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! DIARY OF COMING ENQAOIEMENfS.-

IRISH REIGN OF TERROR.

Newyddion
Dyfynnu
Rhannu

IRISH REIGN OF TERROR. The sentence of six months' imprison- ment upon Mr. Laurence Ginnell, the Nationalist M.P. for North Westmeath, for contempt of court, may be misrepresented in certain quarters as a sign of Government activity, in stamping out the abominable crime of cattle-driving which is driving many of the peaceable people of Ireland to the verge of despair. The conviction, how- ever, was obtained without the intervention of the Irish Executive, and cannot be claimed as an assertion of the law by Mr. Birrell and his friends. The Government, in fact, have not the courage to tackle their Irish masters. This prosecution took place, because Mr. Ginnell had the audacity to incite the populace to the crime of cattle- driving on property which was under the control of the Chancery Court. That court, with a courage which is sadly lacking in the Irish Executive, is determined to protect the property under its care against the illegal acts of wrong-doers. Mr. Ginnell accord- r5 ingly was summoned for contempt oj court, by interfering with lands under the court's jurisdiction, and Mr. Justice Ross sentenced him in his absence to six months' imprison- ment and to pay the costs. In passing sentence, his lordship made it very clear that the proceedings did not originate with the Executive. He found it proved that the defendant had "incited to cattle-driving and to the boycotting of any man who ventured to do what he had a legal right to do-to take this land for the purpose of feeding his cattle and worse than all, he offered to those who engaged in this illegal act the first and best bit of land. That speech was an incitement to serious crime." Commenting on the disturbed state of the country, the Judge said "I am aware of this form of organised violence. From the time I first called attention to it myself from this bench, it has grown and increased beyond measure and expectation." The people, he said, were incited to invade the property of others in open day, and were taught to pride themselves on breaking the elementary law, on which civilisation depended. The result was "the demoralisa- tion of the people" to an extent never equalled in his memory. If we had men of the stamp of Mr. Justice Ross in command of the government of Ireland, the present tide of crime that disgraces that country would be speedily stemmed. But unfortun- ately we have in his place Mr. Birrell, who pooh-poohed the gravity of the outbreak of crime last July by saying that the lawless- ness "was a very small and limited question as compared with other questions," and that "when one remembers the discontent in the minds of the people, those deeds should not cause any great measure of astonishment." At the same time he spoke of cattle-driving as "technically injuring cattle." To day, however, the Irish Secre- tary has been forced to confess that the situation present^ very grave features which require prompt and speedy and courageous action." But the Irish Executive, while driven to the tardy conclusion that crime is rife throughout a large area of the island, stubbornly decline to take any action calculated to stop the outrages. Mr. Ginnell's prosecution is only the isolated action of the Court of Chancery, and for that action the Irish Executive can take no credit. The Executive apparently are paralysed, while the cowardly intimidators and boycotters do their ghastly work unscathed, and decent folks are deprived of the protection of the law. All the comfort they get is to hear their ministerial repre- sentative talk of "courageous action," which however, ends in talk, and meanwhile the reign of terror spreads and intensifies.

T RADICAL RURAL LEGISLATION.

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