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Ireland

Volume 155: debated on Thursday 22 June 1922

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Malicious Injuries (Awards)

12.

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he can give to date the total number of awards for compensation made by Lord Shaw's Commission; and will he give the total cash award in respect of damage inflicted at the instance of British military autho- rities, and also in respect of damage inflicted at the instance of competent authorities of the Irish Republican Army?

The total number of the recommendations made by the Commission to date is seven. These have been representative cases taken with a view to determining certain principles which it is hoped will enable the Commission to deal expeditiously with a large proportion of the cases which are awaiting their decision. I am not in a position to furnish the information asked for in the latter part of the question, and I do not think that any useful purpose would be served by calling for such particulars at this stage of the Commission's labours.

When will the time arrive when we shall know exactly what we have to pay for the proceedings of the Government agents in Ireland during the late administration?

I am certain it will not be possible for any money to be finally disbursed without the House of Commons knowing it.

But in reply to questions put, will the right hon. Gentleman state clearly what is the bill for this administration?

I certainly have no reason to conceal any of the facts that may be brought to light. I understand that the hon. and gallant Gentleman thinks there is something very prejudicial—

Does the right hon. Gentleman consider it is spiteful curiosity to inquire what the taxpayer has got to pay as the result of the right hon. Gentleman's administration?

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that we might have protected ourselves against a considerable amount of this, if the suggestion made a year ago, or a year and a half ago, had been adopted, that we should have an insurance fund in respect of losses in Ireland similar to the one adopted in England against air-raids?

Can my right hon. Friend say when the awards made by Lord Shaw's Commission will be paid?

I hope that all these awards will be promptly paid by the Provisional Government.

Ex-Service Men (Cottages)

13.

asked the Chief Secretary whether, before the treaty, an agreement was come to between the Government and certain contractors in Ireland for the erection of ex-service men's cottages in that country; whether it was arranged that ex-service men were to be employed and subsequently to live in certain of the cottages; and whether any arrangements have been made whereby this understanding will be carried out?

The answer to the first and fourth parts of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the second part, the arrangement was that ex-service men should be employed as far as possible in the construction of these cottages, and this was, in fact, done, but there was no contractual obligation requiring none but ex-service men to be employed. As regards the third part of the question, the selection of ex-service men to live in the cottages was made on other grounds than the fact of their having been employed on their construction.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether in fact any ex-service men have had houses let to them, or are out of employment?

I said that an arrangement has been made, and, I understand, will be carried out.

No, Sir, I cannot, having regard to the general disturbed state of Ireland, but I have no doubt whatever the Provisional Government will enable us to carry out our obligations in Ireland to these men, and all arrangements will be made to that end.

Elections

43.

asked the Prime Minister whether the Government have any statement to make with regard to the Irish elections?

A full statement will be made on the Chief Secretary's Vote, which will be taken on Tuesday next.

Land Purchase

60 and 61.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) whether the changed status of Southern Ireland has in any way affected the liability of the British Government which they undertook under the provisions of the Wyndham Irish Land Purchase Act: whether, in any event, the British Government will make itself responsible that the financial provisions of that Act are completely carried out;

(2) whether the Treasury will continue to place a sum approximating from four to live million pounds at the disposal of the Irish Land Commission for the purpose of liquidating the liabilities of the Imperial Government under the Wyndham Irish Land Purchase Act; whether all those persons owning Irish estates who have reached the stage of pending transactions will, in the event of final sanction being given to their claims, receive payment; how long it will be before all pending transactions will be completed and paid and what is the estimated aggregate amount outstanding?

I would refer the hon. Member to the replies which my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary gave him on the 10th and 17th May last in which he was informed that it might be assumed that all pending purchase transactions would be completed and that it was contemplated that such transactions should be proceeded with in the same way as if there had been no change of Government. I cannot say how long it will be before all such transactions will be completed and paid. The estimated aggregate amount outstanding is approximately seven and a half million pounds. On the general question of land purchase, I can only say that negotiations between His Majesty's Government and the Provisional Government initiated some time ago, but that owing to the preoccupation of the Provisional Government with more urgent matters these negotiations have not yet been completed.

