HC Deb 18 November 1920 vol 134 cc2114-5W

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland if he will state what increased facilities for the Press have been provided since the discontinuance of the daily official Summaries of Outrages in September last; whether coroners' inquests, which are open to the Press, were suppressed by proclamation on 3rd September in 10 counties, and had frequently been specifically forbidden in other counties; whether military inquiries have been substituted, from most of which the Press and public have been excluded under the powers given by the Restoration of Order Act; whether the Press or the public are admitted to any of the inquiries alleged to have been instituted into the sackings, burnings, lootings, and other outrages carried out by the forces of the Crown; and whether the official police reports of such outrages, irrespective of who perpetrated them, are open for the inspection of Press representatives or are officially communicated to the Press in the same manner that official reports of outrages alleged to have been committed against the servants of the Crown are communicated?


The increased facilities in question have been provided by the appointment of a Press officer of long experience whose duty it is to communicate to the Press officially authenticated information with regard to events of public interest in Ireland in fuller detail than was previously given in the daily summaries of outrages to which the hon. Member refers. The answers to the second, third and fourth parts of the question are in the affirmative. As regards the last part of the question, it is obviously impossible to afford Press correspondents free access to all official Reports, many of which are of a confidential character.