HC Deb 13 October 1915 vol 74 cc1279-80

asked the Under-Secretary for War when and in what service John O'Donnell, of Larkfield, Manorhamilton, received his captaincy; how much public money has been paid and entrusted to him for his own use and for other recruiting purposes since the War began; whether it is with the sanction of the War Office he attends fairs and markets, threatening the physical destruction of the Nationalist society to which the young men belong, and abusing, cursing, striking, and hurling obscene language at the young men; whether he is aware that a young fellow named Kerigan, who retorted when so provoked, has been fined £1 under the Defence of the Realm Act; whether the magistrates ascertained the amount of liquor O'Donnell had taken on the day of that altercation; if these are not the usual methods of recruiting whether the results justify them; and, if the War Office disapproves of them, whether O'Donnell's services will be continued in county Leitrim or on the field of battle?

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Mr. Tennant)

The commission of Mr. John O'Donel dates from the 24th June, 1915, and is that of a second-lieutenant and not of a captain. In reply to the second part of the question, I cannot say how much public money has been entrusted to Second-Lieutenant O'Donel, but I feel confident that it was no more than was adequate for the performance of the recruiting duties assigned to him. In reply to the third part of the question, I understand that Second-Lieutenant O'Donel attends some fairs and markets for recruiting purposes, but no complaints of behaviour such as that described in the question have been received. James Kerrigan was prosecuted and fined £1 under the Defence of the Realm Regulation Act for obstructing Second-Lieutenant O'Donel in the discharge of his duty as a recruiting officer. As regards the fifth part of the question, I have ascertained that the magistrates asked no question, as is suggested, regarding the amount of liquor Second-Lieutenant O'Donel had taken on the date in question, and I have independent testimony that Second-Lieu-tenant O'Donel was quite sober on the occasion. As regards the last two portions of the question, I am assured that Second-Lieutenant O'Donel has a friendly manner with the people generally in the district, and that he has been most successful as a recruiting officer. It is not proposed to discontinue the use of his services.


On whose evidence was Kerrigan convicted? Was it that of O'Donel?


I think I ought to have notice of that question.