§ 6. Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether Frank Hardy was sentenced to five years' imprisonment for forgery and released after only eight months' imprisonment in 1919, supplied with money, and employed as secret service agent for nine months, until he was exposed by the hon. Member for Cavan, East, before a meeting of journalists; whether Frank Hardy testifies to the truth of the above, and states that other convicts were released to take service under the Government; and what action he proposes to take?
§ The CHIEF SECRETARY for IRELAND (Lieut.-Colonel Sir Hamar Greenwood)
Before I answer this question may I say, with reference to Irish questions generally, that 44 new questions appeared on the Paper yesterday 1338 for answer to-day. I am most anxious to supply the fullest possible answers, but I appeal to hon. Members to give me at least three days' notice, and also to remember that it is difficult to ask officers who are searching for assassins in any disturbed area to secure quickly the information which the House requires.
The answer to the question is as follows:—This man was convicted of false pretences on 3rd December, 1918, and was sentenced to five years' penal servitude on 17th April, 1919. His sentence was reduced by the Lord Lieutenant to one of three years' penal servitude, and on 29th July, 1919, he was released on licence. This clemency was shown to him for no other reason than that his wife was ill and in poor circumstances, and that he himself gave promise of amendment. I have no knowledge, other than that from statements which have appeared in the Press, as to what happened to Hardy subsequent to his release, except that in May, 1920, he had employment as a journalist on a religious paper in London, and was well reported on by the police. The statement that convicts have been released to take service under Government is untrue.
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
May I say that I put this question down a fortnight ago, so that the Chief Secretary's strictures do not apply to me. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that. Frank Hardy is going about London seeing influential people and taking his oath that these things are true, and that he has seen a Member of the Government and sworn to him that they are true?
§ Mr. MacVEAGH
If he had seven previous convictions against him, how did he get into the service of the Crown?