§ MR. GILHOOLY (Cork, W.)
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention had been directed to the distribution and collection of voting papers at the 475 recent election of Poor Law Guardians for the Glenlough Electoral Division of the Bantry Union, when it appears that Constable Slacke had been deputed by his superior officer to bring voting papers from the Returning Officer, and distribute and collect them in the Glenlough Electoral Division, and that Mr. J. E. Barrett, J.P., subsequently went to the house of Constable Kavanagh, who was exempt from duty, and requested him to collect and distribute the voting papers at Glenlough; whether complaints have reached him that Constable Kavanagh left a voting paper at the house of a voter, named Eliza Connell, which he did not call for, and which her son, Peter Connell, subsequently brought to the Bantry Union; whether a similar complaint was made of Constable Kavanagh two years ago; were the instructions given to Constable Slacke to distribute and collect the voting papers withdrawn; and, if so, by whom; and, by what authority Constable Kavanagh distributed and collected the voting papers at Glenlough?
§ *THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
The constabulary authorities report that is not the case that Constable Slacke was deputed to distribute and correct the voting papers in the district mentioned; nor is it the case that Mr. J. E. Barrett, J.P., went to the house of Kavanagh and requested him to undertake that duty. It appears that Constable Kavanagh did leave a voting paper at the louse of Eliza Connell which he called for in due course, but it was not delivered back to him. It is true that the hon. Member who put this question made a similar complaint in May, 1887, but on careful inquiry it was found that there was no reason to believe that the constable did not act with impartiality. No instructions were given to Constable Slacke to distribute and collect the papers, and, therefore, no instructions were withdrawn. Constable Kavanagh was detailed for the duty by his Superior Officer, who has every confidence in his fitness for the work, and who considers it essential that the duty should be discharged by a policeman who has an extensive local knowledge, intimidation being largely practised in the divisions of the district, so much so that in 1886 a young constable who was engaged on this duty in a 476 neighbouring division was knocked down, and all the voting papers in favour of one of one of the candidates taken from him.