HC Deb 07 November 1921 vol 148 cc23-4
77. Mr. R. GWYNNE

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he is aware that a Sinn Fein court was held at Kinsale on 1st September, 1921, at which a woman who kept a public-house was fined for refusing to allow the Irish Republican Army police on her premises; whether the date of the meeting of the court was known to the military authorities at Kinsale, as well as the fact that this case was to come on for hearing; whether instructions were issued by the authorities that the court was not to be interfered with; and whether, since the authorities thereby precluded themselves from protecting the accused woman, he will say in what way such persons summoned before Sinn Fein courts receive protection?

The CHIEF SECRETARY for IRELAND (Colonel Sir Hamar Greenwood)

I am informed that a Sinn Fein court was held at Kinsale on the 1st September, but that, though the authorities were aware that a court was summoned to meet on that day, they had no knowledge that a case of this kind, involving as it does a breach of the truce, would be dealt with. In regard to the last part of the question, the protection of the Crown forces will be accorded to any person claiming the same against any attempted interference with his personal liberty or property by an illegal court.

Colonel ASHLEY

May we take it that the Government encourages and approves of Sinn Fein courts unless there is some grave intimidation practised?



Colonel ASHLEY

What Sinn Fein courts does the Government approve of?


I thought I had answered that. The only courts the Government approves of are courts legally held. If a court that is an arbitration court is held, whether it is held by Sinn Feiners or Loyalists, the Government is bound to approve of it, because it is a legal court, in Ireland or in England.

Colonel ASHLEY

Then if similar courts are set up in the Communist district of Glasgow, does the Government approve of it?


Has the right hon. Gentleman taken any steps to see to the money being refunded to this woman from whom it was taken illegally?


Yes, I undertake, if this woman has been illegally fined, to recoup her.

Lieut.-Colonel CROFT

What punishments are meted out to breakers of the truce every day?