§ MR. WILLIAM JOHNSTON (Belfast, S.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to a meeting of the United Irish League, held in Bantry on Sunday the 18th February, when, in the course of his speech, Mr. William O'Brien stated that alien landlordism has left the marks of its bloodstained fingers on the necks of an oppressed and suffering people, and that he advocated the destruction of landlordism and the ending of the rent office, and asked what had been gained by patience and quietness; whether he is aware that, on the Saturday of the same week, Mr. William Bird, J.P., a landowner and rent agent, was murdered in his office at Bantry; and whether it is the intention of the Government to take any action with respect to meetings of the United Irish League.
§ CAPTAIN DONELAN
Before the right hon. Gentleman answers, may I ask whether he is aware that many of the Unionist Members are pledged to the abolition of landlordism on the terms advocated by Mr. William O'Brien—namely, by compulsory purchase—
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. ATKINSON,) Londonderry, N.
My attention has been called 47 to the meeting referred to. According to the report published in the Freeman's Journal newspaper, dated February 19th, Mr. William O'Brien appears to have used language substantially to the purport and effect mentioned. The answer to the second paragraph is in the affirmative. A man has been arrested charged with the commission of the crime, and the investigation into his case is now proceeding. Under these circumstances I must abstain from expressing any opinion as to the alleged connection between the occurrences mentioned in the first paragraph and the crime. The Government have prevented, and will continue to prevent, meetings being held under the auspices of the United Irish League when there was, or in the future may be, reasonable ground for believing that the meetings, if held, would lead to intimidation or a breach of the peace.