asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that wholesale raids and enforced levies have recently been made by the Irish Republican Army in County Tipperary; whether large numbers of motor cars and other property have been seized; and what action the British Government have taken to secure the safety of the property of individuals in this and other counties in Southern Ireland, seeing that the British Government are still responsible for law and order in Southern Ireland.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware he has stated day after day that these matters are a cause of anxiety to the Government, yet meanwhile British subjects are being plundered? Does he not think it desirable to take some action to protect them?
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies as to the number of rifles, machine guns, rounds of ammunition, revolvers, motors, etc., belonging to the British Government which have been illegally taken by the Irish Republican Army from the Clonmel Police Barracks; whether the property has now been recovered; and what punishment has been inflicted on the members of the Irish Republican Army concerned in the theft of British property?
In the raid on the Clonmel Royal Irish Constabulary Barracks the following property was taken:—11 motor cars, 293 rifles and bayonets, 273 revolvers and pistols, three Lewis guns, 45 shot guns, 324,000 rounds of ammunition, 4,247 cartridges, and sundry small stores. Up to the present none of the property has been recovered and none of the raiders have yet been arrested. The matter is receiving the close attention of the Provisional Government.
Can the right hon. Gentleman give the House some further assurance that in a case like this, where an enormous amount of Government property has been stolen, action will be taken?
The policy of concentrating the forces of the Royal Irish Constabulary holding small positions in central barracks is now practically completed. In the case of Clonmel, it was delayed by a certain pause in the negotiations, but it is now practically finished, and I am assured that there is no danger of similar misfortunes occurring in other parts.
I should like notice of that question. Obviously it is vital to the Provisional Government not to allow themselves to be defied in public by lawless persons, and it is my duty to see that they have the means of dealing with such acts of defiance against Trish authority, and to provide them with such means. Then it will be up to them to take effective action, but until they have such resources I am bound to speak with circumspection.