HC Deb 15 November 1920 vol 134 cc1503-4
28. Mr. HIGHAM

asked the Prime Minister whether he will consider the advisability of immediately placing those towns or counties in Ireland where the murder of members of the Royal Irish Constabulary is constantly taking place under martial law, and send to those areas sufficient troops so that law and order may prevail?


I can add nothing to the previous statements on this subject. The authorities in Ireland already possess very wide powers, and I am satisfied that effective use is being made of them.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the fact that last Saturday afternoon three members of the Royal Irish Constabulary were foully murdered, and does he propose to take more drastic action to see that these men are properly protected?


Yes, I am too painfully aware of that circumstance. I think my hon. Friend may rest assured that every step that can possibly be taken is being adopted by the authorities there.


Is it not quite evident that the policy bas don force has completely and hopelessly broken down, and is it not probable that the pacification of Ireland could be better secured by the application of liberal principles rather than the principles of militarism?


I do not agree with my Noble Friend that it is evident that a policy based on force has failed. Every law is based to a large extent upon force. Unless a law can be enforced, that law must be futile. We are simply enforcing law in Ireland, and I believe we are doing it successfully. It is perfectly true now that the police, instead of remaining inside their barracks, as they had to do until we were ready two or three months ago, are going all over the country and enforcing the law, they are running much greater risk, and consequently there are heavier casualties,; but we have overwhelming evidence that the power and authority of the law are being established throughout the whole country.


Will the right hon. Gentleman guarantee that a lawful policy will be enforced in a lawful manner?

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

Does the right hon. Gentleman consider that the burning and sacking of towns, creameries and farms in enforcing any sort of law before God or man?

Colonel C. LOWTHER

Does the hon. and gallant Gentleman prefer the murder of police?

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