HC Deb 22 February 1884 vol 284 cc1720-1

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether the attention of the Irish Government has been drawn to the speech referred to in the following paragraph, extracted from The Dublin Evening Mail of Monday the 18th instant:— At the annual meeting of the Boers Loyal True Blues Loyal Orange Lodge at Ballymacarrett, Belfast, on Saturday, an address was delivered by Mr. E. S. W. Cobain, Grand Master of the Orangemen of Belfast. In the course of his remarks Mr. Cobain, referring to the attack made on Mr. Wm. Johnston, of Ballykilbeg, on Thursday night, in the House of Commons, by Mr. Sexton, and said that if the Government dared to lay its hand upon William Johnston, he hoped the Orangemen of Ireland would send a brigade of Orangemen to the House of Commons to pronounce their condemnation of the Government; and, whether Mr. Cobain will be prosecuted?


asked, whether Mr. Cobain did not disclaim the interpretation placed on his speech; and whether his words were not these— We shall send to Parliament a brigade of Orange Members to represent our loyal principles, and to resist those who aim at the disintegration of the Empire?


The Government are advised that the words in the newspaper paragraph from which the hon. Member for Sligo quotes afford no grounds for prosecuting Mr. Cobain, even if correctly reported. I am aware, however, that, as mentioned by the noble Lord the Member for Fermanagh, Mr. Cobain denies the accuracy of the newspaper report. He did not recommend any attempt to intimidate the House of Commons; but advised the returning of a brigade of Orange Members to the House. I think that even without this explanation Mr. Cobain's meaning was sufficiently clear.