41. Lieut.-Colonel Sir FREDERICK HALL
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the Government have received any further information from the Free State authorities in con 893 nection with the detection of those responsible for the murder and wounding of British soldiers at Queenstown?
I am in constant communication with the Governor of the Free State on this subject, and am satisfied they are doing everything humanly possible to bring the criminals to justice.
Sir F. HALL
Seeing that the right hon. Gentleman has been in communication with the Irish Government, has he asked what steps have actually been taken to secure the apprehension of these criminals?
§ Viscount CURZON
Is the answer which the right hon. Gentleman has given not in identical terms with an answer given three weeks ago, and are we to understand that no improvement has taken place in the situation since then?
§ Mr. BECKER
Does the right hon. Gentleman remember the statement made by the right hon. Gentleman in the House directly after these murders that he thought the murderers would be captured within 48 hours?
My hon. Friend must have been reading someone else's statement and not mine. The House generally is aware of the difficulty in this matter. Hon. Members have only to remember that the murderers of the McMahon family in Northern Ireland have not yet been caught, and you have only to remember the difficulty in catching murderers when the whole of our troops were there to appreciate the difficulty. I repeat that I am satisfied that the Free State Government are doing all they can to bring them to justice.
§ Sir W. DAVISON
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the large Rolls-Royce car from which the machine gun was worked has disappeared into thin air?
I believe the inquiry has gone to the extent of locating the Rolls-Royce car, and, apart from any feeling between North and South, everybody is desirous of bringing these people to justice. I could say more as to the particulars, but it is sufficient to say that they are doing everything they can. It is only fair for me to add that, unless the population assist in this matter, you can have no hope.
§ Mr. A. SOMERVILLE
What has the feeling between North and South to do with the murder of British soldiers?
I have answered a question which rather suggested that no steps had been taken, and I merely stated that there was a difficulty in bringing murderers to justice in the North as well as in the South of Ireland, and I gave an illustration to prove it.
Sir F. HALL
Has the right hon. Gentleman any right to challenge any hon. Member for having made a statement that steps were not being taken? That was not my supplementary question.
The only inference one could draw from the supplementary questions that were put to me was that those putting them were not satisfied that everything was being done.
§ Brigadier-General Sir HENRY CROFT
Is it competent for a Minister, in answer to a question like this, which clearly has nothing to do with the North and South, to bring in a comparison with regard to the action of the North?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
It is most undesirable to have inferences in a matter of this kind on one side or the other.