HC Deb 13 October 1915 vol 74 cc1283-4

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland how many banishment orders have been issued in Ireland under the Defence of the Realm Acts, and how many are now in force?


Twenty-one persons have been served with orders under Article 14 of the Defence of the Realm Regulations prohibiting them from residing in or entering Ireland or certain specified areas therein. In six cases the orders are no longer in force, and in two others the persons have been notified that the orders are conditionally suspended.


asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland for what reason Messrs. Pim, MacCullagh, Blythe, and Mellows were brought before a resident magistrate to be sentenced to imprisonment by direction of the military authorities, instead of being dealt with by those authorities themselves; if any offence was committed or apprehended, will he say what it was in each case; why it was with held from the Court; why the Crown witness in each case expressly declined to answer defendant's counsel as to any offence, or evidence of offence, or reason for punishment; under what part of any Statute the magistrate, without trial, passed sentence of imprisonment for some- thing not stated and of which no evidence was given; where is the statutory authority for imposing an additional month's imprisonment on Mr. MacCullagh for not keeping an undertaking which he never gave and which was illegally required; and, seeing that the procedure in these cases suggests no limit of application and may therefore amount to permanent imprisonment for an indefinite number without offence, charge, or trial, can he say how many of their political opponents the Government intend to proceed against in this manner?


The cases of the persons referred to in the question were dealt with by a Court of Summary Jurisdiction after it had been determined by the competent military authority, under Article 56 (3) of the Defence of the Realm Regulations, that they were of such a character that they could be adequately dealt with by such a Court. The offence with which the prisoners were charged was that they failed to comply with an order made against them by the competent military authority in pursuance of powers vested in him by Article 14 of the Regulations. The nature of the charge was clearly stated, and the fourth and fifth parts of the question, accordingly, do not arise. The answer to the sixth part will be found in Section 1 (5) of the Defence of the Realm Consolidation Act, 1914, which provides for a maximum term of six months imprisonment in the case of offences tried by a Summary Court. With regard to the last part, I must refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on the 26th July last.


I should like to know whether the competent military authority in Ireland or the right hon. Gentleman himself believes that these four gentlemen are more dangerous to the realm than Lord Northcliffe?


I am rather satisfied with a less degree of danger.


Why not proceed against him then?