HC Deb 18 November 1920 vol 134 cc2072-4

(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for War whether he had any information to impart relating to the four officers taken by force out of a train at Waterfall, County Cork, the day before yesterday, and carried off in rebel motor cars, and whether, in view of this further proof of the assistance to crime afforded by privately-owned motor cars, the Government would at once prohibit their use in the disturbed areas?


What is a "rebel motor car"?

The SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Mr. Churchill)

The only information which I have at present is that two Education Officers, Captain M. H. W. Green, Lincolnshire Regiment, and Captain S. Chambers, Liverpool Regiment, and an officer of the Royal Engineers, Lieut. W. Spalding Watts, were captured by the rebels. I understand that Captain Green and Lieutenant Watts might have been witnesses of a murder of a police sergeant and that Captain Chambers was the principal witness against Father O'Donnell, who was arrested in October, 1919, for seditious speeches. Presumably, these are the reasons why they were kidnapped, but I do not know the circumstances of their capture. With regard to the last part of the hon. Member's question, I think ample powers already exist under the Restoration of Order in Ireland Regulations. Certain restrictions regarding the use of motor vehicles are already in force, and I understand that further drastic restrictions will come into operation on 1st December.


Have these officers been released?




The right hon. Gentleman brings in the trial, and the statement that Father O'Donnell was arrested for seditious language. For what reason ho dons that, I do not know. Will he state that the court-martial acquitted him of that charge?


I did not attach importance to that. I have given the answer specially framed for me in answer to this question.


Who framed it for you?


I had no communication whatever with the hon. Member (Mr. Pennefather), and there is no ulterior design behind the framing of the answer.

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