This morning at dawn the forces of the Provisional Government attacked the insurgent bands occupying the Four Courts in Dublin. This decision in no way arose out of the Debate in this House, nor in consequence of the declaration of His Majesty's Government to Parliament. It arose as the result of further aggressive anarchic action by Mr. Rory O'Connor's insurgents, culminating in the forcible seizure of one of the principal officers of the Irish Army.
I can add little to the information which has already been published by the Press on the course of the fighting. The Provisional Government are solely responsible for the operations, and they have so far made me no communication on the subject. They have declined all assistance from the Imperial forces, except so far as equipment is concerned.
The fighting is still in progress, and I have no trustworthy information as to casualties. The Four Courts appears to be a position of considerable structural strength, and no definite result has yet been achieved.