§ 24 and 25. Mr. BYRNE
asked the Under-Secretary of State for War (1) whether he proposes to make inquiries from the General Officer Commanding the Forces in Ireland into the action of the president of a recent court-martial in Ireland in describing Irish as the language of the Hottentot; whether he proposes to distribute this description of their language amongst the Irish-speaking soldiers of the Connaught Rangers and the Munster Fusiliers and other Gaelic-speaking soldiers at the front; (2) whether it would promote the peace of Ireland to say "I don't care whether he is a Hottentot or a Sinn Feiner," and whether this was purposely meant to convey that the Irish were lower than the. Hottentots; whether tie will explain why the president of the court-martial at Cork on the 17th instant, when an accused person used an expression in Irish, instantly ordered the Court to be cleared; is he aware that, on an accused man answering in Irish when called on to plead, the president said he did not understand the Hottentot language, and will he state whether British officers in Quebec or South Africa are allowed to use offensive terms towards the French and Dutch languages respectively; and what action he proposes to take!
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
I really do not think it is necessary that I should ask any official to make inquiries. My hon. Friend need not be alarmed. The sanctity of the Irish language will not be affected by the obiter dictum of any man.
§ Mr. MOONEY
As this statement has appeared in all the Irish papers, surely it must have passed the Censor, and is not the War Office prepared to take action?
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
As I say, I am as keen about Gaelic as anyone, but I really do not think it necessary to ask officials to make inquiries at the present time.