HC Deb 15 February 1875 vol 222 c307

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland, If his attention has been called to a statement that a blind boy, named John M'Cracken, was, for reading in the street from a Bible with embossed letters, sent to prison for forty-eight hours by the Mayor of Drogheda; and, whether such statement is true; and, if so, what cognizance of the matter will be taken by the Government?


, in reply, said, his attention had been first called to that matter by the Notice of the hon. Member's Question. The blind boy in question was reading the Bible, sitting on the footway in one of the public streets of Drogheda. By so doing he caused a crowd to collect round him, and on being requested by the police to move on, he and his father declined to do so. After repeated cautions he was arrested by the police, not for reading the Bible, but for obstructing the public thoroughfare. He was taken before the Mayor and committed for 48 hours. That, he believed, was a statement of the facts as they occurred. As far as he knew at present, the Mayor of Drogheda was acting within his legal rights as a magistrate, and therefore the Government had no intention of interfering in the matter.