SITUATION IN SOUTH
The following was communicated
to the Press on Friday evening by the military authorities:- Headquarters,
4 p.m., April 28.
The situation generally in the South of Ireland Command is good.
Reports received to-day from the Garrison of Galway, Cork, Waterford,
Wexford, Tralee, Limerick, Clonmel and other stations in the South
of Ireland state that these towns are now, and have been up to
the present, perfectly quiet.
Reinforcements from England have arrived. In the South Irish Command
adequate precautions have been taken to deal with any disturbance
that may arise.
National Volunteers at Cork, Tipperary, and other places have
offered their service to assist in the preservation of order.
This offer has been accepted by the General Officer commanding.
Martial law has been proclaimed for all Ireland. It is hoped that
the public will assist by implicitly obeying any orders given
by the military or Constabulary authorities, as otherwise it may
be necessary to issue drastic regulations affecting the public
THE HOUSE OF LORDS
DISCUSS THE DUBLIN REVOLT.
LORD MIDLETON’S ATTACK.
DETAILS OF RIOTS
In the House of Lords, Viscount
Midleton asked his Majesty’s Government whether they could
give any information as to the steps which had been taken to repress
the disorders in Dublin and elsewhere in Ireland. In putting this
question he thought it due to their lordships to make a statement,
so far as he could, on the position which had caused those disturbances
to arise, and with a view to pressing the Government to take more
adequate steps to prevent the spread of those disorders to other
parts of the country (hear hear.) A statement was read to them
that the position in Dublin was well in hand. What did that mean?
The previous day, about 12 o’clock, some of the most important
places in Dublin were occupied by the Sinn Fein organisation.
Several offices and other persons were shot. So far as his information
went, when the statement was made at 4 o’clock on Wednesday
afternoon, not only were the rebels in possession of a variety
of most important places in Dublin, but no attempt had been made
to dislodge them. Could that be held to be a situation well in
hand? It appeared to him to be a situation well in hand on the
part of the rebels (laughter and “hear, hear,”) because
the government had not been sufficiently provided with troups
to deal with the insurrection. But that was not the only important
point. Telegraphic communication had been almost entirely interrupted.
The rebels, he understood, seized the Post Office, cut the wires,
and, unless he was misinformed, also cut the cable to this country,
so that a good deal of the news of what had passed had come by
“A BOLT FROM THE BLUE.”
They were assured that the situation
was excellent and that no further trouble had arisen in other
parts of the country. What they should like to be assured of was
that, as this particular movement in Dublin came upon his Majesty's
Government as a bolt from the blue, they had provided themselves
with sufficient forces in other parts of the country to prevent
the spread of this disorder or others arising from the same source,
organised bodies of Sinn Feiners whom the government had ignored
in other places as in Dublin during the past few months. He desired
to distinguish in this matter between his Majesty's Government
and the Irish Government. Members of the Cabinet had been so deeply
engrossed with the very grave issues connected with the war that
it was possible that a good deal of what he was going to say would
not come before the whole Cabinet, but would be dealt with by
the Irish Government. He meant more especially the member of the
Irish Government who sat in the Cabinet, the Chief Secretary,
because obviously the Lord Lieutenant, who he had no doubt, was
doing all he could to deal with the present emergency, had not
the authority of the Chief Secretary, who was the Chief Executive
Officer of the Crown in Ireland.
Why had this business come upon the Government as a bolt from
the blue? He spoke with some knowledge, and he did not think the
Government would be able to deny a single one of the facts he
was going to state. In the first place the Irish Government had
been perfectly aware that not in Dublin alone large bodies of
Sinn Feiners had existed, perfectly armed, perfectly equipped,
and constantly drilling for some months past. Secondly, they had
possessed explosives in considerable quantities. Thirdly, that
they were well provided with money, the origin of which was known
to the Irish Government. Beyond this, the avowed purpose of the
Sinn Feiners were set forth, week after week, by a variety of
newspapers published in Dublin and elsewhere, which the Irish
Government had allowed to continue without making any but the
most feeble efforts to suppress. The heads of this organisation
were well known to the Irish Government, and, except in two cases,
the Irish Government decided that they would not deal with them.
WARNINGS TO THE IRISH GOVERNMENT.
