16 NOVEMBER 1907, Page 18

Mr. Birrell addressed a large Liberal meeting at South- ampton

on Tuesday, and devoted most of his speech to a. defence of his administration of Ireland. He described the cattle-driving in Roscommon and Galway as an illegal con- spiracy, a reprehensible and dishonest practice, which, unless it was checked, must bring great disaster on Ireland, because it would inevitably tend to frustrate the working out of the land-purchase system of 1903 and prevent the issue of land stock. If this cattle-driving continued on the present scale, all his schemes and purposes would be endangered, and he doubted very much whether he would be able to give them effect. It was false to say that either he or the Government had con- doned or made light of these offences. They were doing alt they could, within the powers of the law, to put them down. They had proceeded against four hundred persons, and had bound over a hundred and fifty-nine persons to keep the peace. But it was not easy to catch the culprits, and when they were caught, although the Stipendiary Magis- trates did their duty, they were not supported by the en officio Magistrates, who either overruled the Stipendiaries or stayed away to avoid being boycotted for doing their duty. The graziers themselves, again, did not come to the assistance of the police in the way they ought to do.