§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant the following question, of which I have given him private notice: Whether he is in a position to give the House full information as to the shocking occurrences in Dublin yesterday, and whether he can give the names of the officials responsible for the proceedings which led to the collisions which took place between the people and the military and the police; by whose orders the military fired on the people; whether the Riot Act was read, and whether any magistrate was present?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The Assistant Commissioner of the Dublin Metropolitan Police telephoned to the Under-Secretary's Lodge about 2 p.m. on Sunday that arms were being landed from a yacht at Howth, and that he had already communicated with the constabulary and coastguards. The Under-Secretary arranged with the Assistant Commissioner to meet him at the castle, which the former reached about 2.45. He then sent for the Assistant Commissioner and the District Inspector-General of the Royal Irish Constabulary, the latter of whom came at once, and told the Under-Secretary that a large body of men had left Howth carrying the arms which had been landed. The Assistant Commissioner did not appear at the Castle at all, having gone to consult the military. The Superintendent of the Dublin Metropolitan Police came from the office to say that the Assistant Commissioner was sorry to say he was unable to stay and see the Under-Secretary. The Under-Secretary endeavoured to find where the Assistant Commissioner was, and in the meantime prepared the following Minute, which he sent to the office of the Dublin Metropolitan Police:—Chief Secretary's Office. Dublin Castle.Assistant Commissioner.As regards the steps which you have taken on Your own responsibility to deal with the arms landed at Howth this morning. His Excellency is advised that forcible disarmament of the men now marching into Dublin with these arms should not in all the circumstances be attempted, but the names of the men carrying arms should, as far as possible, be taken and watch should be kept to ascertain the destination of the arms illegally imported. His Excellency cannot authorise any further steps in this matter at present.
§ (Signed) J. B. D.
§ The military were requisitioned by the Assistant Commissioner entirely on his own responsibility, and for the purpose of preventing the National Volunteers marching into the city, which he was satisfied could not be prevented unless the police were supported by an armed force of some kind. The Assistant Commissioner has been suspended pending an inquiry.
§ Mr. BIRRELL
About 1 p.m. on Sunday a yacht landed arms at Howth, which were received by a large number of men, exceeding 1,000, who set off to march into Dublin through Clontarf. At Clontarf they were met by a body of the Dublin Metropolitan Police, and 160 men of the King's Own Scottish Borderers. The police tried to disarm the men in front, which was done with a struggle. The casualties appear to have been three Volunteers and two soldiers, one of whom was shot through the knee, and another through the ankle, and one policeman. The soldiers did not fire.
The soldiers then returned to their barracks, and an attack was made on them with missiles by an angry crowd, principally in Bachelors Walk, between O'Connell Bridge and the Metal Bridge. Major Haig, King's Own Scottish Borderers, took over command in Talbot Street, and was himself struck five times with missiles. Major Haig, in front of column, expostulated with mob, who were impeding soldiers; as he was speaking, several soldiers in rear of column, becoming exasperated, fired without orders. Thirty-one rounds in all were fired almost simultaneously. Officers succeeded in stopping the firing immediately, but casualties, amounting to three killed and thirty-two injured, had already occurred. A considerable number of the soldiers had by this time received severe injuries.
A full inquiry into the conduct of the military will be held at once.
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
As this is a matter which cannot be dealt with by question and answer across the floor of the House, I beg to ask the leave of the House to move the Adjournment.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
Perhaps the hon. Member would postpone that for a moment as there are some other questions?