HC Deb 07 March 1917 vol 91 cc408-9W

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War it he will define the position of Irishmen so far as the Military Service Act applies to them if temporarily resident in Great Britain; if men left Ireland since the outbreak of war for employment in Great Britain and are now engaged on work of national importance, such as buildings where carpenters and bricklayers were employed; and, if men left Ireland at the request of their trade unions or of their own accord to obtain such work, are they likely to be conscripted?


I must refer my hon. Friend to the answer which I gave him on 14th February last. Irishmen who are sent over to Great Britain by the Labour Employment Exchanges for the purpose of being employed on munition work, other contracts with Government Departments, port transport work, or agriculture, are considered to be resident in Great Britain for a special purpose within the meaning of the Military Service Acts, 1916, and are provided by the Employment Exchange with a card as evidence of their exemption from military service, so long as they comply with the conditions laid down in the arrangement. When an Irishman is already in Great Britain, and engaged in one of the employments above mentioned, he may, if continuing in that employment, or if placed by an Employment Exchange in similar employment, be furnished with a card as evidence that he is exempt from the liability for military service, if the Employment Exchange has ascertained that he is ordinarily resident in Ireland.

If Irishmen come to Great Britain and enter into employments not included in the above arrangement, they come within the provisions of the Military Service Acts as and when they become ordinarily resident in Great Britain unless they can show that they are resident in Great Britain for a special purpose within the meaning of those Acts. In case of doubt the decision is for a Civil Court.

Forward to