HC Deb 24 May 1916 vol 82 cc2089-90
17. Mr. DORIS

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that Patrick M'Cann, of Manulla, county Mayo, a migratory labourer, who came to England on 29th January, 1916, was arrested at Birkenhead on 2nd May instant, and charged at Birkenhead Borough Police Court with having failed to register on 15th August, 1915, when he was at home in Ireland, and with being an absentee from His Majesty's Army on 1st March, 1916; and that the accused was convicted and fined on both charges and handed over to the military authorities, who have placed him in the Reserve Battalion, 3rd Monmouth Regiment, although evidence that he was at home in Ireland from Christmas, 1914, to 29th January, 1916, was not disputed, and his English employer, a milk purveyor, deposed that the employment was only temporary; and will steps be taken to have the fines remitted and to have this Irish migratory labourer, who has not been ordinarily resident in Great Britain, discharged from military service?


I am sending the hon. Member a letter about this case, and, as there is a long list of questions to-day addressed to me, I will ask him to be good enough to accept a reply by letter.


Will the right hon. Gentleman take steps to make it clear with regard to Irish migratory labourers under what conditions they can safely come to this country?


I quite agree that it is a very important question. I understand that in the case mentioned in the question the man has been resident in Birkenhead for three or four years.


Is it not a fact that he was in Ireland from Christmas, 1914, to a month before his arrest?


I am afraid that I cannot answer off-hand that question. Probably the material which the hon. Member is asking for is contained in the answer which I am going to send to him.