HC Deb 18 July 1922 vol 156 cc1882-3

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is aware that a report has reached this country to the effect that during the last few days armed men forcibly removed from a British vessel, in Waterford Harbour, its wineless equipment, and shortly afterwards returned and kidnapped the wireless operator; whether he has any official information on this matter; and, if so, what action has been, or will be, taken?


A report of these incidents has been received from the shipping company which owns the vessel referred to, and I have received further particulars from other sources. The information has been passed on to the Provisional Government in Dublin, who will, I have no doubt, take all steps in their power to defeat the consequences and prevent the repetition of such lawless acts committed by those with whom they are engaged in open conflict.


Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied really that the Provisional Government will be able to stop a repetition of this sort of thing?


Fighting is going on on an increasing scale in many parts of the country, and the Provisional Government are doing their utmost to establish order. I shall certainly not attempt to forecast what the result of that fighting may be.

Vice-Admiral Sir R. HALL

Have the Free State Government under their control any armed sea-going vessels?


They have, I think, one or two small steamers that were connected with fisheries protection, which they have used to transport troops, stores, armoured cars, etc., to different points on the coast where they are urgently needed for the prosecution of the operations.


Is it the case that the British Government cannot really take effective steps to protect British vessels going into ports like Waterford?


Of course, we can take steps by sending ships of war to these different places, but I am sure it would be very much better to give the responsible Irish Government full opportunities to make the will of the Irish people effective throughout the territory under their jurisdiction.