Their lordships were tongue-tied
by the war in regard to bringing forward matters in public which
ordinarily would, naturally and properly be brought before Parliament;
but he asked them accept his statement that every one of these
points had been brought, not once, but constantly, and up to the
most recent date, by the most influential persons possible to
the notice of the Irish Government, with the urgent request that
they should take the authority of Parliament to deal with them,
if they had not sufficient authority already. Nothing had been
left undone by interview or memoranda, or the giving of evidence
to induce the Irish Government to act. Yet the Irish Government
allowed parades of the Sinn Feiners to continue Sunday after Sunday,
they allowed those papers to circulate, they allowed posters of
the most seditious character, especially directed against recruiting,
to be put up broadcast throughout Ireland. As recently as last
Sunday all these matters were brought before the Irish Government
with an intimation that if they did not deal with them quickly
the opportunity might come too late. He had seen officers who,
not a week ago, had been warned by the police that they would
have to keep their men in barracks because they might be needed
in Dublin for a sudden emergency. Did that wake up the Irish Government?
Not the least. All the officers desiring it were allowed to go
on leave. The Chief Secretary himself remained in London. The
Commander of the Forces in Ireland was allowed to cross to England
last Friday night. The Lord Lieutenant was to have proceeded to
Belfast on Thursday, but for other reasons he had to put off his
visit till Monday, and fortunately, he was still in Dublin. He
was informed, but was not certain that the Head of the Royal Irish
Constabulary also came to England on Friday. He knew, because
he saw it himself, a large number of officers – in fact
a paralysing number of officers – were allowed to attend
races in the neighbourhood of Dublin and Cork on Monday, and were
absent still in large numbers. Others were seized in their attempts
to get there. He could not conceive any Government, having all
those warning, being so blind as to allow such a state of things
arise and to be paralysed by the absence of all its heads when
such difficulties were seen to be ahead.
THE CHIEF SECRETARY.
One man, whatever he might have
to say afterwards, was bound now to be at his post, and that was
the Chief Secretary (hear, hear). He hoped the Government would
assure them that if the Chief Secretary had not returned to Ireland
already he would return without delay (hear, hear). Grave decisions
had to be taken in Dublin already, such as to the proclamation
of the Sinn Fein conspiracy. It was not fair to subordinates ,
nor was it fair to the country, where the Civil Chief was responsible,
even if the country were placed under martial law, to leave the
military authorities alone responsible for those measures as to
which the civilian head must necessarily be consulted. He knew
that some members of the Government were at that moment beleaguered
and unable to act; but if the Lord Lieutenant was able to act
and full authority given to him, he should feel perfect confidence
that his Excellency would do all that an Englishman could do in
the circumstances. But how could they give a man full authority
who was not himself responsible? It was the Chief Executive Officer
representing the Crown who ought to return to this post from which
he had been so long absent (hear, hear).
A POSITION OF UTMOST DANGER.
Continuing, Lord Midleton said:-
The other point to which I wish to refer is the position outside
Dublin. It is no answer to say that this has arisen in Dublin,
and that we have sent sufficient troops to deal with it. What
we want to prevent is the spread of this trouble to other parts
of the country. The Government are perfectly aware that divisions
of the Sinn Fein organisation, just as well armed and equipped,
furnished with machine guns, and in all respects, except that
of actual drill, able to take the field, exist in other places
besides Dublin. The Government cannot be too prompt in sending
sufficient forces there to make their proclamation good and effective
by disarming and arresting the leaders of this organisation, and
I ask the Government not to wait until the trouble has spread
to make those exertions, which I have no doubt they will make
as they find that the necessity has arisen.
I venture to ask this, not with any desire to make any capital
out of the unfortunate events that have arisen, but because I
feel that the present position in Ireland is one of the utmost
danger, if not promptly grappled with. The inaction of the Government
during the last few weeks had been a serious discouragement to
the loyal population and an almost complete bar to successful
recruiting (cheers). Leniency towards those who have broken the
law in this conspicuous manner and been guilty of these treasonable
practices, and of murder and other outrages, could only be misinterpreted
in Ireland. Up to this moment the Government have been sheltering
under their desire not to drive into extreme courses men who might
otherwise be won over, and not to divide the country at a critical
time. They decided not to deal with the Sinn Fein conspiracy;
the Sinn Fein conspiracy has now dealt with them. I, therefore,
hope that the Government, without the slightest fear that they
will be accused of panic, will take effective measures for the
vindication of the law (hear, hear).
