HC Deb 17 March 1881 vol 259 cc1232-3

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If his attention has been directed to a statement in this day's "Times," from which it appears that an expedition has been sent out by the Orange Emergency Committee to Ballinakill, county Galway, each man armed with a rifle and a revolver, for which special Licences were obtained from the Government, who have also arranged to convey the party by the war frigate "Valorous" from Galway to their destination; whether the expedition is sent to assist the Reverend Canon Fleming, Protestant rector of the place; whether it is true, as stated in the "Times," that the only hostility against him springs from a sectarian feeling; and, whether it is true that the reverend gentleman has provoked the hostility of the people by attacks on their religious belief?


Sir, my attention has been drawn to the statement to which the hon. Member's Question refers, and, as far as I have been able to ascertain, the facts are as follow:—The rev. gentleman some time ago found he could not get anybody to work for him; and it appeared, subsequently, that the Land League had given orders preventing anyone from working for him. Friends in the North, however, sent some labourers to assist him, and the Government were applied to to give them protection, as it was their duty to do, in the circumstances stated. They thought that the best way of giving those men protection would be to convey them to their destination by steamer. That was accordingly done. I do not believe that the hostility to the rev. gentleman arose from religious causes. For 20 years past, I am informed, he has lived quietly in the locality, and it is only since the establishment of a branch of the Land League there that any difficulty has arisen between him and his workpeople.