HC Deb 10 November 1921 vol 148 cc572-4

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether Michael Sweetman, a Protestant, farmer, residing near Skibbereen, was murdered last February; whether later all the stock was driven off the farm by the Sinn Fein forces; whether, on 21st July, 10 days after the truce began, a quantity of the furniture was stolen from the house; whether, at the end of August, a large body of men, who said they were acting for the Irish Republic, seized and threshed all the corn on the farm and sold it and kept the proceeds; whether, subsequently, Mrs. Sweetman and her son were served with a notice to leave the district within 48 hours and left in consequence; whether, within the last fortnight, an auction has been held on the farm by Sinn Fein at which everything was sold; what measures the Government took to protect Mrs. Sweetman against these outrages; and what steps, if any, they have taken on her behalf since this occurrence?

The CHIEF SECRETARY for IRELAND (Colonel Sir Hamar Greenwood)

This is a most deplorable case. I understand there is some question as to whether Mrs. Sweetman and her son were in fact ordered out of the country by Sinn Fein, but otherwise the facts appear to be as stated. So far as I am aware, no complaint was made to the police, and the circumstances did not come to the knowledge of the authorities until after the event. The fullest investigation is being made, and as soon as the facts are available the Government will make it their business to see that Mrs. Sweetman receives such reparation as is possible for what she has suffered.


asked the Chief Secretary whether his attention has been called to the case of a loyalist farmer in the Kenmare district of County Kerry, who has been raided by Sinn Feiners no fewer than 19 times since the truce, during the course of which raids practically all his cattle, agricultural machinery, and moveable property has been seized by Sinn Fein authorities; and what steps he has taken in this case?


This is a flagrant and persistent breach of the truce, in which representations to the local Sinn Fein liaison officials have proved ineffective. The matter has now been taken up with the Chief Liaison Officer in Dublin, who has been pressed for full reparation.

16. Mr. R. GWYNNE

asked the Chief Secretary whether he is in a position to give any information respecting the holding up of a train at Milltown railway station, on the Dublin and South Eastern Railway, on 7th November, by a band of armed men, who plundered the van containing a considerable sum of money?


The police report that this robbery was carried out by two men, one of whom was armed with a revolver. The police are pursuing their enquiries.

17. Mr. R. GWYNNE

asked the Chief Secretary if his attention has been called to the raid upon Oakfield Park, Raphoe, the residence of Mr. C. V. Stoney, D.L.; and what steps are being taken to apprehend the perpetrators of this outrage?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative; as regards the latter part, the police have the matter in hand.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this gentleman's house was raided by 50 armed men, and that there were only women present, who were treated in a most disgraceful way?


I was not aware that there were 50 armed men, and this is the first time I have heard that any women were treated disgracefully there.

Lieut.-Colonel CROFT

Can the right hon. Gentleman inform the House that any of these breakers of the truce have been brought to trial, and any of them punished? [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer!"]


Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether any of these people who have been guilty of gross breaches of the truce have been prosecuted and brought to justice?

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

On both sides?


A number of persons have been arrested. The House will remember the case of the kidnapping of Mr. Hunt the other day in Belfast, for which three men are now under arrest, and will stand their trial in the usual way.


Have any been punished yet?


Can the right hon. Gentleman give any estimate as to the number of breakages that the truce will endure before it falls to pieces?

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