LORD LANSDOWNE’S REPLY.
AN OUTBREAK PREDESTINED TO FAILURE.
THE CASEMENT RAID.
The Marquis of Lansdowne said
– I certainly make no complaint for my noble friend having
described the present situation in Ireland as one of considerable
danger if it is not grappled with. I believe that this outbreak
will prove to be a futile outbreak and I believe it to be predestined
to failure and to ignominious failure. But I am not on that account
at all disposed to minimise the serious inconvenience which is
likely to obtain in the necessity of dealing vigorously with it.
The principal facts are, I think, generally known. On the 24th
the rebels made a half hearted attack upon Dublin Castle, which
was not pressed thorough. They occupied Stephen’s Green,
they held up troops on their way from the barracks and fired on
them from windows of houses on the route. The City Hall Post Office,
the Four Courts, Westland Row station, and, I think Broadstone
station were occupied by Sinn Feiners, and telegraphic communication
was at first completely interrupted.
THE TROOPS IN DUBLIN.
The force now available in Dublin
is composed as follows – There is, of course, the original
body of constabulary, and the normal garrison of Dublin and to
these have been added reinforcement, the first of which came from
the Curragh on the 24th. Further reinforcements came from England,
and Belfast, which have now arrived in Dublin.
My noble friend, I think, said that no attempt, as far as he was
aware, was made to dislodge the rebel force from the places that
it has occupied. That is not quite the case. The Sinn Feiners
were driven out of St. Stephen’s Green, and driven out with
a certain number of casualties (cheers.) They were yesterday morning
reported to be still in occupation of the buildings I named just
now, and of houses in Stephen’s Green and Sackville Street
and Abbey Street and along the quays. By the beginning of yesterday
the military had succeeded in protecting the line from the King’s
Bridge station via Trinity College, to the customs House and the
North Wall. Later in the evening of yesterday the Lord Lieutenant
announced the proclamation of martial law in the city and county
of Dublin. He was able to report at the same time that the provinces
generally were tranquil.
To-day’s telegrams have been coming in with some rapidity.
We learned at midday that the building known as Liberty Hall which
is the headquarters of the Citizen Army, with which the name of
Mr. Larkin is connected, has been wholly or partially destroyed
and occupied by the military. It was then reported that there
were only three minor cases of disturbances in the provinces.
By 2 o’clock the Lord Lieutenant was able to report that
the situation was on the whole satisfactory and that the provincial
news is reassuring. The Inspector General of the Royal Irish Constabulary
contributes one item of intelligence which I think will be satisfactory
to your lordships. It is that at Drogheda the National Volunteers
turned out in arms to assist the government, while many local
persons offered assistance (hear, hear).
The latest information is to the effect that telegraphic communication,
though not fully restored, is still possible. Since I entered
the House I have received a further instalment of information
to this effect – The General Officer Commanding reports
that there is now a complete cordon of troops around the centre
of the town, on the north side of the river, and that two more
battalions were arriving this afternoon from England. There has
been a small rising at Ardee, in the County Louth, and a rather
more serious one at Swords and Lusk, close to Dublin.
Your lordships may wish some
information as to the number of casualties during these occurrences.
The last report which I have received shows a total of fifteen
soldiers killed and twenty one wounded, besides two loyal volunteer
and two policemen killed, and six loyal volunteers wounded. My
noble friend is anxious that I should justify the statement that
appears in the published telegrams to the effect that the situation
is well in hand. The expression seems to me, on the whole, to
describe the facts with fair accuracy. I do not see in these telegrams
any sign of doubt as to the ability of the Government to cope
with this movement and to put it down by the most drastic methods.
My noble friend would like to be assured that steps are being
taken to prevent the spread of the movement in places in the provinces
(hear, hear). I have mentioned already two telegrams which go
to show that the situation in the provinces is – I will
not say wholly satisfactory – but on the whole such as not
to justify grave apprehension. I may tell my noble friend that
the Irish Government fully recognise the necessity of making sure
of the situation, not only in Dublin, but in other parts of Ireland,
and particularly in one or two spots which my noble friend may
have in his mind, and where special vigilance is called for.
CAPTURE OF CASEMENT.
