§ 29. Mr. LUNDON
asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that numbers of innocent men were arrested at Charleville, county Cork, after the recent rebellion because of the alleged firing of revolver shots at a policeman; is he aware that the policeman was uninjured though the bullets, according to appearances and investigations, went through the peak of his cap; whether even the authorities, after due investigation of the case, were doubtful that the bullet holes in the cap could be possibly made without grave injury to the man who wore it at the time the alleged shooting took place if the firing were done by anybody bent on doing harm; is he further aware that many respectable citizens, both Nationalist and Unionist, in the district believe that the whole thing was a plot, and that the policeman put the cap on a hedge and fired through it himself; and, if no steps have been taken to hold an inquiry into the matter so far, will something be done to put the blame on the proper shoulders and not have the memories of Sergeant Sheridan recalled by outrages such as this?
On the evening of the 17th May three shots were fired at a constable of the Royal Irish. Constabulary near Charleville, of which one passed through the top of the cap that he was wearing at the time. A military detachment on the same evening arrested on suspicion fourteen Sinn Feiners, who were discharged next day in the absence of incriminating evidence. The police authorities, having investigated the matter, have no reason to doubt that the constable was deliberately fired at.
§ Mr. LUNDON
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that public bodies in Ireland as well as local benches of magistrates, consisting of Unionists as well as Nationalists, have condemned the action of the military authorities in interning these men, who are not Sinn Feiners but supporters of the Nationalist party in this House and in full sympathy with the Allies; and will he grant an inquiry into this case, because people in Ireland are absolutely convinced that the policeman referred to put his cap on a hedge and fired three shots through it himself?
I am not aware of the representations the hon. Member makes. As a matter of fact the men arrested were released next day on the order of the military authorities. As regards the allegation in the last part of the question it is without foundation. The constable's revolver was examined immediately after the occurrence and was found not to have been fired.