HC Deb 14 April 1921 vol 140 cc1269-70
9. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the Chief Secretary whether Crown forces bombed eight houses and shops at Abbeyleix, Queen's County, and destroyed the shops of Thomas Kearney and T. O'Farrell, at Ballyporeen, county Tipperary, on 23rd March last; whether houses and shops were wrecked by bombs at Westport, county Mayo, on 26th March last, also by Crown forces; whether these were official or unofficial reprisals; who ordered the destruction; and on what principle these houses and shops were selected for damage?


The Constabulary barrack at Abbeyleix was attacked by armed rebels on the night of the 19th ultimo. The attack was beaten off and the police pursued their assailants through the town, firing several volleys and throwing a number of hand grenades in the course of the pursuit. A certain amount of damage was caused to buildings, but whether by the fire of the rebels or that of the police is not known. Any damage due to the police fire was unintentional, and in the circumstances unavoidable. The burning of the two shops at Ballyporeen on the 23rd ultimo appears to have taken place about 2 a.m. while an attack on the police barrack of that town was proceeding, and the whole of the police force were in the barrack at the time. The police have been unable to obtain any information as to the origin of these fires. In regard to the last part of the question, my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary has directed an inquiry to be made into the occurrence at West-port on the 26th ultimo; and as that inquiry is still proceeding, I am not yet in a position to make any statement on the matter.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

In regard to the latter part of the question, may I take it that these reprisals at Westport were not official reprisals, that they were not ordered by any competent military authority, and therefore unofficial; and will the House be informed of the result of the inquiry?


I have already told the hon. and gallant Gentleman that an inquiry has been directed and is still proceeding; and, therefore, pending its finish, I am not in a position to reply to, the question.