(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he can give the House any information with regard to the malicious destruction by fire of the Protestant orphanage at Clifden, County Galway, at the end of last week, whether the 60 boys and girls and the staff of the orphanage are now in a place of safety, who will be responsible for their housing and maintenance, and whether he has any information as to the perpetrators of this dastardly outrage.
Information was received late on the evening of the 30th June that one of the two orphanages at Clifden, County Galway, had been destroyed by fire, and that the inmates had taken refuge in the other orphanage. A destroyer was ordered to proceed from Queenstown to Clifden with instructions to investigate the facts on the spot, and to remove such of the staff and inmates of the orphanages as might appear to be in serious peril. Two wireless messages have been received from the officer commanding the destroyer, which I will read to the House:
Is it not a fact that it is only the boys who have been removed and that the girls are still left there because the Commander thought the boys were in most danger and took them away, but the girls are still left there with only a matron to lake care of them in this village?
Clearly, while resident in this country they would come within the purview of the Commission at the head of which my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Chelsea (Sir S. Hoare) somewhat uneasily reposes. I understand the arrangements in the first instance are due to private munificence.
Do we understand aright that the reason assigned for this outrage was as a reprisal for the loyalty of the inmates? Does that mean anything except that the children in this orphanage were Protestants?
Will instructions be given to the Admiralty to remove the girls if the facts are as I have indicated, that they have not been removed, as they are obviously in danger?