired with the Italian rifles that were lately imported?


No, Sir, I do not know.

19. Mr. WHELER

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether his attention has been called to the attack recently made on a motor-car decorated with Union Jack flags, returning from Mount Stewart to Leeson Street, Belfast, and conveying a crippled child; whether the flags on the car were dragged from it and torn to pieces by the gang of men who stopped the car; and what action he proposes to take to punish the perpetrators of this outrage?

20. Captain CRAIG

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he is aware of the incident on Saturday evening, 31st May, near the Falls Road end of Leeson Street, Belfast, the Nationalist quarter, when, on the appearance of a motor-car conveying crippled children to their homes after the annual outing given to the children at Mount Stewart, the car having been placed at the disposal of the committee in charge of the arrangements by a local resident, and, like all the other cars used, being decorated with two little Union Jacks, one on each side of the driver, and a small flag bearing the words "Crippled Outing," and being occupied by four crippled children, a well-known entertainer, and the chauffeur when it left Mount Stewart, county; whether, when three of the children had been left safely at home in Albert Street and the car was proceeding to Leeson Street with the remaining crippled child, it was set upon as it was passing through that thoroughfare to the Falls Road end, where the cripple lived, by a crowd of Nationalist roughs, who ran from a side street and, before the driver could get up speed, surrounded the car, pulled down the Union Jacks, broke the flag sticks, destroyed the flags, and attempted to attack the occupants of the car; whether the entertainer, who was protecting the child, was subjected to several blows; and whether the matter was reported to the police, and whether any arrests have been effected?


The police authorities inform me as follows: About 7.30 p.m. on 31st May a motor-car conveying crippled children from Mount Stewart passed up Lesson Street, Belfast, from the direction of the Grosvenor Road. Two of the three crippled children were put down at their homes. The third was conveyed to Abyssinia Street where the motor-car stopped. A number of persons surrounded the car and pulled down some small Union Jacks which were in it. The person in charge of the children was struck several times but was not injured. The report made to me by the police does not bear out the statement that an attempt was made to assault the crippled child who was in the car. The occurrence was reported to the police by this gentleman on the evening of the 2nd instant. He is unable to identify any of the persons concerned, and the police did not witness the occurrence being unaware that the motor was coming to Abyssinia Street, as it did not leave from that street in the morning. The police are making careful inquiries but so far they have not been able to obtain any information with regard to the offenders which would justify an arrest.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he can tell us why when the Nationalists in Ireland desire to insult the' National flag they always seize an opportunity when there is no one but children and cripples about?