HC Deb 19 March 1858 vol 149 cc436-7

begged to ask the noble Lord the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Lord Naas): Whether the statements which have appeared in certain Irish newspapers, alleging that mobs have paraded the public streets of the city of Dublin (on Saturday last), in some instances breaking the windows of police stations and of other places, molesting peaceable inhabitants, forming party processions, and committing other outrages, have taken place? Whether any measures have been adopted by the Irish Government for the punishment of such offenders, and for the future repression of similar offences? He would give the noble Lord a piece of information which was, perhaps, not altogether new to him—namely, that attempts were being made in Ireland, by parties interested, to gather from these unfortunate occurrences the materials for a religious agitation. He hoped the Government, if for their own interest only would take precautions in order to prevent any foundation being given for such an agitation.


With regard to the case to which the hon. Member for Kerry has called attention, it is quite true that a riotous assembly took place in Dublin on Saturday night—the day after the unfortunate collision between the students of Trinity College and the police. Subsequently I had an interview with the Provost of Trinity College, and he assured me there was every reason to believe that in the assemblage which congregated on Saturday night, very few of the students of Trinity College took a part. The assemblage was a mob, who paraded though the streets in a riotous manner; but the amount of injury done to the property of the citizens was confined to the breaking of four panes of glass in one of the police stations. Three or four persons were arrested by the police; but it was not found necessary to inflict any punishment, and most of the parties taken into custody were discharged by the magistrates on Monday morning. I am happy to say that since then the peace of the city has been preserved, owing to the precautions taken by the Government. No doubt very great excitement has prevailed in Dublin since the unfortunate occurrence at the College, but I am glad to think that that excitement is fast dying away. Since I came into the House this evening, I have received a telegraphic despatch, stating that the city is now perfectly quiet, and that there has been no further disturbance. I can assure the hon. Member that it is the intention of the Government to have a full inquiry into the circumstances connected with that unfortunate occurrence at the College, and that no effort will be spared to prevent the excitement from taking a party or sectarian character. Their only desire in the matter is to do equal justice to all parties.