HC Deb 24 May 1916 vol 82 cc2077-81
19. Mr. BYRNE

asked why Councillor Patrick Mahon, national director of the Harbour Division of Dublin, was arrested, and why he is being detained; if there is any charge against him, and when he will be allowed to take his trial or release; and if he is aware that Patrick Mahon is a prominent and respected member of the official Nationalist organisation, and is now in custody without trial for the past seventeen days?


I have received information that the trial of Patrick Mahon opened on Monday last, and that his solicitor was furnished with particulars of the charge against him. I have not heard whether the court-martial has been concluded nor what has been the result.


Is this charge in connection with the rising, and, if so, will there be a court-martial?


Yes, Sir, I imagine that is so. The trial is by court-martial, as I have stated.


If it is not in connection with the rising, will it be a civil trial?


As I understand the matter, it is in connection with the rising, and so I do not think that question arises.

21. Mr. W. O'BRIEN

asked whether Thomas O'Driscoll, of Round Hill, Bandon, was arrested on 8th May, not being charged with any offence or found in possession of any firearms or ammunition; whether he has since been deported to Dublin or to England, and, if so, why he is detained and when and where he will be brought to trial; and whether, having regard to the fact that he took no part whatever in any disturbance of the public peace and is the sole support of his father, who is over seventy years of age, immediate inquiry will be made into his case?


This question only appeared on the Paper yesterday morning, and it has been impossible to obtain the information to answer it. I would appeal to hon. Members from Ireland to allow a somewhat longer interval; it is quite impossible to obtain information if only the ordinary interval is allowed.


I quite agree, but I hope the right hon. Gentleman will remember that in certain cases I have asked questions fully a fortnight ago, and I have received no answer yet.


I quite appreciate that fact, and I am endeavouring to rectify it.


asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he is aware of the fact that fifteen natives of Cliffoney, county Sligo, were arrested and taken from their homes by the military without warrant and have now been lodged in a detention prison at Wandsworth; whether any, and, if so, what charge has been made against them; whether they are to be put on trial forthwith or else liberated; whether he is aware that these men bear the character of being all of them respectable and law-abiding citizens, and that it is well known to the police and military that they were in no way connected with the recent disturbances in Dublin or anywhere else; and, seeing that such action as the imprisonment and deportation of those men is calculated to exasperate the feelings of the people in the district and bring the law and the Government into contempt, will he say what action he proposes to take?


This question appeared on the Paper yesterday morning only. I would ask my hon. Friend to allow more time.


Who is responsible for the detention of men arrested in Ireland and deported to prisons either in this country or Scotland against whom no charge has been preferred? Is it Sir John Maxwell or the Prime Minister?


Under the Constitution of this country all officials are under the jurisdiction of the Prime Minister. The hon. Gentleman will see that the Government of Ireland must be subject to the supreme control of this country.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that these men are not such desperate rebels as he imagines? Some seventy of them were recently drilling on my ground, and when requested by my gamekeeper, who was alone, moved peacefully away.


What steps are being taken by the Government to investigate the circumstances of men like those referred to in the question, who have committed no offence, and who are brought to prisons in this country without any charge being preferred against them? Who is going to investigate them? Is it Sir John Maxwell or the Government?


The hon. Gentleman must give notice of that series of questions.

35. Mr. T. M. HEALY

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War on what ground Miss Kathleen Brown was arrested in Wexford on 4th May, and since detained in four different prisons; whether, with eleven other women, she was served on 20th May in Mountjoy Gaol with a deportation order to be interned in England without any trial or any charge being made against her; will some responsible person be asked to examine into her case; and, if the Government are satisfied that she has been guilty of no offence whatever, can she be allowed to return to her home? As this young lady had been guilty of the crime of performing at the Abbey Theatre, of which Mr. Birrell was so fond, perhaps the Government will be able to see their way to release her?


I can certainly assure my hon. Friend that if this lady is guilty of no offence whatever she will be released without delay, under instructions already given.

76. Mr. NOLAN

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he can give the number of men arrested under martial law in South Louth subject to the recent disturbances in Ireland; how many of them have been already released; and whether he will cause an immediate investigation into the cases of those who are still under detention, and who state they can prove that they were at home attending to their business from the date of the outbreak till the time of their arrest?


I am not in possession of the information to answer the first two parts of the question. As regards the last part, all cases will be investigated with all dispatch.

Since this answer was drafted I have received some correspondence from my hon. Friend bearing on this matter. I am much obliged to him for this, but I have not yet had time to study it.

77. Mr. LUNDON

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the fact that the majority of the prisoners deported from Ireland took no part whatever in the actual rebellion and have not so far had any charge preferred against them, they will be allowed the use of cigarettes and tobacco if sent to them by their friends?


I am afraid that I do not see my way to accept the view stated in the first part of the question. As regards the latter part, I will have the matter considered.

The following question stood on the Paper in the name of Mr. FLAVIN:—

80. To ask the Under-Secretary of State for War on what grounds James M'Elligott, clerk in the Local Government Board, Dublin, has been arrested and deported to England; whether this young man has an unimpeachable character; whether James M'Elligott's mother's health is in a precarious condition as a result of her son's arrest and deportation, and that she cannot get any information about her son; and whether his release will be ordered at once?


I have been asked to postpone this question, but may I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he is aware that the members of the family of this boy came from Ireland lately to see him, but were denied the right of seeing their own son? The boy is now in gaol for thirty-one days and has had no trial.


I will, of course, see that the relatives are allowed to visit their son if my hon. Friend will give me the names.