No public inquiry into ‘North King Street Massacre’
The British Prime Minister Herbert Asquith said that he had never made any promise of holding a public inquiry, merely that the shootings should be carefully investigated.
He said that these investigations had found that the deaths had occurred after 'continuous and desperate street and house to house fighting' that lasted more than two days and had involved soldiers being exposed to sniping from the windows and roofs of houses.
There was no doubt, he continued, that innocent men had been killed in the crossfire by both rebels and soldiers, but that after careful inquiry it was impossible to bring home responsibility to any particular person or body of persons.
John Dillon, the Irish Parliamentary Party MP, repeated his call for a public inquiry and complained that the investigations had been carried out in secret by the military ‘who are the parties incriminated, with regard to the alleged shooting of non-combatants’.
This plea was rejected by the Prime Minister who said that he had read all the evidence: ‘I do not think that any partiality of any kind was shown...I have come to the conclusion, after carefully weighing all the facts, that any further inquiry would not lead to any different conclusion.’
[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]