§ Mr. BYRNE
asked the Chief Secretary whether he is aware that Mr. John M'Galey, of Tralee, a young Irishman of unblemished character and high scholastic attainments, was arraigned before the Tralee Petty Sessions Court on the 22nd November, 1915, under the Defence of the Realm Act, of having made statements prejudicial to recruiting, and was found guilty, on the unsupported testimony of one band-sergeant of the Royal Munster Fusiliers; whether this uncorroborated evidence, upon which M'Galey was sentenced to three months' imprisonment with hard labour, was contradicted by the evidence of four respectable witnesses, including another sergeant of the Royal 901W Minister Fusiliers, who had returned after thirteen months in the trenches, where he had been promoted for conspicuous bravery; whether he is aware that the sentence imposed at the Tralee Petty Sessions, on the uncorroborated evidence of the band-sergeant, was confirmed on the 15th February, 1916, by a County Court judge and local magistrates, all of whom figure prominently on the recruiting platform; and that the imprisonment of M'Galey has been unanimously condemned by the Kerry County Council and other representative bodies and by public assemblies in Kerry, where resolutions were unanimously passed demanding his immediate release; whether he is aware that the facts in connection with this conviction were brought by the Lord Mayor of Dublin and others under the notice of the Lord Lieutenant, who is the Director of Recruiting in Ireland, with a view to securing his liberation; and whether, in the interests of recruiting in Kerry, the persons responsible for this act will be proceeded against under the Defence of the Realm Act for being guilty of conduct prejudicial to recruiting?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
At Tralee Petty Sessions on 22nd November last a unanimous bench of six magistrates, after hearing fully all the evidence brought before them for the defence as well as for the prosecution, convicted John M'Galey of having made statements prejudicial to recruiting and sentenced him to three months' imprisonment with hard labour. On appeal, when the facts were again fully investigated, the sentence was confirmed at the Quarter Sessions of the 8th February. I understand that the Kerry County Council and some other bodies have adopted resolutions of protest against the conviction, but I have no information as to whether representations in this matter have or have not been made to the Lord Lieutenant by the Lord Mayor of Dublin. I have no reason to believe that the conviction will have an effect prejudicial to recruiting.