§ 5. Mr. SWIFT McNEILL
asked the Chief Secretary whether, having regard to the fact that military operations cannot be carried on unless sanctioned by the authority of the civil power, any power was vested in Mr. Harrel, as a police official, to constitute himself as the representative of the civil power in requiring military forces of the Crown to proceed to Clontarf, on the 26th July, to intercept the Irish Volunteers in the convoy of arms to Dublin; if Mr. Harrel was invested with such power, under what statutory or common law provision was power conferred upon him; in what other Irish officials is the power vested in their own discretion of requisitioning the services of the military, which appertains in England to the chief civil authority alone; and whether, having regard to recent circumstances, steps will be taken that the power of the requisitioning of troops in anticipation of civil commotion will be vested not in subordinate officials but in the recognised civil authority?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
I should have no difficulty in answering this question, but as there is to be an inquiry into all the circumstances, I must decline to do so.