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Fohenagh Farm Dispute

Volume 180: debated on Thursday 15 August 1907

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I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether Sir Antony MacDonnell has assured the Rev. Mr. Martin, of Ballintubber, that if the United Irish League would give him a guarantee that there would be no further disturbance in the district he would withdraw the extra police who are in the district for the protection of the cattle on the Fohenagh farm, and would see that this farm was divided at the earliest moment; and, if so, under whose instructions Sir Antony MacDonnell was acting when he entered into negotiations with the United Irish League, and what differentiates the Fohenagh farm from others from which cattle have been driven that the Government should adopt this course of negotiation, instead of attempting to vindicate the law by prosecuting those supposed to be guilty.

I am aware that a report to the effect mentioned in the first part of the Question appeared in a newspaper, but Sir Antony MacDonnell informed me at the time that the report was incorrect. The Rev. Mr. Martin asked Sir Antony MacDonnell to have the police removed from the farm in question, and Sir Antony replied that he would like to have an assurance that the cattle would not be driven off again. Father Martin said he could give no absolute guarantee, but would do all in his power to prevent further interference with the farm, and he believed there would be none. As a result the large force of police at the farm was reduced. No reference to the United Irish League was made by either Sir Antony or Father Martin. Full measures for vindicating the law in this case have been taken. The Attorney-General sent up a Bill against a number of persons at the last assizes, and an adjournment was obtained in order to move for a change of venue. The case is pending.

asked whether it was the policy of the right hon. Gentleman to abdicate the powers of the Government where assurances could be received from local influential people.