Kidnapped British Officers.

Ireland. – in the House of Commons on 10th May 1922.

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Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

69.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he can now inform the House whether the three British officers who were kidnapped in Southern Ireland about a fortnight ago are still in captivity; and what action the British Government intend to take if the Provisional Government are unable to secure their immediate release?

Photo of Mr Rupert Gwynne Mr Rupert Gwynne , Eastbourne

71.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the names and regiments of the three officers who were recently kidnapped near Macroom; and if he has yet any information concerning them?

Photo of Mr Hamar Greenwood Mr Hamar Greenwood , Sunderland

I regret that I have as yet received no further information regarding this matter. The military authorities are of opinion that in the interests of the officers concerned it would be undesirable at the present moment to publish their names.

Photo of Mr Rupert Gwynne Mr Rupert Gwynne , Eastbourne

What step is the right hon. Gentleman taking to get their release?

Photo of Mr Hamar Greenwood Mr Hamar Greenwood , Sunderland

I answered that question a few moments ago. Every possible step has been taken, both here and by military authorities in Ireland to find out where these officers are.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley , Fylde

Does the right hon. Gentleman seriously inform the House of Commons that the Government are sitting down and allowing British officers to be kidnapped without anything tangible being done to secure their release?

Photo of Mr Thomas Adair Mr Thomas Adair , Glasgow Shettleston

What sources of information have the Government as to what is going on in Southern Ireland

Photo of Mr Thomas Adair Mr Thomas Adair , Glasgow Shettleston

Have they any source of information other than the Provisional Government; if so, is it not time they turned to some other source?

Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

Is it not now nearly a fortnight since these officers were kidnapped—[An HON. MEMBER: "Three weeks!"]—yes, nearly three weeks, and is the British Government not going to take some steps to inform the House of Commons of the steps they are taking?

Photo of Mr Hamar Greenwood Mr Hamar Greenwood , Sunderland

They are taking exactly the steps in regard to the kidnapped officers that I have given in my main answer. General Sir Nevil Macready, the Commander-in-Chief in Ireland, is, I know, taking every possible step to find out where these kidnapped officers now are. It would be impossible for me to give details; but I shall put the questions of hon. Members before the Commander-in-Chief. So far as the British Government is concerned, we are pressing upon the Provisional Government that the matter is one of anxiety in the House.

Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

Is there any Intelligence Department in Southern Ireland that would enable the criminals to be tracked and apprehended?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley , Fylde

Do British officers now go about armed when they are outside barracks; if not, how can they be expected to protect themselves if the Government cannot protect them?