Skip to main content

Sinn Fein Courts

Volume 148: debated on Wednesday 9 November 1921

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.


asked the Chief Secretary how many Sinn Fein so-called courts have been constituted and are now sitting in Southern Ireland; and what steps have been taken, or are proposed to be taken, to suppress these courts?

I would refer the hon. Member to the replies given by my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to similar questions on this subject on the 27th ultimo. I have nothing to add to the statements then made.

Do members of the Irish Bar, King's Counsel, Serjeants-at-Law, and the junior Bar practise in these illegal courts?

No such cases have come to my knowledge. I should think it very improbable.


asked the Chief Secretary whether ratepayers in Ireland are being summoned by solicitors before republican courts for non-payment of rates; and what steps the Government are taking in the matter?

The Irish Government have received a number of such complaints since the truce, and instructions have been issued to the police directing them to disperse, if necessary by force, any pretended courts which attempt to interfere in any way with the legal rights or personal liberty of any individual or to inflict or enforce penalties of any kind.

Has any action been taken against these people who call people to these illegal courts?

Definite instructions have been given to the police to disperse any such courts they know of.

That was not my question. The question was whether any action has been or will be taken against these people who illegally summon citizens to these courts?

How many courts have been dispersed in consequence of the orders given to the police?

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that Dublin Corporation regularly summon people to these courts?


asked the Chief Secretary whether his attention has been drawn to a report in the Irish Press of 29th October of a description of a public sitting of the Waterford district republican court, in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Waterford, in which the so-called adjudicating magistrates were stated to be the Reverend Father Kelleher, presiding, the mayor, Alderman J. White, T.D., Councillor Kenny, and Mr. Luke Larkin; and whether he can state if any steps have been taken against those persons for their illegal action?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative, and to the second part in the negative. Instructions have since been issued, however, directing the police to take such steps as may be necessary to prevent the holding of any similar court.

In view of what the right hon. Gentleman has said in reply to another question, that the law was being vindicated, can he say what steps are being taken against these men for illegal action in forming themselves into an illegal court? Are they not going to be summoned, at any rate, for their illegal action?