HC Deb 03 July 1918 vol 107 cc1702-3
18. Mr. KING

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that on the occasion of a leis, or popular gathering for the enjoyment of music and other arts, held at Kilbiggan, King's County, on 23rd June, a number of soldiers, armed with rifles, and a big motor lorry came into the town from Tullamore; and that these soldiers broke up a procession, tore down decorations, entered the Hall Club, where pictures were smashed and a lot of refreshments meant for the artists were devoured, and did other damage, and finally fired many shots, apparently to terrify the inhabitants; whether this was done on military orders; and whether instructions will be given to commanding officers in Ireland to avoid any action calculated to cause suspicion and disaffection?


I find that the hall was searched on the occasion referred to, but that the meeting, which was held in an adjoining field, was not interfered with. Later a procession in military formation marched through the town, and this was stopped. There was no firing. One picture, which was lying on a bench, was accidentally knocked off and the glass broken, but the picture was undamaged.


Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that very circumstantial and repeated accounts of this affair have appeared in the Irish newspapers, causing a great deal of dismay and discontent, and cannot the right hon. Gentleman say something to relieve that anxiety?


The facts are as stated in my answer.