HC Deb 10 March 1884 vol 285 cc1038-9

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether his attention has been called to a placard extensively circulated in Derry, and signed "Robert M'Clintock, C.G.M." summoning "the Orangemen of the North of Ireland" to assemble at Derry, on the 17th March, to oppose a Catholic celebration of St. Patrick's Day, and promising the Orange sympathisers an escort of Derry Orangemen to and from their trains; whether he is aware that the Catholic celebration referred to is one of a non-political character, such as has for many years taken place on this anniversary, and that St. Patrick's Day is celebrated by a public ceremonial at Dublin Castle; whether the Robert M'Clintock, C.G.M. whose name is appended to the Orange proclamation, is a justice of the peace and deputy lieutenant, and whether his conduct in summoning strangers to Derry to assemble in dangerous proximity to a lawfully convened meeting, and in avowed hostility thereto, is in contravention of the rule recently laid down by the Lord Chancellor for the guidance of magistrates in such cases; and, whether the Government will take steps to prevent the peace of Derry from being disturbed, and the proposed celebration interfered with, by the means suggested in the placard?


Sir, a counter demonstration of Orangemen has been summoned for the 17th of March, St. Patrick's Day, at Derry. Although it is the custom to allow the celebration of the anniversary of St. Patrick's Day at Derry, a reference to the terms of the placard announcing this year's celebration would not justify the statement in the Question, that the present celebration, which, in the placard announcing it, is called a "monster demonstration," is one of a non-political character. One of the Orangemen who signed the proclamation calling the counter-demonstration is Mr. R. M'Clintock, who is a Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant, and His Excellency has determined to bring his conduct in this matter before the Lord Chancellor. As regards the proposed demonstration on the 17th of March, the Irish Government is of opinion that it could not be held without involving serious danger to the public peace, and they are determined to prohibit both demonstrations, as was done in the case of analogous demonstrations in December, and will further have the City of Derry proclaimed under the 8th section of the Prevention of Crime Act.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman, If the Nationalists get up a counter-demonstration, will the Irish Government prohibit the celebration in the Upper Castle Yard, which is far more offensive to the Irish people?


Would not the right hon. Gentleman, in view of preserving the peace, consider the prohibiting of the Orange demonstration only; and, whether, if in any part of Ireland, when a counter-demonstration is held, the Government will suppress both demonstrations?

[No reply.]