HC Deb 10 November 1921 vol 148 cc580-1
37. Mr. GWYNNE

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the repeated violations in spirit and in letter of the terms of the truce agreed upon with the representatives of Sinn Fein, he will obtain adequate guarantees from the Sinn Fein delegates at the conference now proceeding that any agreement arrived at between them and the Government will be adhered to by their followers in Ireland?


I view with grave concern the breaches of the truce that have occurred in Ireland. They are at once taken up through the machinery established for the purpose, and my colleagues and I are satisfied that the representatives of Sinn Fein with whom we are negotiating are doing their best to secure the observance of the terms of the truce.


In view of the fact that there have been over 500 breaches of the truce in the last three months, will the right hon. Gentleman say how, if these occurrences take place when he has got the delegates over here, he expects them to deliver the goods when the matter is removed from Downing Street to Ireland?


The hon. Member is giving his opinion.

Viscount CURZON (by Private Notice)

asked the Chief Secretary whether at Strokestown, in the Mullingar area, the military forces are occupying a large private house; whether in the same place a force of the Irish Republican Army, two or three times as strong, is stationed in the workhouse armed with machine guns and a bombing section with armed sentries continually posted; whether this is not a provocative display of force and thereby a breach of the truce, and what steps are being taken by the Commander-in-Chief to safeguard such outlying detachments in cases where they are largely outnumbered by the forces of the rebels in the event of the truce coming to an end in this and in other localities.


I only received notice of this question at 11.30 this morning, and am sorry that I have not been able in the time available to obtain the details necessary to enable me to deal with the points raised. The latter part of the question involves purely military considerations. The Commander-in-Chief of the Army in Ireland is fully aware of the situation in that country.

Viscount CURZON

Will the right hon. Baronet carry out special inquiries in this case? In view of the fact that this information only reached me by post this morning, it was not possible to give earlier notice, but it comes from an officer of the regiment stationed there, and the military have very serious fears for their safety.


Following my usual custom, I wired the Noble Lord's question, as I should any other hon. Member's question, to the Commander-in-Chief himself.

Colonel Sir J. GREIG

Is it usual for officers in His Majesty's Forces to communicate direct to Members of Parliament, instead of direct to their Commander-in-Chief?

Viscount CURZON

The information did not reach me direct from the officer, but it comes from an officer.