HC Deb 26 July 1915 vol 73 cc1954-5

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether, in view of the interference of General Frend with the civil right of citizens in Ireland to attend political meetings, he will say by whom and under what Statute he is instructed to take this political, as distinguished from military, action?


The hon Member has already been informed that the recent action of the Competent Military Authority in Ireland was taken on the initiative of that authority in pursuance of powers vested in him under the Defence of the Realm Acts, and was dictated by military considerations.


further asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland if the administration of the Defence of the Realm Act in Ireland against political opponents is in the hands of the military authorities, will he say under what Act and by whose direction the Under-Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant telephoned to the Dublin newspapers on the 30th March last, and wrote to them on the 8th April, forbidding them to report the proceedings at any stage in two political cases then pending, on the ground that it was against the public interest that details of the evidence or of the speeches of counsel should be published; and whether this prohibition is still in force in respect of all cases of expulsion from Ireland for political opinions whether with or without accusation or trial?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative and to the second that the communications therein referred to were not a prohibition but a request requiring no statutory or other authority. No prohibition is at present in force dealing specifically with the publication of reports of proceedings under the Defence of the Realm Acts, but the circulation of statements likely to cause disaffection to His Majesty or to interfere with the success of His Majesty's Forces, or to prejudice the recruiting, training, discipline, or administration of those Forces is forbidden by Article 27 of the Regulations.


Does it follow from that answer that the Under-Secretary at Dublin Castle can issue restrictive orders to-day without statutory authority?


They issue no restrictive orders of any kind or description.