HC Deb 01 August 1867 vol 189 cc600-2

said, he wished to ask the Chief Secretary for Ireland, To state the name or names of the persons upon whose recommendation a squadron of the 10th Hussars and a company of the 89th Foot were marched into the town of Downpatrick on the 11th of July, where they were billeted for four nights; whether the Under Secretary at Dublin Castle was not, on the 7th of July, in possession of a special Report from the Sub-inspector of Constabulary stationed at Downpatrick, declaring that neither was a force of Military necessary, nor was any addition required to the number of Constabulary then under his control, adding that he was fortified in this view by the unanimous opinion of the Magistrates of the district, with whom he had consulted; and, whether the above-named Troops were not sent to Downpatrick without a Stipendiary Magistrate, without the knowledge of the Sub-inspector of Constabulary, and contrary to his Report?


said, in reply, that no recommendation whatever came from any persons connected with the town of Downpatrick. The Sub-inspector of Constabulary never sent to the Government a special Report stating a force of military was not necessary, and no information as to the opinion of the magistrates on that point had reached the Government. He had also further to state that the troops were not sent without the knowledge of a stipendiary magistrate. Having stated what had not happened, he would now, with the permission of the House, state what did happen. With regard to the distribution of the troops, his directions were that the course taken by the Government last year, which had been perfectly successful in maintaining the public peace, should be adhered to. Troops were sent as usual to where they had been sent in former years. Last year a very large meeting took place in the immediate neighbourhood of Downpatrick, and it was reasonable to suppose that a demonstration of some kind would take place. There was no information at the disposal of the Government to justify them in making any alteration in the arrangements of former years. The Under Secretary was not on the 7th of July in possession of a special Report from the Sub-inspector at Downpatrick, nor was any report received from the Sub-inspector at all. But on the 8th of July, before which (on the 5th) the arrangements were made for all the principal places in the North, Downpatrick among others, a Report was received from the County Inspector (Mr. Heath) stating, among other matters— That the usual exhibition of party feeling is expected throughout this county generally, but particularly in the districts of Ballynahinch, Bannbridge, Newtownards. The Sub-inspector at Downpatrick reports that he apprehends no interruption of the public peace there, as it appears Bangor is to be the principal rendezvous of the Orangemen from Belfast and various other localities. There is nothing about being fortified in this view by the unanimous opinion of the magistrates, nor any representation from the magistrates themselves. A resident magistrate (Mr. Hort) was ordered to proceed to Downpatrick to arrive on the 11th. Mr. Bannon, R.M., was also ordered to proceed there, but he was ill. Mr. Hort arrived on the 10th; but, finding his services were required at Bangor he proceeded to that place. He was not aware whether it was without the knowledge of the Sub-inspector the troops were sent; but the arrangements were made known to the Inspector General on the 5th, immediately they were made, and there was nothing in the Report of the County Inspector which seemed to make desirable a change in the arrangements already made.


said, he wished to ask a question of the noble Lord relative to one expression he had used. Was "party feeling" intended to convey the same meaning as "Protestant feeling?" He would also beg to ask, whether the Instructions given to the authorities were the same as those of last year? He was present at Downpatrick last year, and he understood Instructions were given to prevent the expression of Protestant feeling.


No Instructions were given to the military; but general instructions were given to the magistracy to take such precautions as they thought necessary to preserve the public peace.