HC Deb 11 November 1920 vol 134 cc1383-5W

asked the Prime Minister whether the measures taken for the stoppage of Irish railways, the widespread destruction of creameries, the refusal by police to allow farmers to take their milk to creameries, the burning and bombing of factories, farms, and warehouses, are intended to stop the economic life of Southern and Western Ireland; and whether such a policy will involve great suffering upon many innocent people, including women and children, who are not engaged in a murderous conspiracy?


The methods referred to by the hon. and gallant Member are not those which are being taken by His Majesty's Government in their present endeavours to restore normal conditions of civilian life and the authority of the law in Ireland. The stoppage of Irish railways is due to the refusal of the railwaymen to perform their duty in regard to the carriage of police, military and munitions traffic. It is regretted that inconvenience and suffering to many innocent people must inevitably result from efforts of disaffected persons to promote disorder.


asked the Prime Minister whether the Cabinet approved the policy of closing down the Irish railways' in consequence of the munitions strike; the railways upon which the services are either totally or partially suspended; whether the Government undertook any financial liability to the Irish railway companies when the orders at present in force were issued to the companies; and, if so, what is the extent of the liability?


I have been asked to answer this question. I presume my hon. and gallant Friend refers to the interference with traffic on Irish railways occasioned by the refusal of some members of the staffs to deal with Government traffic. In this connection the only direction which has been issued to the companies is that they must fulfil their statutory duty to provide equal facilities for all classes of traffic, and this policy has the approval of the Cabinet. No special financial obligation arises from the giving of this direction. I am informed that the present situation is as follows:—

Services reduced:

  • Cork and Macroom Direct Railway.
  • Cork, Bandon and South Coast Railway.
  • Midland Great Western Railway.
  • Tralee and Dingle Light Railway.
  • West Clare Railway.

Services reduced and on three minor branch lines suspended:

Great Southern and Western Railway.

Services on important sections of line closed, on remainder normal

Great Northern Railway (Ireland).

Services suspended on part of the following systems:

Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway.

County Donegal Railways.