§ CAPTAIN NOLAN (for Mr. Arthur Moore)
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Whether he is aware that the late Cathedral Church of Emly, built on the site of the ancient Roman Catholic Cathedral, and in recent times, until some seven years since, used as a place of worship of the United Church of England and Ireland, has since remained unused, there not being a single Protestant in the parish, and is fast falling into complete decay; while the Irish Church Body, in whom it is at present vested, and the Diocesan Council of Emly, consider that, although they have no use for it, they have yet no power 1885 under their Statutes to sell it for the purposes of a place of Roman Catholic worship, or site therefore; whether the attention of Her Majesty's Government has been called to a recent correspondence between the Secretary of the Irish Church Body and the Secretary of the Diocesan Council of Emly, on the one hand, and the present Roman Catholic Parish Priest of Emly on the other hand, seeking, on behalf of the Roman Catholic people of the parish, to purchase the same for Roman Catholic purposes, in which the refusal of the former to sell the same for such purpose is based solely upon their inability to do so; and, whether such inability exists at present in fact; if so, whether Her Majesty's Government are prepared to amend the Irish Church Act, so far to remove such inability?
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
I believe that at the last Census there were 18 Episcopalian Protestants in the parish of Emly; but I know nothing of the circumstances stated in the hon. Member's Question, nor of the correspondence to which he refers. The Government have no control over the Representative Body of the Irish Church, and I presume that if that Body desired an alteration in the law for the purpose of enabling them to act in the manner suggested in the Question, they would propose some legislation on this subject, as they have already done in the past Sessions in other matters affecting them, through members of their Body who are also hon. Members of this House.
§ CAPTAIN NOLAN
As the Chief Secretary has not answered the latter part of the Question, I beg to give Notice that I shall on Thursday next ask the Solicitor General for Ireland whether it is legal for the Irish Episcopal Church or any of its bodies to sell ecclesiastical edifices which have fallen into disuse?