MR. JUSTIN M'CARTHY (Londonderry City) (for Mr.O'DOHERTY) (Donegal, N.)
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether his attention has been called to the Report of the cases tried in the Crimes Court in Derry on Monday and Tuesday last, from which it appears that the police on that occasion justified a charge of horse police and of constables with batons upon an admittedly peaceful and orderly procession of the Foresters of Dundalk, on the ground that a band began to play, and that a Proclamation of the Mayor and City Justices had been issued against band-playing; that the conduct of the processionists was peaceable and orderly all day; and that the attack took place as they were entering the train on their return home; if he will state what Statutory or Common Law authority Justices have to prohibit, in an orderly and peaceable procession or meeting, the playing of bands; whether, before an actual disturbance of the peace, the police in Ireland are justified in using force; whether the interference of the police was followed by a disturbance of the peace; and, if it is true, as reported, that the Court sent to long terms of imprisonment certain persons who resisted such force?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR) (Manchester, E.)
The Inspector General of Constabulary reports that, informations having been sworn before the Mayor of Derry and Captain Gage, R.M., that if band-playing were permitted in the streets of Derry on Sunday, the 10th of June, disturbance would ensue, a Proclamation was issued by these Justices for-bidding band-playing in the city on that day. In contravention of this Proclamation the Dundalk Foresters band (which had arrived in Derry in the morning, and had been joined by a large crowd, including many of the roughs of the city), began to play in the public street outside the railway station. Mr. Beresford, R.M., and the police at once interfered (without using unnecessary violence) to stop the band-playing, when the crowd commenced a most deliberate assault on the police with stones, seriously injuring some of them. The Riot Act was then read, and the police charged the mob. Several arrests were made. Justices have full authority under the terms of their Commissions to take such steps as they may deem necessary to prevent an anticipated disturbance of the peace. Under some circumstances the police are justified in dispersing a peaceable crowd. The violation of the Proclamation was followed by the interference of the police. Eight of the rioters were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment.
§ THE LORD MAYOR OF DUBLIN (Mr. SEXTON) (Belfast, W.)
asked the right hon. Gentleman, if any breach of the peace had occurred in consequence of the band playing till the police provoked it?