HC Deb 19 October 1920 vol 133 cc768-9
Mr. PENNEFATHER (by Private Notice)

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland if he will state how many outrages-have been committed in Ireland since 1st January last upon soldiers and policemen by way of reprisals upon them for having loyally performed their duties in connection with the maintenance of law and order, and will he also state if any further steps are now being taken to protect soldiers and policemen against such reprisals and to bring to justice, not only those who actually commit them, but also all who assist or connive by withholding information which would lead to the punishment of the culprits?

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

The outrages against the police and military forces since the 1st January last, which I regret to say include the loss of no less than 118 lives, are as follows:—

Police killed 100
Military killed 18
Police wounded 160
Military wounded 66

There have been 667 attacks on police barracks, resulting in most cases in their complete destruction. There has been an organised attempt to boycott and intimidate the police, their wives and relations. The hon. Member will realise that I cannot publish the steps that are being taken to cope with the campaign of murder, outrage and intimidation, but I can assure him that the means available to the Government for protecting all servants of the Crown in the discharge of their duties, and for bringing to justice those who commit or connive at outrages, are steadily improving. The Royal Irish Constabulary is rapidly increasing in numbers owing mainly to the flow of recruits from ex-officers and ex-service men who served in the Army or Navy during the War. The effective strength of the Force is now higher than it has been for the last 15 years. In the last three weeks alone there have been 194 trials by Court Martial under the Restoration of Order in Ireland Act, 1920, and 159 convictions. The Forces of the Crown are now effectively grappling with the organised, paid and brutal campaign of murder in Ireland.