HC Deb 11 January 1916 vol 77 cc1426-7

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War when the competent military authority in Ireland decided to treat the singing of "God Save Ireland" as a crime, for which three respectable young men from Carrickmacross are now in prison; and, seeing that this tune is played by recruiting bands, will he state the rules for determining when it is legal and when illegal?


I can pronounce no> opinion as to whether the three young men in question from Carrickmacross, who are now in prison, can or cannot be properly described as respectable. I am informed that what took place was that they were summoned under the ordinary Jaw to show cause why they should not be bound to keep the peace and be of good behaviour owing to the leading part they took in an anti-recruiting demonstration at Carrickmacross on the 8th November. It appears that the disorderly crowd, of which the three respectable young men formed part, paraded through the town of Carrickmacross and sung, booed, and yelled in front of the houses of a solicitor and two other gentlemen who had been present at a recruiting committee meeting. As the three respectable young men could not give sureties that they would keep the peace and be of good behaviour for twelve months, they were committed to prison for two months without hard labour. I think the answer to the part of the question would be that when "God Save Ireland" is sung in that way and under the circumstances that the three respectable young men of Carrickmacross sung it, there is a possibility that the singers might render themselves liable to the attentions of the law.


On what authority does the right hon. Gentleman say that these young men were unable to obtain sureties for their good behaviour, seeing that they went to prison expressly in protest against the imputation on their good behaviour and seeing that the local council unanimously adopted a protest?


The answer is that it was not because they failed to obtain sureties, but because they failed to give sureties that they were put in gaol, and very properly.