HC Deb 21 August 1916 vol 85 cc2254-5
59. Mr. KING

asked the Prime Minister whether he is now in a position to state the exact reference to the Commission to sit in Dublin to inquire into the murders of Messrs. Sheehy Skeffington, M'Intyre, and Dickson; who the Commissioners are; whether the inquiry will be public; whether the newspapers will be allowed to publish freely the evidence given; whether the Commission will be able to allow the expenses of solicitors, counsel, and witnesses on behalf of the families of the three murdered men, especially in view of the fact that they are none of them persons of means; and when the Commission will open its sittings?

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Asquith)

The terms of reference and the names of the Commissioners have already been announced; the Commission will open its sittings on Wednesday next in the Four Courts, Dublin. The mode of conducting the inquiry is for the Commissioners to determine, but I have no doubt that they will desire their sittings to be public, unless the national interest requires any portion of the hearing to be private. The expenses of witnesses summoned by the Commission will be paid on the prescribed scale and arrangements are being made for the presentation of their testimony by the civil authorities. Any other matters referred to in this question are under consideration.


With regard to the exact terms of reference, is the Prime Minister aware that it has been impossible for the solicitors representing the deceased persons' relatives to get the exact terms, and, in consequence, that they are in a difficulty to know how to prepare their cases, because they do not know, for instance, whether the question of property seized after the murders will be allowed?


Obviously, I cannot give an answer, but I am quite sure that the Commissioners will take everything into account in seeing that justice is done.


Will no limitation whatever be put upon free publicity in the Press?


I have answered that already.