HC Deb 25 November 1914 vol 68 cc1120-1
34. Mr. HUNT

asked the Solicitor-General whether his attention has been called to a letter in the "Mayo News," in Ireland, by Mr. John M'Bride, urging Irishmen to prevent any recruits joining the British Army, and asserting that the British Empire was a blood-sucking vampire, and that the Nationalist representatives in Parliament wanted to send Irishmen to France and Belgium and leave their bones in foreign countries, so that there would be none left in Ireland to defend their country, and that dying Catholic soldiers in France had no chance of receiving the Sacraments; and can he say whether this sort of letter is to be allowed by the Censor to be published in future?


Until I saw a copy of the paper, through the courtesy of the Member for the Ludlow Division, my attention had not been called to it. I should certainly not allow publication of any such letter as that referred to.


Is the hon. and learned Gentleman going to do anything to prevent such matters being published in the future, and, if not, will he tell us is there anybody who can stop them?


I desire to ask the Chief Secretary for Ireland a question of which I have given him private notice, namely, whether he has had his attention called to the publication of statements injurious to recruiting in certain Irish newspapers, and what steps he proposes to take in order to render a repetition of these treasonable practices impossible?


The Government are well aware of the seditious contents of the publication which the right hon. Gentleman has in his mind. These publications appear to have an unusually large free circulation, particularly in England. We are at this moment considering what immediate steps should be taken to secure the suppression of documents and statements of this character. Although I do not myself regard them as a danger I am sure they are an insult to the sentiment of the vast majority of the Irish people.


When was this matter first brought to the notice of the right hon. Gentleman officially, and what steps did he take?


I have been reading these papers for the last six weeks.