My noble friend did not ask
me for any information as to the landing that took place on the
west coast, and therefore I will not trouble the House with any
statement on that matter. (The House intimated that it would be
glad to hear a statement.) If it would be of interest to the House
(cheers), this is what I am able to tell. – A German submarine
and a German vessel, the latter with false papers, and disguised
as a Dutch trading vessels, made their appearance three days ago
off the west coast of Ireland. From a submarine there landed in
a collapsible boat three individuals of whom two were made prisoners,
one of them being Sir Roger Casement, a gentleman whose name is
familiar to my noble friend and myself in connection with very
different kinds of questions. The German ship was stopped by one
of his Majesty’s ships and ordered to accompany that ship
into Queenstown. I believe the weather was very rough, and it
was difficult to put a prize crew on board. The disguised vessel
followed his Majesty’s ship a certain distance but at a
particular moment – I do not know where exactly, she suddenly
flew the German flag and sunk herself – scuttled herself,
I should imagine. The crew were saved.
I do not know what Sir Roger Casement may have been led to expect
in the way of assistance in facilities on shore for this landing,
but I have not been able to ascertain that there are any traces
of extensive preparations having been made on the seaboard either
for the reception of Sir Roger Casement or of the distribution
of the material with which the sunken ship was presumably laden.
THE GOVERNMENT WARNINGS.
My noble friend concluded his
speech by calling attention to the fact that within his knowledge
repeated warnings had been addressed to the Irish Government as
to not only the possibility but the probability of an outbreak
of this kind. I have made inquiries into this matter, and I am
really not able to conjecture what is the precise foundation on
which my noble friend’s charge is made. It is a matter of
notoriety that for some time past the activity of the Sinn Fein
party has been notable, and has occasioned serious misgiving to
many people and to that extent, it is, no doubt, quite true that
the Irish Government was aware that there was the possibility
or probability of trouble, but I have not been able to hear of
anything like a specific or authoritative warning of such a development
as that which we have witnessed within the last three days. The
only specific warning which we did receive came to us from an
external source on the very day of the outbreak.
Viscount Midleton – My case was that the Government had
been repeatedly warned by most influential persons that if they
did not take action against the Sinn Fein organisation there would
be serious trouble, and very shortly. The warnings were in the
most unmistakeable terms. Yet last Sunday morning they allowed
a whole battalion of Sinn Feiners to parade and go through a number
of exercise armed with side-arms, the officers carrying revolvers,
while last Sunday week the same people were occupied in practising
street fighting in Dublin without any interference.
The Marquees of Lansdowne – If the facts are as my noble
lord has stated, I am not going to stand up to contradict him,
but what I wished to convey was that there was nothing like a
specific warning that this particular trouble was to be expected.
The only other point raised was with regard to the movements of
the chief Secretary. The Chief Secretary had been lately in London,
where, of course, the Cabinet has had important matters to consider
but he will leave London tonight for Dublin and will be in Dublin
Lord Beresford – the statement
of the noble Marquees is extraordinary. He said there was not
specific warning of the outbreak of the Sinn Feiners. He knows
perfectly well that Ireland has been smothered in disloyal literature
for months, declaring that they were going to get rid of the English.
I consider that that was specific warning enough to the Government,
yet the Government have allowed these disloyal people to arm and
parade and drill. It was well known to the police and to the military
authorities, and must therefore have been known to Dublin Castle.
In these circumstances I cannot understand the statement that
no warning of any sort or kind was given to the Irish Government
as to what these rebels might do.
The Marquees of Lansdowne – I never suggested that there
was no material at all from which to conjecture as to what might
happen in Ireland might have been formed. There were facts which
were matters of common knowledge, and the Government viewed the
proceedings of this organisation with great concern. In that sense
we were forewarned. I was dealing with a different point –
namely, that we might have expected this outbreak at the particular
Viscount Peel – Can the noble Marquess state, or has he
been able to form any estimate of the strength of the rebel army
The Marquees of Lansdowne – I am afraid I have no information
on that point.
Viscount Peel – I am informed that very influential people
gave specific warning to the Government in Dublin during the last
month or two. Did the government take any action at all to forestall
this outbreak or did they allow things to go on exactly as before
without giving a single order to any military force or any executive
PREMIER’S STATEMENT IN PARLIAMENT.
