HC Deb 04 May 1922 vol 153 cc1520-3
9. Captain Viscount CURZON

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether His Majesty's Government have any in formation as to the number and movements of the refugees from Southern Ireland?


asked the Secretary for Ireland if he is aware that a number of loyal British subjects in Southern Ireland are being terrorised into surrendering their lands and homes to persons who have no legal claim thereto, and that these illegally evicted men and their families are fleeing to this country for safety; and will he state what steps the Government are taking to prevent such terrorism in Ireland, and to provide for such refugees on their arrival in this country?

58. Colonel GRETTON

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that many farmers in Southern Ireland have had their farms expropriated and have been driven from their homes; that some of them and their families have taken refuge in this country and others have remained destitute; and if he proposes to take any measures for the relief of those who are in severe financial difficulties?

The CHIEF SECRETARY for IRELAND (Sir Hamar Greenwood)

I regret to say that a certain number of such evictions have taken place, and my inquiries show that some of the victims have taken refuge in this country. I am in touch with a number of them and I hope that His Majesty's Government will be able to make early arrangements for such relief as is possible in cases of real and urgent necessity. I am bringing the matter to the notice of the Provisional Government, with whom the ultimate financial responsibility clearly rests.

Viscount CURZON

Are we to understand from my right hon. Friend's answer that the Government keep closely in touch with the number of refugees coming from Southern Ireland to this country or coming from Southern to Northern Ireland I Do you know exactly what is going on?


It is impossible to say exactly what is going on. In reference to refugees who go to Northern Ireland, we cannot keep directly in touch with them. In reference to refugees who come to this country, those who come to the Irish Office or to any Government Department are dealt with in the best way we can, but I cannot say definitely how many are in this country.


Will my right hon. Friend answer that part of my question in which I ask him to state what steps the Government are taking to prevent such terrorism?


That is a very natural supplementary question, but as the power of administering the law has been handed over by Parliament to the Provisional Government, His Majesty's Government cannot directly intervene in the administration of law in Ireland. The steps we take are to bring each case to the notice of the Provisional Government, urging them to give protection to these people and their property.


Does the right hon. Baronet give the same consideration to Catholic refugees from Belfast?

Viscount CURZON

Could not you endeavour to keep touch with the number of refugees coming, for instance, from Rosslare to Fishguard by seeing the number of people who come on board the boat?


As a matter of fact, I am to see to-day representatives of some refugees from a certain part of Ireland. We keep in as close touch as we can by telegraphing to the various ports to find out in fact how many refugees are coming from Ireland. The information we receive is that comparatively very few have left Ireland for this country.


Will the right hon. Baronet answer my question?

Captain CRAIG

In view of the fact that representations which have been made by the right hon. Gentleman to the Free State Government have had no effect whatever in stopping these things, may we know what further steps the Government mean to take to deal with the matter?


Parliament has placed the control of affairs in Northern Ireland under the Government of Northern Ireland, and the affairs of Southern Ireland under the Provisional Government.


Will the right hon. Gentleman make representations to the Provisional Government that they ought, without delay, to take up the cases of British subjects who are evicted in Ireland?


My question, No. 58, has not been dealt with. Will the Government do something to relieve the refugees who arrived in this country yesterday?


Are the thousands of men who have been discharged from the shipyards because of their religious convictions going to be compensated?


The hon. and gallant Member should put the balance of his question down again. It was answered along with another question earlier.

51. Rear-Admiral ADAIR

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is aware of the facts as to the forcible ejectment from their holdings of a number of Protestants in the parish of Tina-hoe, Queen's County, in the course of the last few days; and, if so, will he state these facts and say what action the Government have taken in connection with them?


I am in communication with the Provisional Government in regard to this matter, and shall be glad if the hon. and gallant Member will repeat the question on Thursday of next week.

Rear-Admiral ADAIR

I will put the question on the Paper, again. These outrages have been going on for the last fortnight. I would like to know what practical steps towards the prevention of the outrages the Government are taking. Are they offering any military assistance to the unfortunate Provisional Government?


Before the right hon. Gentleman replies, will he also tell us what steps the Northern Government are taking to protect the Catholics in the North of Ireland?


That just shows the difficulty in both cases. We must have regard to the Acts we have passed.


When these murders and outrages are committed on one of His Majesty's subjects in Ireland, is it not in order to ask the Government of this country whether the Provisional Government require the assistance of British troops?


Yes; but some hon. Members were going much further than that.

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