HC Deb 17 July 1916 vol 84 cc658-9
36. Major W. GUINNESS

asked the Home Secretary whether he has now made inquiries as to Patrick J. Kelly, taken prisoner when defending Jacobs' factory against British troops; Patrick Sheehan, taken prisoner righting in the rebellion in Sinn Fein uniform; R. Rooney, arrested as a well-known Sinn Fein organiser; whether on being released they were rein-stated as clerks in the Land Commission Department in Dublin, their return being the occasion of a demonstrative welcome from their fellow clerks; and what action he proposes to take in view of the under-taking of the Government not to employ men implicated in the Sinn Fein movement?


Sheehan was not taken prisoner fighting in the rebellion in Sinn Fein uniform, but was arrested by the military in his own house, on the 3rd of May. So far as the police are aware Rooney was not connected with the Sinn Fein movement. He was arrested in his office by the military on the 4th of May. Kelly was in Jacobs' factory, and was arrested there, He states that he went to Jacobs' factory on the second day of the rebellion through curiosity to see what was going on, and that he was seen there by an armed volunteer at the gate, who produced a revolver and ordered him inside, and that he was kept there until the surrender of the factory. These men were all released by the military, and were then reinstated by the heads of their Department—the Irish Land Commissioners—who inform me that no demonstration of the nature referred to took place in the office. I am suggesting to the Land Commissioners that the cases of these three men should be included with those of other Civil servants suspected of complicity in the rebellion which will come under review at an early date. I would add that out of 378 men of recruitable age, on the staff of the Irish Land Commission, 135 joined His Majesty's Forces in one or other of its branches, while, in addition, many others presented themselves but were medically rejected, and others willing to go could not be spared.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that even if Mr. Sheehan was not arrested in uniform he was often seen in Sinn Fein uniform?


What is Sinn Fein uniform?


Is the right hon. Gentleman further aware that incriminating documents were found at the house?


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there is no such thing in existence as Sinn Fein uniform?


Is it in order for an hon. Member to address a question to another hon. Member?


It is not in order, but I have known it done.


Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that he himself answered a question about the uniform and described the distinguishing marks?


I will make inquiry as to the matters mentioned by the hon. Member.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that Members on this side of the House are making use of the Sinn Fein rebellion in order to drive Catholics out of every Government Office in Dublin?