HC Deb 12 February 1914 vol 58 cc309-10
6. Captain CRAIG

asked whether any precedent exists for the issue of the King's Proclamation calling on the Customs officials in Ireland, under certain provisions of the Customs Consolidation Act, to prevent the importation of arms into that country; what sections of the Act give the Executive authority the right to interfere with the ordinary trade in firearms and ammunition between England and Ireland in times of peace; what arms and ammunition have been seized under this Proclamation up to date; and at what ports were the seizures made; whether the Proclamation is enforced at ports in the South and West of Ireland; and why it was not resorted to before to check the supply of firearms into these counties in the South and West of Ireland, in which outrages by the use of such weapons have been committed contniually with impunity for many years past?

THE CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Lloyd George)

The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. The statutory authorities for the action taken are Sections 43 and 139 of the Customs Consolidation Act, 1876, and Section 8 of the Customs and Inland Revenue Act, 1879. With regard to the third part of the question, it would not be in the public interest to give the particulars asked for. The reply to the fourth part is in the affirmative. As regards the last part, I am unable to accept the statement on which the hon. Member bases his question, and I would point out that the present Proclamation, when issued, was put into force over the whole of Ireland at the same time.

Captain CRAIG

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether any arms have been seized in the South and West?


I am not aware. Perhaps the hon. Member will put a question down. I do not think there were.


Was this Proclamation made on the advice of the Irish Law Officers?

Captain CRAIG

Will the right hon. Gentleman give facilities to those who are contesting the action of the Government in issuing this Proclamation, instead of holding back as they are at the present moment?


I am not quite sure as to what the hon. and gallant Gentleman is referring. I should have thought that if there was anything illegal it could be taken into the Courts.

Captain CRAIG

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that action has been taken for some time past, and that owing to the procrastination of the Government the case has not been gone on with? They are putting all the difficulties they can in the way. Will they facilitate the trial?


I am not aware that the Government have taken any action for delaying the trial in the Courts.

11. Mr. CASSEL

asked whether the Irish Law Officers were consulted as to the legality of the Proclamations relating to the importation of arms and ammunition into Ireland before they were issued?


Yes, Sir.