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Outrage At Lord Ashtown's Residence

Volume 181: debated on Tuesday 20 August 1907

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I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether it is intended to hold an inquiry into the alleged outrage at Lord Ashtown's residence, having regard to the fact that the inquiry into the alleged outrage at Drumbo resulted in proof that the outrage was the work of the residents in the house.

An investigation of the most careful and searching character is being made, and until this has been completed it would be premature to consider the question of holding a formal inquiry under the Explosive Substances Act, 1883, or otherwise.

May I ask is it not a fact that on the night when this explosive was said to have been laid there the dogs about the place gavo no alarm, and also whether, although the ground about the spot was full of moisture and very soft, there were no footmarks around the place?

All considerations of that sort are forming the subject of the most careful and searching inquiry that is now being made.

In view of the admittedly suspicious circumstances surrounding this case, will the right hon. Gentleman order a special sworn inquiry, such as was held in the case mentioned in this Question, which, as the right hon. Gentleman is aware, resulted in showing that the alleged outrage was committed by persons in the house?

I think everyone will agree that until the preliminary inquiry, which is being carried out in the most searching manner, is concluded it would be premature.

Is it a fact that Lord Ashtown, since the outrage has been in London, and has been in communication with the authorities, and if so may we have anyex parte statement that he made to them for our own investigations?

And has the Chief Secretary seen the statement in thePall Mall Gazette welcoming this as a timely outrage, which would justify the House of Lords in their treatment of the Evicted Tenants Bill. And is he aware that the Pigott letters were also produced on the occasion of important legislation for Ireland?

Pending the inquiry, it would be most irrational for me, whose opportunities for information are not at all complete, to express any opinion. The most searching investigation is being made, and after that the Government will consider the necessity or desirability of holding a special inquiry either under the Explosive Substances Act or otherwise.

Is it a fact that Lord Ashtown has been in London, making anex parte statement to the authorities, and, if so, may we see that statement for our own investigation?

I do not know where he is. I do not know that he has made a statementex parte or otherwise to the authorities. I do not think he has.

May I ask the Chief Secretary whether there is any ground for the allegation contained in the concluding part of the Question?

I must decline to give any opinion. I know nothing about It. I cannot say.

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Does the right hon. Gentleman know that Lord Ashtown makes a business of circulating information that he can pick out of the papers all through Great Britain with the view of defaming the people of Ireland, and that he has an agency through which he supplies hon. Unionist Members from Ulster with the material for Questions, which are slanders on Ireland?

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Will the right hon. Gentleman be careful in investigating this matter to try and find out if it is not possible, as is believed in the district, that Lord Ashtown himself did this in order to give a fillip to his infamous business of defaming Ireland. [No Answer was returned.]

asked whether the evidence at the inquiry would be available for hon. Members.

Will you give us the opportunity of cross-examining Lord Ashtown? [No Answer was returned.]