HC Deb 15 August 1887 vol 319 cc483-5
MR. M'CARTAN (Down, S.)

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether his attention had been called to the fact that, previous to the lath. July last, a monster meeting of Orangemen was announced to take place on that date at Lurgan, under the patronage of Lord Erne, and that seven magistrates, who presided at the Petty Sessions held immediately before the meeting, after consultation with Mr. Mayne, R.M., decided that, in order to preserve the peace, it would be necessary to have in Lurgan on that day a force consisting of 200 police and 50 Cavalry soldiers; whether these magistrates accordingly signed a requisition to this effect, and handed same to District Inspector Bigley; whether, notwithstanding this requisition, and the fact that some members of the local force were obliged to be at Armagh Assizes on the 12th July, no extra force was sent to Lurgan; whether any, and, if so, what answer was sent to the local magistrates; whether serious disturbances took place at Silverwood, near Lurgan, on that day, when a party of Orangemen on their return home attacked. some Catholics, wounded two women, and wrecked two houses belonging to Catholics; whether shots were fired by the Orangemen, and one of them was terrifying the people by brandishing a scythe on the occasion; whether it was usual to leave Silverwood unprotected when such meetings were held at Lurgan; whether, on the evening of the 12th July, a number of Catholics went into Lurgan and offered to make information identifying the rioters, but no opportunity was given by the police; whether, on the following day, the same Catholics went to District Inspector Bigley, and were told by him "that he had too much to do to attend to their complaint;" whether the statements of those aggrieved persons were then taken on the 14th July, when a magistrate and the Petty Sessions clerk sent the complainants to the police; whether any steps were taken by the police to bring the offenders to justice; whether on the 20th July, when Mr. O'Reilly, solicitor, applied at Potty Sessions to have informations taken, the application was opposed by Mr. Bigley, who got an adjournment to the following day; whether he was then requested to telegraph, to Dublin Castle for instructions, and received a reply not to prosecute; whether this is the same Mr. Bigley who ordered the police to fire into the "Catholic Street," at Lurgan, in March last; and, whether he will cause an inquiry to be made into the origin of, and the circumstances in connection with, the disturbances of March and July in this district?


A requisition signed by the local magistrates, including Mr. Mayne, R.M., was forwarded, through the District Inspector of Constabulary, to the Executive asking for the presence of a body of police and Cavalry at Lurgan, at a meeting of Orangemen on July 12. The Lord Lieutenant, in the exercise of his discretion, decided not to send this extra force, but made arrangements for the drafting into Lurgan of a body of soldiers should disturbances arise. These arrangements were communicated to Mr. Mayne, R.M. Although some disturbances did take on July 12, they appear to be less serious than on later occasions, when a large extra force was present in the town. I have not had time, owing to the short notice given, to obtain a full report as to the latter portion of the Question; but I understand that proceedings are about to be instituted against some of the persona engaged in the attack.


asked the right hon. Gentleman, was he aware whether correspondence had taken place between the magistrates at Lurgan and the Under Secretary; and whether the explanation of the Under Secretary was regarded by them as both unsatisfactory and insufficient; and whether he was aware that in Lurgan riots had frequently taken place, and that soldiers, on the requisition of the magistrates, had been drafted into the town; whether he was aware the Under Secretary stated that he had considered the magistrates' application in connection with other Reports; and, whether the right hon. Gentleman could say from what quarter the Other; Reports came?


said, he was not conversant with the whole correspondence between the magistrates and the Under Secretary. He could not agree with the statement that the explanation of the Under Secretary was not satisfactory.