§ MR. PATRICK O'BRIEN (Monaghan, N)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether it is true that the 2nd Dragoons, Royal Scots Greys, were recently on duty at the evictions on the Olphert estate, in the County of Donegal; whether Captain J. A. W. O'N. Torrens was in command of a company of the Royal Scots Greys on that occasion; whether he is aware that a Circular has been issued in the County of Londonderry, and the North of Ireland generally, bearing the signature of a J. A. Torrens, Somerset, Coleraine, soliciting subscriptions for Mr. Wybrants Olphert, to recoup him for certain rents alleged to have been withheld pending the concession of reductions demanded by his tenantry; and that enclosed with the Circular was a letter signed by Captain Torrens in which he states that it was not Mr. Olphert's intention to yield in any way to the demands of his tenants, and professed entire ignorance of any negotiations for an arbitration; whether the Captain J. A. W. O'N. Torrens, given in the Army List as belonging to the 297 2nd Dragoons, Scots Greys, is the same officer whose name is attached to the Circular referred to; and, if so, whether such interference in a political question is permissible on the part of an officer engaged on military duty in the district; and, whether he will take any, and what, steps in the matter?
§ * THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. E. STANHOPE,) Lincolnshire, Horncastle
The facts are substantially as stated in the Question. The Circulars referred to were issued on the 10th and 20th of May, and were signed by Captain Torrens some time after he had ceased to command the detachment employed on eviction duty. Captain Torrens is an Ulster landlord, and was acting purely in his private capacity. Under the circumstances, it does not appear necessary to take any steps in the matter.
§ MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)
Is not Captain Torrens liable on any day to be called upon to execute evictions? Under the circumstances, is it desirable that he should be allowed to issue Circulars of this nature?
§ * MR. E. STANHOPE
Captain Torrens is an officer in the Army, and I do not think there is any necessity to remind him of the nature of his duty.
§ MR. P. O'BRIEN
Do the Queen's Regulations allow officers in the Army to take an active part in the proceedings of landlords against their tenants?
§ MR. P. O'BRIEN
Then why should not the gentleman be punished for violating the Queen's Regulations?