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Volume 149: debated on Friday 16 December 1921

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Land Purchase


asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he has received communications urging that the pledge given by the Government that a Bill to complete land purchase in Ireland would be introduced and proceeded with pari passu with the Measure consti- tuting a part of Ireland a Free State should be observed; and what answer has he been able to make?

I am not in a position to make any statement at the present time on the question of the completion of land purchase.

May I ask whether it is the policy of the Government that the British taxpayer should be further taxed to provide the benefits which they cheerfully provided for united Ireland for those who advocate separation?

Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether, if the Imperial Government does not deal with the residue of the Irish land question in so far as the Irish Free State is concerned, it will deal with it in so far as Ulster, which will remain in this Imperial Parliament, is concerned?

Does it mean that the pledge given by the Government in regard to the 1920 Act is now dead?

I must ask the hon. and gallant Member to accept the answer that I have given as the best that I can give.

Will my right hon. Friend, in considering this matter, bear in mind that under the proposed settlement the position of Irish landlords will be one of intense danger and that they are entitled to the protection of this Parliament?

Malicious Injuries (Compensation)


asked the Chief Secretary what provision is being made for the payment to owners of destroyed police barracks of the compensation awarded to them by the courts; whether he is aware that in some cases these owners have been left without rent or compensation for nearly two years; and whether he will take steps to remedy this hardship as soon as possible?

I would refer the hon. and learned Baronet to the reply that I gave yesterday to a private notice question on this subject asked by the hon. and gallant Member for Finchley (Colonel Newman).

Navy And Army And Air Force Institutes


asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether orders have been issued to Navy and Army and Air Force institutes in Ireland that in future only Irish goods are to be sold; and, if so, on what grounds this has been ordered?

The reply to the first part of the Noble Lord's question is in the negative; the latter part does not therefore arise.

Is not my hon. and gallant Friend aware that a circular has been received by the depots of the institutes in Ireland instructing them to boycott British goods and to deal only in Irish goods, and is he not aware that a copy of this circular has been sent to the War Office?

Prisoners (Release)


asked the Prime Minister whether it is the intention of the Government to release all Irish political prisoners?

The question of an amnesty will be considered if the Agreement is approved on both sides.

Will the right hon. Gentleman give an undertaking to exclude murderers from that?

Irish Free State (Flag)

(by Private Notice) asked the Prime Minister whether he proposes to communicate with the Sinn Fein negotiators as to whether the flag of the Irish Free State will not be the present Sinn Fein flag, but the Union Jack with such minor alterations as local patriotism requires, as in the case of all other self-governing Dominions within the British Empire, before the proposals of the Treaty are embodied in a Bill to be placed before this House?

As far as I know, no condition as to the flag was imposed in any other Dominion, and the Government have followed the precedent of the earlier cases.

Will not the Government communicate with the Sinn Fein negotiators on this question of the Flag, which no doubt will excite considerable interest in the country and in this House?


asked the Chief Secretary whether he has any further information with reference to the summary discharge from Gormanstown Camp of 19 constable-mechanics of the Royal Irish Constabulary, on the 14th and 15th of December, without notice, and without their fares being paid to their homes?

I understand that a number of constable-mechanics, on completion of their engagement, were through inadvertence discharged from Gormanstown Camp on the dates stated in the question without being given return railway warrants. As soon as this mistake was brought to notice, steps were at once taken to prevent its recurrence and to rectify it as far as regards the men who had not been given warrants on discharge.

Murder And Outrage

(by Private Notice) asked the Chief Secretary whether he has any information other than that which has appeared in the Press, with reference to the murder of Sergeant Enright, R.I.C., and the wounding of Constable Timmoney, and whether he has seen the report that a man named Joseph Cahill has just been released from Waterford Gaol, and that prior to his release he was taken to the office of the Governor of the prison, where a military officer was waiting with two telegrams in his hand, one of which said that Cahill had been sentenced to penal servitude for life, and the other ordered his immediate release; and what is the explanation of this extraordinary procedure?

I regret to state that Sergeant Enright was murdered and Constable Timmoney wounded on the 14th instant, as stated in the question. Steps have been taken to secure the co-operation of the responsible leaders of Sinn Fein with a view to the arrest of the miscreants involved in this crime. As regards the second part of the question, I have no information as to what took place at Waterford Gaol. The facts in regard to the case of Joseph Cahill are, I understand, that the confirming officer in the exercise of his discretion, while confirming the finding of the Court, decided to remit the sentence imposed.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the responsible leaders of Sinn Fein have yet helped the Government to find a single murderer?

Yes, they have co-operated. They have helped the Government in several cases.

They have helped the Government in inquiries endeavouring to secure the arrest of murderers.

Is the right Gentleman aware that the position of the Royal Irish Constabulary is a matter of very great concern at the moment throughout Ireland, and that, unless something is done immediately, I do not know what will happen in the North and the South?