HC Deb 31 March 1884 vol 286 cc1152-3

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether it is a fact that the Catholic witnesses in the Ballymote shooting case, including several respectable farmers, were taken third-class by rail to Galway to give evidence at the Assizes, while the Orange witnesses, travelling by a later train, were provided with second-class tickets; why, after the engagement of the Right honourable Gentleman, on the 6th instant, that James and Joseph Murray would be proceeded against for aiding and abetting in the affray, the resident magistrate, Mr. Molony, R.M., did not call upon them to answer to the charge until the 20th instant; whether, though the Galway Assizes, at which it had been arranged that the Murrays should be tried, as well as the accused on the other side, had been fixed to begin on the 26th instant, Mr. Molony, R.M., on the 20th, took no step to expedite the cases, but accepted, in the absence of the accused James Murray, a statement that he "would be going to Galway to-morrow, and was unable to attend," issued no warrant for his arrest, and put off both cases for another fortnight, the Assizes occurring in the meantime; and, whether the cross-case in which the Murrays are witnesses will now be proceeded with, on their evidence, at the current Assizes, while the case in which they are the accused will be held over, as a consequence of the facts set forth above, until some future time?


Sir, The Catholic witnesses were sent in a third-class carriage according to the usual practice in the case of persons in their rank of life. The witnesses on the other side were treated exceptionally only on account of the state of James Murray's health. He had been seriously ill, his life having been for some time in danger; and the doctors attending him certified that it would be dangerous to allow him to travel third-class. His sons, who are themselves in delicate health, and his daughters, who are of tender years, were allowed to accompany him, as they did not think it would be safe for the old man to travel alone. The statement which I made on the 6th instant, and which the hon. Member refers to as my "engagement" was simply this—that the Attorney General had directed that Joseph Murray should be summoned for aiding and allotting in the riot. This was done, and the summons was issued for the first Petty Sessions day, which followed—namely, the 20th of March. James Murray was summoned for the same day. As to what occurred on that day, I have received a Report which does not make the matter quite clear to my mind, and I shall answer the Question further on Thursday.


Has the right hon. Gentleman made arrangements to try the Orangemen by a Catholic jury and the Catholics by a Protestant jury?

[No reply.]