Reprisals (Compensation Claims).

Oral Answers to Questions — Ireland. – in the House of Commons on 22nd March 1922.

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Photo of Lieut-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert James Lieut-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert James , Bromley

42.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that many Sinn Feiners in the South of Ireland, their houses having been destroyed as reprisals, received charitable contributions from the White Cross or similar funds; that these contributions were augmented by compulsory levies from the neighbouring loyalist population; that the houses were in many instances rebuilt on a better scale than before their destruction; and that, in spite of these facts, full claims are being put in for the complete rebuilding of these houses; and is he prepared to disallow such claims?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

I have no information regarding the matters mentioned in the first four parts of the question. In reply to the last part, as I informed the House in the Debate on the Supplementary Estimates on February 24th, a Commission will shortly be set up with power to hear all outstanding claims with respect to damage to property arising between 21st January, 1919, and 11th July last, and to revise all existing decrees with respect to such damage. The matters referred to by the hon. and gallant Member are obviously germane to the Commission's inquiry, and will, I have no doubt, be taken into consideration by them.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert James Lieut-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert James , Bromley

If I supply the right hon. Gentleman with facts, will he take the necessary steps?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

The Commission will be appointed in a few days, and it is the business of the Commission to go into this matter, which is entirely a relevant matter for them.

Photo of Mr Ronald McNeill Mr Ronald McNeill , Canterbury

How is the Commission to obtain unintimidated evidence?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

I cannot think of any novel departure.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert James Lieut-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert James , Bromley

How will the Commission protect witnesses who give evidence?