§ 75. Captain DONELAN
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will state what instructions have been issued to officers of the Customs and Excise in Ireland as to searches for arms and ammunition in packages consigned by 933 train from one part of Ireland to another; will he lay a copy of all the instructions issued under the Arms Proclamation upon the Table; is he aware that two Customs officers, accompanied by five policemen, on Thursday last entered the station of the Dublin and South-Eastern Railway at Arklow, and there searched a package consigned from Dublin to a grocer in Arklow, but found no arms or ammunition; can he say whether since the issue of the Arms Proclamation any similar search at a railway station in the four North-Eastern counties of Ireland has taken place as regards any consignment of goods from another part of Ireland; and why special activity is shown outside these counties?
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The answer to the first part of the question is that no such instructions as those referred to have been issued to officers of Customs and Excise in Ireland. I have no information as to the incident at Arklow, but I am making inquiries. I am assured that it is not the case that the officers of Customs and Excise show greater activity outside the North-Eastern counties than inside them. If my hon. Friend supplies me with information to show that the assurance I have received is not justified by the facts, I shall cause the strictest investigation to be made. The Government realise that if any distinction be drawn in the administration of law according to the political opinion of those who offend against its provisions, all confidence in the administration of law in this country would disappear.
§ Mr. GINNELL
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman on whose instructions Customs officials inspect packets going to Ireland at Holyhead and again at North Wall, and charge 4s. for each inspection?
§ Captain DONELAN
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman who gave the assurance to which he refers in his answer?
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I have received that assurance from the head of the Department in this country. They have made inquiry, but if my hon. Friend will let me know of any particular case where there has been a departure from the principle I have laid down, I will be pleased to look into it.