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Cattle Driving At Loughrea

Volume 180: debated on Wednesday 7 August 1907

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On behalf of the hon. Member for South Antrim, I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord- Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that on the morning of the 29th July a band of persons, numbering upwards of 200, armed with sticks, entered upon the lands of Mr. H. Persse, at Woodville, Loughrea, and, in defiance of the seven police stationed on the lands, drove off Mr. Persse's cattle; whether he is aware that Mr. Persse has asserted that one of the policemen in question informed him that they had instructions not to use arms in attempting to prevent these cattle drives; have the police any such instructions; and have any persons been made amenable to the law in connection with this outrage.

At one o'clock on the morning of 29th July a crowd of about 200 persons attempted to drive the cattle off Mr. Persse's farm. The six policemen who were on duty at once dispersed the crowd, using what force was necessary. Less than one-fourth of the cattle were driven off the farm, and these were at once replaced by the police. The head constable immediately reported the matter to Mr. Persse at his residence, and this gentleman instead of recognising the fact that the police had protected and secured his cattle suggested that the police were no use at all, and asked what good their revolvers were if they did not use them. The head constable replied that the circumstances did not justify the use of firearms, but said nothing about instructions on the subject. The police have not been instructed, either to use or not to use firearms in these particular cases. They have full general instructions, however, as to circumstances in which the use of firearms is justifiable. The question of taking proceedings in this case is under consideration.

Does the right hon. Gentleman suggest that people placed in the position of Mr. Persse should use arms themselves in accordance with the suggestion of the Chief Secretary?