§ MR. W. J. CORBET (Wicklow, E.)
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If his attention has been called to the eviction of Bernard Rafferty on the estate of Lord Carysfort, in the County of Wicklow; whether it is true, as stated in The Daily News, thatTremendous excitement was caused when five naked children were ordered to be carried out by the Emergency men, the eldest child being seven years old and the youngest one year. The poor mother struggled hard to prevent this; but, despite her efforts, it was effected;and, whether the police were present assisting at the eviction?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR) (Manchester, E.)
The County Inspector of Constabulary reports that The Daily News' statement referred to is utterly misleading; that the eviction took place at 3.30 p.m., and did not cause much excitement; and that all concerned appear to have acted in a kind and forbearing manner. The children appear to have been purposely kept in bed to obstruct the eviction. The Sub-Sheriff appealed to the mother for a long time—he says himself upwards of an hour—to dress the children; but she refused, and refused also to say where their clothes were. The Sub-Sheriff made an urgent request to the County Inspector to allow two policemen to carry the children downstairs to a lower room, which, in the circumstances, the County Inspector sanctioned. The police did so in the gentlest manner, one of them wrapping his cape round a child. The bailiffs subsequently removed the children out of the house. The children appear to have been also kept in the lower sitting-room, wrapped in some bed-clothes, and were not removed until the house had been emptied of all its furniture. This would seem to be one of the ordinary attempts to excite public feeling by the deliberate concoction of dramatic incidents.
§ MR. W. J. CORBET
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the rent of this holding was £108, whilst the Poor 1755 Law valuation was only £88; that there was only two years' rent due; and that one half-year's rent was offered now, and another in September next?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
That does not arise out of the Question on the Paper; but if the hon. Gentleman will put down a further Question I shall be happy to answer it. I have at present no information as to the financial position of this case; but I am aware that in another case on the same estate the landlord acted with extraordinary forbearance.
§ THE LORD MAYOR OF DUBLIN (Mr. SEXTON) (Belfast, W.)
The right hon. Gentleman has made a grave imputation that there has been a deliberate conspiracy to excite public feeling in this case. May I ask whether the police made any inquiry as to whether there were actually any clothes to put on the children; and whether the Irish police have instructions in any case to withhold force in the execution of evictions when humanity requires that it should be withheld?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
There is every desire on the part of the police to see that every dictate of humanity is followed; but the hon. Gentleman will observe that if a mother refuses to dress her children that cannot be a reason for not carrying out an eviction.