HC Deb 04 May 1922 vol 153 cc1528-9
54. Viscount CURZON

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been called to the fact that County Court judges in Southern Ireland have in many instances been ordered by Irish Republican authorities not to hold their usual Quarter Sessions, and that the County Court judge for Westmeath was threatened with arrest on Saturday last if he did so, and that ever since the Treaty, Republican Parish, District, and Circuit Courts have been sitting unmolested and exercising civil and criminal jurisdiction; whether it is in accordance with the terms of the Treaty that such a state of things should be permitted; whether he has made representations to the Provisional Government on the subject; and, if so, with what result?


I am aware that there have been a number of instances of interference with the holding of Quarter Sessions, and that in some cases the Sessions have had to be abandoned. These acts of interference have taken place in districts where the authority of the Provisional Government is not yet firmly established, and it is easy to exaggerate their importance and the importance of the fact that the so-called Republican Courts are actively functioning in many places. In regard to the latter part of the question, there is no provision in the Treaty prescribing what courts may or may not function within the area under the jurisdiction of the Provisional Government, and now that that Government is legally established, this is a matter for their determination.


Will the right hon. Gentleman say in what part of Southern Ireland is the authority of the Provisional Government effectively established?


Have any Quarter Sessions recently been held in a regular manner in Southern Ireland?


I would like notice of that question. My information is that many such Courts have been held.

Rear-Admiral ADAIR

Would it not be possible for the Government to offer Military aid to the Provisional Government in the South just as they have done with the Northern Government?


In answer to that question, any Government of the Empire that asked for Military aid from His Majesty's Government would certainly not be refused.

Rear-Admiral ADAIR

The circumstances ought to suggest it.


May I ask, Mr. Speaker, when we will get to the business of England?