§ MR. WILLIAM KENNY (Dublin, St. Stephen's Green)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if his attention has been drawn to the recent outrage at Clare Island, on the West Coast of Ireland; is he aware that, on Sunday the 21st May, the people of the locality destroyed the meadow land of a farmer named Grady, by turning in upon it the horses and cattle of the district, and that, on Grady and his son interfering for the protection of his property, they were roughly handled and assaulted by the crowd; that the crowd hoisted a green flag when they had completed the destruction of the meadow; whether Grady's only offence was the taking of an evicted farm; if he has information that this is only one of a series of outrages that have been perpetrated in the island within the last month; and what steps the Government propose to put an end to such practices?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (MR. J. MORLEY,) Newcastle-upon-Tyne
I am informed that Grady is not in occupation as tenant of an evicted farm on Clare Island, but that he is taking care of the meadow on the farm. It is true that on the 21st of May the meadow was destroyed by being eaten down and trampled upon, and that a flag was erected by the crowd. Grady was assaulted, but not seriously, when endeavouring to prevent the trespass, and for this offence a prosecution has been ordered against certain of his assailants. Disturbances previously occurred on the Island on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th of May, when a bailiff was making seizures for rent, and directions have been given to the police to institute proceedings against the ringleaders of these disturbances also.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)
I should like to ask whether Clare Island is not the Island visited by Miss Balfour on account of the great distress prevailing there, and also by Lady Zetland, and whether its desperate condition did not form in the last Parliament the subject of continual Debate, so much so that the evictions which were to be carried out were abandoned under the pressure that was brought to bear by the Leader of the Opposition when he was Chief Secretary?
§ MR. J. MORLEY
I believe that the facts mentioned by my hon. and learned Friend are correct, except that the action referred to was not taken by the Leader of the Opposition but by his successor in the office of Chief Secretary.
§ MR. MACARTNEY (Antrim, S.)
Does the right hon. Gentleman say that any pressure was brought to bear by the Chief Secretary?
§ MR. J. MORLEY
To the best of my recollection certain legal proceedings were withdrawn in consequence of the then Chief Secretary becoming aware of the most desperate and deplorable condition of some of the people in the district.
MR. JAMES LOWTHER (Kent, Thanet)
Do I understand the right hon. Gentleman to say that the Executive Government interfered in any way between the owner of the land and his right to recover his rents?
§ MR. J. MORLEY
If the right hon. Gentleman has any doubt as to what occurred he had better refer to the reports of what was said on the subject by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leeds (Mr. Jackson).