HC Deb 27 April 1920 vol 128 cc1024-6
Colonel ASHLEY

(by Private Notice) asked the Attorney-General for Ireland whether he is aware that in the Ballina-more district in the county Leitrim since the 1st of this month the following crimes have been committed—shop windows of local postmaster destroyed; evacuated police barracks burned together with the furniture of the caretaker, the wife of one of the constables; masonic hall burned down on the 16th by the mob; the railway line torn up and a train derailed and upset into the bog; a recruit of the Royal Irish Constabulary dragged out of bed and made to swear on his knees that he would not join up; another recruit of the Royal Irish Constabulary has had his leg shot off because he joined the force; a notice was posted stating that if anyone was seen talking to the rate collector he would be shot, and the same day a man working for the rate collector was shot; and further that notices have been posted up stating that the three loyalist shopkeepers in the town will be shot and anyone dealing with them; and what steps he proposes to take to preserve the lives and property of these three loyal men, and also the persecuted ex-service men in the town and district?


The facts are substantially as stated in the question of my hon. and gallant Friend. The Inspector-General, with whom I communicated both before and after I received the question, informs me that he has had every effort made to give adequate protection to the persons referred to in this question.

Colonel ASHLEY

What I want to know is, are any troops or any extra police being sent down to the district to protect those men?


I only received notice of the question at noon. I communicated at once, and, of course, communication takes some time, but I will have special inquiries made on the subject and let the hon. and gallant Gentleman know the result.


Will the right hon. Gentleman give an undertaking to the House that protection shall be given to these men?




Does not the Government receive information about these things, without having every day to communicate specially and ask the constabulary whether they are sending protection to particular people or not?


Certainly; but the question asked by the hon. and gallant Gentleman to which I referred was in reference to the troops that were or were not being sent to the district.

Major O' NEILL

Is it not the case that yesterday the right hon. Gentleman apparently knew nothing about events which had taken place at Waterford a few days ago?


Certainly, I knew about the matter, but not to the extent to which I was informed afterwards by an hon. Member who was on the spot.


Are troops being sent there or not?


It is quite impossible for me, when I am asked a question at 12 o'clock about a district in Leitrim, to say offhand whether or not troops have been sent there.