Royal Irish Constabulary of Athenry Part 2: A Debate in the House of Commons by Ronan Killeen

This is a debate about the police in Athenry on the 29th July 1909 in the House of Commons.

You can get these debates on Hansard
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmhansrd.htm



HC Deb 29 July 1909 vol 8 cc1443-7W 1443W


§ Mr. JOHN O'DONNELL asked the Chief Secretary what is the number of extra police stationed at present in the police sub-district of Athenry; the number of persons who were receiving police protection in the sub-district during the three last months of 1907 by patrol and by constant police protection, respectively; the number of specially reported cases during the first six months in 1907, and the

1444Wsame period in 1909, from this area; whether he is aware that there are several police huts on the lands held there by the Agricultural Department, Ireland, and that there is also a police canteen there; and will he state how many police there are stationed in such huts, how long they have been there, and when it is intended to remove them?



§ Mr. BIRRELL There are now 26 extra police stationed in the Athenry sub-district. During the last three months of 1907 thirty-four persons were protected by patrols, while two were under constant police protection. There were nine specially reported cases during the first six months of 1907, and five during the first six months of 1909. There are two police



huts containing 17 men and a police canteen on the lands referred to. One of the huts has been there since January and the other since February, 1908. I cannot say when it may be found possible to remove them.



§ Mr. JOHN O'DONNELL asked whether there is a regularly appointed constabulary canteen at Athenry; and, if so, what has been the turnover per month for the past six months at this canteen; and what 1445W has been the profit or loss on each month's trading?



§ Mr. BIRRELL I am informed by the police authorities that there is a regularly appointed constabulary canteen at Athenry. I do not know what the monthly turnover or the profit or loss thereon may be, and I do not think that any useful object would be attained by making inquiries into the matter. The loss, if any, does not fall on public funds.



§ Mr. JOHN O'DONNELL asked whether a deputation from Athenry waited on the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction, Ireland, and the Inspector-General, Royal Irish Constabulary, en 22nd January, 1908; who were the gentlemen who made up such deputation; what was the nature of its business; and what action, if any, has been taken by the Vice-President and the Inspector-General?



§ Mr. BIRRELL My right hon. Friend the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture informs me that on 22nd January, 1908, some visitors from Athenry, whose names he does not now remember, called at his office in Merrion-street in order to impress upon him that the burning of the house belonging to the Department at New Ford was not malicious. He advised them to place their views before the judge. On the same day Captain Shawe Taylor and Messrs. Daly, Ruane, Clery, Nolan, Holland, Finerty, and Murphy called on the Inspector-General of the Royal Irish Constabulary at Dublin Castle and urged him to reduce the police force in the Athenry district. It has not yet been found possible to comply with that request.



§ Mr. JOHN O'DONNELL asked the Chief Secretary whether it is the intention of the Government to reduce the police force in Athenry district to the regular number to which the place is entitled, seeing the peaceable condition of the district since the sale to the tenants of the several estates therein; and, if so, when will he take steps to do so?



§ Mr. BIRRELL The condition of the Athenry district cannot be regarded as satisfactory. The time has not yet come for considering the question of reducing the police force in the district.



§ Mr. JOHN O'DONNELL asked the Chief Secretary whether he is aware that, on 1st January, 1908, a public meeting was held at Athenry in connection with the 1446W agrarian struggle then in the district, when a committee was appointed for the purpose of discussing matters in connection therewith for the purpose of arriving at a peaceable and satisfactory settlement and preventing a continuance of hostilities in that district pending the passing of the Land Bill, which it was expected would be introduced into law; whether he is aware that land disputes were discussed by this committee, and will he say what has been the result of its work since then; whether one of the cases discussed related to a man named Thomas Curran, Athenry, who signed an agreement leaving the settlement of his dispute to the arbitration of Sir Anthony (now Lord) M'Donnell, and that Lord M'Donnell refused to undertake the task; whether he is aware that this man has been since under constant police protection notwithstanding the fact that on several occasions he asked the protection to be removed; and what is the reason a force of police is kept guarding a man's house against his will?



§ Mr. BIRRELL I am informed by the Constabulary authorities that an indoor meeting was held in Athenry in January, 1908, in connection with the state of the district, and that a committee was appointed with a view to a peaceable settlement of the matters in dispute. The committee has since met several times, but apparently with no good result. The statements with regard to the case of Thomas Curran are, I understand, correct. He is now protected by patrols. The decision as to the nature of the protection required in any particular case must be left to the police, who endeavour to afford such protection as unobtrusively as possible.



§ Mr. JOHN O'DONNELL asked the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland) how many police huts are on the lands now held by the Department at or near Athenry in addition to the Constabulary canteen; what was the cause for placing these huts on those lands; whether there has been any reason for such a display of force in connection with the working of this place; and, seeing that such display is likely to prevent the sons of farmers from availing themselves of the instruction paid for out of Treasury funds, whether he will, in the interests of peace as well as furthering the prospects of scientific agriculture in Galway county, recommend the removal of these huts from the lands worked by his Department at Athenry?

1447W

§ Mr. T. W. RUSSELL The inquiries contained in the first portion of the question should be addressed to my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary. The Department do not agree with the view expressed in the concluding portion of this question, and do not propose to take the action suggested.

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