Murders.

Oral Answers to Questions — Ireland. – in the House of Commons on 26th June 1922.

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Photo of Viscount  Curzon Viscount Curzon , Battersea South

90.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many British subjects in Southern Ireland have been murdered or have died of wounds since the signing of the Treaty; whether it is the policy of His Majesty's Government to relinquish no effort to secure the punishment of the guilty persons: and whether it is his intention to make representations to this effect to the Provisional Government of Southern Ireland in the same terms as has been made in the case of the murder of servants of the Crown?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

In reply to the first part of the question, the number of persons murdered in Southern Ireland since 6th December is as follows:—

Serving members of the Royal Irish Constabulary15
Ex-members of the Royal Irish Constabulary8
Soldiers8*
Ex-soldiers3
Civilians15
* These figures do not include the three officers and the soldier kidnapped at Macroom, or the soldier kidnapped at Rathdawney in January.

In reply to the second and third parts of the question, it is for the Provisional Government, so long as they are responsible for the maintenance of law and order in the area within their jurisdiction, to take such steps as may be possible to trace and punish the guilty persons; and we shall expect them to do this.

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

What steps are you taking to assure it? It is no use expecting it unless you do something.

Photo of Mr Frederick Banbury Mr Frederick Banbury , City of London

If the Provisional Government do nothing, as they already have done nothing, is the right hon. Gentleman going to sit still and do nothing?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

No, Sir. I said the other day that we were not going to allow a single one of these cases to drop. They will be pressed by us upon the Provisional Government on every opportunity that is open to us, and I venture to think that in proportion as they become a settled, ordered Government, in that proportion our influence and pressure upon them will become more effective.

Photo of Sir Henry Craik Sir Henry Craik , Combined Scottish Universities

Did not the right hon. Gentleman say that he would regard what went on in Ireland with stony indifference?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

I did not say anything of the sort. My right hon. Friend is taking one phrase out of one part of my speech, and applying it to a quite different set of circumstances—a proceeding far different from his usual standard in dealing with Parliamentary controversy. I said that if Ireland continued to degenerate into anarchy, it would 'be watched with the stony indifference of the world. By that, I meant, and was understood to mean, that there would be no sympathy for the Irish people in foreign countries if, having been given this splendid chance, they throw it away.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

This matter can be debated later to-day.

Photo of Sir Henry Craik Sir Henry Craik , Combined Scottish Universities

In saying that the rest of the world would regard it with stony indifference, did the right hon. Gentleman include this country, which has a responsibility which the rest of the world has not.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

I certainly do not consider that we can indefinitely con- tinue to regard with indifference a progressive degeneration into anarchy throughout Ireland.

Photo of Mr Ronald McNeill Mr Ronald McNeill , Canterbury

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether in his mind lie has fixed any period at which his patience will break down?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

I have certainly fixed in my own mind certain tests, both of circumstances and of time, which would determine the moment when a change of policy is necessary.

Photo of Mr Ronald McNeill Mr Ronald McNeill , Canterbury

Will the right hon. Gentleman give it to the House?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

If I am allowed to discuss the matter later on.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

These matters are for debate later.