§ MR. J. O'CONNOR (Tipperary, S.)
said, he wished to ask the Solicitor 335 General for Ireland a Question of which he had given him private Notice in reference to the sentence of Mr. J. J. O'Kelly, M.P. It was, Whether the attention of the hon. and learned Gentleman had been called to the statements on cross-examination of Constable Clear, a witness in the case, to the effect—That he had given drink to witnesses whom he had summoned to attend a private inquiry under the Crimes Act at Loughrea. That he gave the witnesses the drink in the ordinary course of friendship in a general way, the same as to any others, not knowing at the time that they would become witnesses, and that he had not given drink to persons after he had known they had become witnesses.He also asked, whether the hon. and learned Gentleman was aware that the witnesses referred to were witnesses at what were known as a Star Chamber inquiry in Ireland; whether this treating of witnesses was not the usual practice among the Constabulary in Ireland; whether the conduct of Constable Clear had not the approval of his superior officers; and, whether the cost of the drink was defrayed out of moneys provided by Parliament?
§ THE SOLICITOR GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. MADDEN) (Dublin University)
said, his attention had only been called to the matter by the Question of the hon. Gentleman, and he was not in a position now to give an answer; but he would make inquiries.
§ THE LORD MAYOR OF DUBLIN (Mr. SEXTON) (Belfast, W.)
I wish to ask the hon. and learned Gentleman, whether the Government will take any steps to remit the sentence passed on my hon. Friend (Mr. O'Kelly) on the evidence of persons who, according to this policeman, had been supplied with drink by him; and, also, whether the Government, who frequently issue Circulars to the Constabulary Force in Ireland, would have any objection to inform the police that it is undesirable and criminal to give drink to persons about to be examined on oath with a view to influence their evidence?
§ MR. MADDEN
The Question of the hon. Member is founded on the hypothesis that the drink was given to the witness. I have promised to make inquiry into the matters of fact.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)
Will the hon. and learned Gentleman take care to inquire into the point of the Question—that is, whether 336 there is any provision in the funds voted by Parliament to supply money to Constabulary to be spent in this way?
§ MR. J. O'CONNOR
I will put the Question on the Paper for Monday, and I will require a full and complete answer.
§ DR. FITZGERALD (Longford, S.)
I wish to state that it was this very constable that followed me about the country when I went to Ireland to be elected a Member of Parliament.
§ MR. CLANCY (Dublin Co., N.)
I wish to ask the hon. and learned Gentleman, whether it is true that Mr. O'Kelly, the Member for Roscommon, has been sentenced to four months' imprisonment for a speech delivered at a public meeting; whether the offence—if there was any offence at all—was not the offence of sedition, sedition being a political offence; and, whether the Government approve of a sentence usually inflicted on criminals of a burglar type?