There were indicators of a spread
of the movement in some other parts of Ireland, especially in
Such was the statement by Mr Asquith on Friday in the House of
Commons, when he said that news in Ireland showed that the situation
still had serious features , and announced that martial law [had]
been proclaimed over the whole of Ireland.
Other outstanding points of his statement were - …. ……..
………. in Dublin. There was still fighting in
the streets. Sir John Maxwell had been given plenary powers under
martial law over the whole country while martial law prevailed.
Troops had ….. and were being strongly reinforced, said
Mr. Asquith, and the Government were …. That the force despatched
was adequate to deal with the situation.
Mr. Asquith, in his statement, said that the Cabinet decided that
the Irish Executive must at once proclaim martial law over the
whole of Ireland. A military censor was necessary but he would
be directed to show all possible latitude in the …. of news.
It was the duty of the government to restore order and stamp out
the rebellion with all possible vigour and ... And that they were
…………. the obligation which … upon
the Government to ……..investigation into the causes
of the outbreak and those responsible for them. That obligation
the Government fully recognised, and were prepared to discharge.
He said it had been made absolutely clear that the present rebel
movement had no sympathy from anyone in authority in Ireland.
Sir E. Carson hoped the Government would consider the grave fears
of many people in England owing to there being no telegraphic
communication with Ireland.
Mr Asquith replied that it was hoped that telegraphic communication
would be resumed that day or today. He would undertake that all
the information available would be published with ……..
as it is received.
Sir E Carson said he was satisfied with the statement of the Prime
Minister, and would gladly join with Mr. Redmond in sentencing
and putting down these rebels now and for ever more. He hoped
no section of newspapers would try …. a war of such a character
as we were….. bring about a discussion of a political …..
in relation to the Irish question (cheers).
Mr Redmond, on behalf of himself and his colleagues, gave expression
to the over-whelming feeling of disdain and horror with which
they regarded these proceedings, and he joined with Sir E Carson
in the expression of opinion which he had just made (cheers).
ACTION IN LIMERICK.
The following proclamation has
been issued by the Mayor of Limerick:- Mayor’s Office, Town
Hall, Limerick, 28th April, ’16. With all the force and
power which my words can command, I, as Mayor of my native city,
earnestly appeal to my fellow citizens, of every class, in the
present most …. condition of affairs which has arisen in
Limerick and all over Ireland, not to do anything that may result
in exposing the lives and property of the people to damage or
destruction. I know that in making this appeal I can confidently
rely on the good sense of the citizens, and upon the law-abiding
character of our ancient and historic city being worthily maintained
in this time of stress and difficulty, and I hope when it has
passed over, as we all hope it soon will, we shall be able to
rejoice together that we came through the crisis with the reputation
of our city for sacrifice and forbearance sustained intact. Stephen
B. Quin, Mayor of Limerick.
THE IRISH “RISING”
(From the “Sketch”)
I fancy people will want to
know why our “intelligence department” was taken by
surprise by the Irish revolt. Taking only facts publicly reported,
it has been known for some time that the Sinn Feiners were becoming
more and more impudent; we heard of machine guns, armed sentries,
modern rifles – and they were allowed to go on until the
Easter climax. Ireland needs strong government – the great
mass of patriotic Irishmen will not deny that, any more than they
will deny that Mr Birrell hardly stands for strength.
THE SINN FEINERS.
A queer lot, the “Sinn
Feiners.” They were harmless enough as long as they confined
themselves to their artistic, literary, and Gaelic language fads,
but when they embarked on politics the result was a crazy political
outlook, as crazy as if the maddest Post Impressionists, Cubists
and Futurists suddenly took into their strange heads to embark
on “practical” politics.
SUBJECT FOR THE ALIENIST.
They have Sinn Feiners in Scotland,
too, - the Scottish Gaels who produce their organ “Guith
na Bliatha” (the voice of the year) from Blair’s College,
Aberdeen. But they wisely leave politics alone. “In Scotland,”
said a Gaelic-speaking Highland doctor to me yesterday, “we
look upon the Sinn Feiners as harmless cranks. A Sinn Fein politician
is a fit and proper subject for the alienist only.”
EFFECT ON HOME RULE.
The friends of Home Rule are sad, very sad,
for they see Home Rule receding farther and farther from view.
Some think an Irish Parliament in College Green has disappeared