83. Major GUINNESS
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether Mr. Mathers, owing to the compulsory purchase by the Congested Districts Board of his other grazing land in Connaught, was compelled recently to bring his cattle to his grazing tract near Shannon Bridge, and that these cattle were driven off the lands by the local people, assisted by a lot of young men of military age from King's County; what number of troops and police have been sent into the Ballinasloe district to keep order, and whether any and, if so, what provisions will be contained in the new Bill for the Government of Ireland to avoid the necessity for this policy of coercion in Ireland?
The Congested Districts Board have no knowledge that their purchase operations affected in any way Mr. Mathers' management of his grass lands in county Roscommon, and they have not purchased any lands from him. Of those 1024 who participated in the recent cattle-drive of 4th July, one has been identified as being from King's County. There are at present encamped on the lands three officers and 127 men of the Royal Irish Constabulary and a battalion of soldiers. As regards the concluding portion of the question, I must ask the hon. and gallant Member to await the introduction of the Bill.
Arising out of the first part of the right hon. Gentleman's answer, is it not a fact that Mr. Mathers was renting a large amount of the Pollock estate, which has been acquired compulsorily, and that that displaced his cattle?
§ Mr. REDDY
Before the right hon. Gentleman answers that question, may I ask if he is aware that Mr. Mathers rented 1,500 acres from Pollock and that Pollock made him surrender the tenancy owing to the non-fulfilment of certain conditions in the agreement with regard to repairs; whether the disturbances that have arisen there are not what is commonly called cattle-driving, but arise from a hay famine in a district of Roscommon where for a hundred years there was always a hay crop available?