Super-Tax

63.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what arrangement has been come to by the Finance Minister of the. Southern Irish Provisional Government with regard to the assessment, levying, and collection of Super-tax in cases where the tax is incurred partly in respect of property in the Irish Free State and partly in respect of property in this country?

My right hon. Friend has asked me to reply to this question. As I explained in my reply of 6th April to my hon. and gallant Friend, the transfer to the Provisional Government of the functions of assessment, levying, and collection of Super-tax does not affect the basis or measure of the liability to that tax, and the tax which the Special Commissioners of Income Tax administer in Southern Ireland, as agents for the Provisional Government, continues to be assessed in one sum on a liable individual in respect of his liable income, wherever arising.

Irish Republican Army

64.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been called to a document headed Headquarters, 4th Northern Division, Irish Republican Army, addressed to all officers and men, which was recently, together with arms, ammunition, and a plan for mining roads, found by the police while searching a house in County Armagh, in which document, amongst other things, it was stated that their objective is a. Republic for an undivided Ireland; that the Dail Minister of Defence had given his word that the army shall be kept as the Irish Republican Army, and that the immediate job for them is, with the help of God, to make Ulster part of a free Irish Republic; and whether he will inquire of the Provisional Government in Southern Ireland whether they have any knowledge of this conspiracy to coerce Ulster into joining an Irish Republic and will take steps to suppress it?

I have seen a copy of the document. I am informed that the Provisional Government are not responsible for its issue and have no knowledge of the conspiracy referred to.

Has the right hon. Gentleman asked the Provisional Government whether they are taking steps to suppress the conspiracy?

68.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what connection there is between the armed forces in Southern Ireland, which call themselves the Irish Republican Army, and the Provisional Government of the Irish Free State?

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to his question addressed to me. on the 16th February.

Kidnappings, Rettigo

66.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the information he has received yet enables him to say if the four loyalists kidnapped from the Pettigo district by Free State forces a fortnight ago have been released; if not, whether they are alive or dead; and, if the former, where They are and if they are in safety?

I am not yet in a. position to make any statement with regard to these men, but I hope to be able to do so in the course of a few days.

Kidnapping, Cavan

67.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will urge the Provisional Government to procure the release of ex-Sergeant-Major Daniel Pollock, Royal Irish Fusiliers, reported to have been arrested in Cavan, while bidding goodbye to his friends, by four armed men and conveyed to an unknown destination?

I am inquiring as to the whereabouts and safety of this man, and endeavouring to obtain his release.

(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he has received information of the kidnapping of David Pollock, son of Sergeant-Major Pollock, both demobilised soldiers, which took place at Cavan on 14th June; if he is aware that David Pollock's life was threatened and that apparently he had not returned to Cavan before 21st June; and can he give any information as to David Pollock; and what steps are being taken to obtain his release?

I am sorry to say that my hon. and gallant Friend's notice has not been received. Perhaps he will repeat the question on Monday?

Has not the right hon. Gentleman received information addressed to him from Cavan setting out the whole facts of the case?

Republican Courts

69.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been drawn to a Provisional Government Order, dated 31st April, 1922, addressed to all Dail court officials and providing that injunctions restraining proceedings in ex-enemy courts, i.e., His Majesty's High Court, will not in future be issued except on the authority of the full Supreme Court of Dail Eireann, i.e., republican court; whether the judges of these Dail courts are paid by the Provisional Government; and whether, in view of the Order referred to, the Provisional Government takes responsibility for these republican courts?

I am informed that no such order has been issued by the Provisional Government. The judges and officials of the so-called republican courts are not paid or controlled by them, but form part of the Dail Eireann organisation which existed before the Treaty. As regards the remainder of the question, I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the reply I gave him on Wednesday of last week.

Does the right hon. Gentleman know that there is such an Order, a copy of which I have in my hand, and which, if he will allow me, I will hand on to him?

I am informed that it has not been issued by the Provisional Government, and I shall be glad to have any information which contradicts that statement.

It was handed by an official of the Provisional Government to the Gentleman who gave it to me.