§ 52. Mr. LAWSON
asked the Chief Secretary whether the recent deaths of six men at Clogheen, near Cork, has been the subject of a military inquiry; if so, what were the conclusions reached by the court; and whether his attention has been drawn to reports current in the district that these men were murdered and mutilated in a brutal fashion?
§ Mr. HENRY
The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The court found that the deceased were killed instantaneously by gunshot wounds inflicted by forces of the Crown in the execution of their duty. My attention has not been drawn to any reports such as those suggested in the question, but I take this opportunity of stating that if any such reports have been current they are false, and are disproved by the evidence given at the inquiry, which included evidence from a doctor and from relatives of the deceased who saw the bodies.
§ 55. Mr. CAIRNS
asked the Chief Secretary whether he is aware that at the military inquiry into the death of Christopher Reynolds, of Rathfarnham, alleged to have been murdered by Crown forces, the representatives of the Press have been excluded by written military orders; and whether, in view of his repeated assurances to this House that military inquiries in lieu of inquests are open to the Press and to the public, why they are excluded in this and in other cases?
§ Mr. HENRY
I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to a private notice question by the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool 433 (Mr. O'Connor) yesterday. I would add, however, that if in the opinion of the Presiding Officer the admission of members of the public during any part of the proceedings of a Court of Inquiry would be likely to endanger the lives of witnesses, it would be within his discretion, and it would be his duty to direct that the public should be excluded while the witnesses in question were being heard.
Is not that really a distinct withdrawal of the pledge given yesterday by the right hon. and learned Gentleman that the inquiry should be public?
§ Mr. MacVEAGH
Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that the Chief Secretary has on several occasions told this House that the Press are always admitted to these inquiries?