HC Deb 15 November 1920 vol 134 cc1504-5
39. Sir F. HALL

asked the Prime Minister if the Government have been notified of the proposal to send a Labour Commission to Ireland to investigate, under Sinn Fein auspices, the origin, nature, and extent of the reprisals by police and military; what were the numbers of police and soldiers murdered in Ireland between the beginning of 1917 and the date when the first so-called reprisal took place; whether, during such intervening period, any request was made for facilities for a Labour Commission to investigate the conditions obtaining in Ireland; and, if in the present case a Commission visits Ireland, will he offer its members an opportunity of mixing, unidentified, with the soldiers and constabulary in the performance of their ordinary duties, so that the Commission may obtain an unbiassed impression of the other side of the picture?

The CHIEF SECRETARY for IRELAND (Lieut.-Colonel Sir Hamar Greenwood)

I know nothing of any such proposal beyond what has appeared in the Press. The number of soldiers and policemen murdered between the beginning of 1917 and the middle of this year was 57. I have no knowledge of any request for facilities for an impartial investigation made prior to the latter date. It would not be practicable to adopt the course suggested in the last part of the question, but the Irish Government have always been ready to facilitate in every way possible any genuine endeavour to obtain accurate first-hand impressions of the conditions actually obtaining in Ireland.


Does the right hon. and gallant Gentleman think that those who are so much, or pretend to be so much, interested in labour will embrace the opportunity contained in the last part of the question?


The hon. and gallant Gentleman had better put that question to the Labour party.


Will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman make a collection of mares' nests?