HC Deb 21 July 1887 vol 317 cc1617-8
MR. MACARTNEY (Antrim, S.)

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether his attention has been called to the following paragraph in The Sheffield Daily Telegraph, of 18th July:— News reached Dublin on Saturday afternoon of an attack made on the children of the Westport Protestant Sunday Schools in County Mayo. When returning from a picnic, the roads were lined with people, who threw large stones as the excursionists drove past. One girl was injured in the spine, and a magistrate's daughter had her cheek cut open, and was knocked senseless. She now lies in a precarious state. The children cowered down in the brakes, and most of them escaped injury. Two carters, who had charge of the provisions for the excursionists, were severely beaten, and all the things they had destroyed; and, whether there is any foundation for it; and, if so, whether any steps have been taken in relation to it?

MR. T. M. HEALY (Longford, N.)

Before the Question is answered, I should like to ask whether this is taken simply from an anonymous letter in The Daily Express, and transferred by The Daily Express correspondent to The Daily Express editor, who is the correspondent of The Times, and sent by him to The Times, and rests simply upon anonymity?


(who replied) said: I cannot possibly tell whether the article in a Sheffield paper, which I have not seen, has been taken from The Daily Express or any other paper.


That is not the question. I want to know whether this does not rest on the anonymous statement of an anonymous correspondent?


I have not taken my information from any newspaper. In consequence of my hon. Friend's Question, I caused inquiries to be made, and the official Report says that an organized attack was made on these school children. One young lady who was with the party was struck by a stone in the face, and so badly that the doctor does not pronounce her out of danger. Others were hit, including little children; but no one else was dangerously wounded. Three persons were arrested and remanded to next Petty Sessions, and the names of eight others were taken to be made amenable by summonses.

MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)

Has the right hon. and gallant Gentleman any further information as to the causes of the attack?


Perhaps I had better read the Report of the Resident Magistrate, which is to the following effect: — Yesterday Miss Kelly, who lives near here, gave an excursion to the Westport Sunday School children. About 90 or 100 in all proceeded to the strand at Oldhead, near Louis-burgh—the children, some ladies, and a few gentlemen—in several vehicles. Some of the children carried small flags to mark the course for footraces they intended having. Several people gathered in a threatening manner at Oldhead; but though they used very brutal language, they were prevented from doing violence by the interference of Mr. Wilbraham, J.P., of Oldhead, and the Rev. W. Joyce, parish priest of Louisburgh. Stones had been built on the road in readiness for the return of the party; but owing to the influence of Mr. Garney, of Merrisk, they were removed. On the return of the party they were attacked with stones, clods, and other missiles, at Lecanvy, and along the road as far as Merrisk, where the attack became hottest, and a young lady, Miss L. Powell, daughter of the agent to the Marquess of Sligo, was badly hit in the face—so badly that Dr. Allman does not pronounce her out of danger. Others were hit, even little children; but no one else was dangerously wounded. From what was told me to-day, the escape of the party from many serious wounds is marvellous. Two young men and a boy were brought before me to-day charged with stone-throwing, and I remanded them to Westport Petty Sessions on Thursday next on a formal information. The only motive suggested for this attack is that this Sunday School children excursion was an 'Orange walk,' and that the flags mentioned were party flags.

MR. MACNEILL (Donegal, S.)

asked the name of the Resident Magistrate?


said, the Resident Magistrate was Mr. Home, and the Chief Inspector Mr. Milling.