asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the three officers and one soldier murdered at Macroom were employed on service when they were captured; and whether the Government, either individually or in concert with the Provisional Government, are going to take any further steps to catch the murderers and avenge the death of these gallant soldiers?
These officers and the soldiers with them were not on any special duty when they were kidnapped. In reply to the latter part of the question, the Provisional Government is continuing its inquiries into the matter, but I regret that they have hitherto not been able to trace the persons responsible for this outrage. With regard to the future steps which can be taken, I wish dis- tinctly to state that neither in this case nor in the case of any other servants or ex-servant of the Crown murdered in South Ireland since the signature of the Treaty will the British Government relinquish its efforts to secure the apprehension and punishment of the guilty persons. It would be quite impossible for the Irish Free State to retain the position of a civilised Government unless it were to make untiring exertions to secure the apprehension and punishment of persons guilty of having broken the solemn pact entered into between the representatives of the two countries by treacherous and brutal assassinations. There can be no question of drawing a veil over these events.
Has the attention of the right hon. Gentleman been drawn to the letter from the father of one of these murdered officers in Monday's "Times" stating they were seen to enter an inn at Macroom and that they never came out again, and that., if no one has been arrested, it is not for want of clues, but because there is no machinery of law and order in the district?
I have read the letter. It is, no doubt, true there has been no machinery of law and order in the district, up to the present. I trust as the time passes law and order will regain authority. Then will be the time when inquiry can be made and evidence gone into, and when, I trust, the guilty parties will he brought to justice.
Can the right hon. Gentleman not inform the House whether the innkeeper, or some persons living in the have been interrogated as to what happened to the officers after entering the premises?
I certainly cannot at the present time. I have said the district at present is not under the effective control of the Provisional Government. I have no means or methods of making inquiries other than those which have already been conducted.
How long is this to be permitted to go on?
I have given the hon. Gentleman answers to his questions. I should have thought he would have accepted them.