HC Deb 31 October 1916 vol 86 cc1556-7W

asked the Chief Secretary whether he is aware that at Mitchels-town, county Cork, on 13th October, five lads, named Daniel O'Keefe, Pat Clifford, Pat Roche, John Keane, and Thomas Walsh, were sentenced to seven days, and two calendar months' imprisonment extra in default of bail, for singing an old song called "The Felons for Our Land," and that on the accused giving themselves into custody the police refused to detain them on the pretext that the warrant was not signed; whether the justices delayed the warrant with a view of inflicting on the lads the additional hardship of being in gaol over Christmas; whether he is aware that the bench consisted of the resident magistrates and four members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians recently appointed; whether these four took part in delaying the warrant by throwing the duty on the resident magistrate, who lives in Fermoy; and will the Government publish a list of songs which can legally be sung, or fix standard penalties for the singing of songs to which the police object?


The five persons named, who are young men aged from nineteen to twenty-five years, were convicted of an offence under No. 27 of the Defence of the Realm Regulations. The execution of the warrants was deferred, not by the magistrates, but in the interest of the peace of the locality by the police, who wished to afford opportunity for the giving of recognisances. As the delay, even with the object stated, was in the circumstances not justified, the necessary steps are being taken to obviate a repetition of the occurrence.