HC Deb 18 May 1916 vol 82 cc1627-8
46. Mr. O'BRIEN

had the following question on the Order Paper: To ask the Prime Minister whether he is aware that the assistant bishop of Cork-has confirmed in all essential points the particulars as to the agreement come to between the General Commanding Officer, the bishop, the Lord Mayor, and the leaders of the Irish Volunteers in Cork, on the strength of which the latter surrendered their arms to the Lord Mayor, the agreement come to by the military representative expressly stating that the military had no idea of confiscation and that, so far as the military were concerned, the arms would be returned when the crisis was over, and that if these terms were accepted there should be a general amnesty except in the case of persons found in treasonable correspondence with the enemy; whether he is aware that the bishop complains that, notwithstanding the guarantee of amnesty and of leaving the arms in the possession of the Lord Mayor, both these undertakings were broken, not, as he believes, through any fault of the Commanding Officer with whom the negotiations were conducted; whether the Government will now adopt the policy laid down by the Commanding Officer, himself an Ulster Protestant, that while in- sisting upon securing that there shall be no military danger in the city he wanted no irritating or humiliating conditions; and whether the Government is aware of the bishop's further statement that he had no doubt that in these matters, too, if North and South of Ireland representatives met together, they would settle their differences in a reasonable and satisfactory manner?


I think this question is postponed, but perhaps the right hon. Gentleman can, as I understand he can, say something now?


I cannot give a full and clear answer, but I have received a telegram stating that careful inquiry is being made into the terms of the agreement stated to have been made by the Officer Commanding at Cork when arms were surrendered, and I hope to be able to give the hon. Member the result of the inquiry soon.