HC Deb 01 March 1886 vol 302 cc1525-7

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether his attention has been called to the following Letter in The Daily Express of the 23rd February:— Sir,—I am a widow in the County Roscommon. I have got my rent fixed, and am satisfied to pay same. I now am boycotted, and. my name put up on posters all around Ballyfarnan, for no reason only that my son bought 2s. 6d. worth of timber from the Earl of Kingston. My hay has been burnt about three years ago. I know no other reason why I should be boycotted only that I am a Protestant. If this state of things is not put a stop to, I do not know what honest peaceable people will do. We are compelled to pay money to every collection that the ruffians choose to demand. They now have my servant boy taken from me. They also cautioned my messenger not to bring me any shop goods. This is the position that County Roscommon Protestants are placed in. There are three Protestant families boycotted as well as me. I am, Sirs, yours obediently, Mary Hamilton. Larigan, Ballyfarnan, County Roscommon; and, whether he will make inquiries as to Mrs. Hamilton's position, and see that she receives the protection to which every subject of Her Majesty is entitled?


Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will allow me to ask, at the same time, If he is aware whether this newspaper, referred to in the Question of the hon. and gallant Gentleman as an authority, The Daily Express, has been obliged within the last few days to give a public apology, under threat of an action for libel, for a communication of a similar character to this, and which it acknowledged to be false and unfounded?


I am not aware of the circumstances to which the hon. Member (Mr. W. O'Brien) refers; but I have no doubt about its being true. In reply to the hon. and gallant Member (Captain M'Calmont), I have to say that no complaints have reached the police of Mrs. Hamilton having been "Boycotted." A notice, in which she and others was described as violating the National League rules by buying timber from the Earl of Kingston, was posted on the 12th January last; but no other notices referring to her have been found by, or reported to, the police. Some hay, her property, was burned about four years ago; but it was in consequence of a personal dispute which she had with some of her neighbours. She never spoke to the police about having to pay money for collections, though—so states the officer of police—she had every opportunity of doing so. Her servant boy left her some time ago, owing, as she alleges, to intimidation; but the police have since closely inquired into the allegation, and find no evidence to sustain it. There are several other Protestant families living at or near Ballyfarnan; but they are not "Boycotted," or in any way interfered with. The District Inspector adds, in his Report to me of the matter, that the police patrols are frequent in the neighbourhood, and afford her the same protection as is given to other members of the public, which, in his opinion, is sufficient security for her and her property.


Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will state why, if there is no "Boycotting," the police patrols are necessary?


I presume it is because it is thought necessary by the authorities.