§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, with reference to the recent meeting at Newtownards, Whether his attention has been called to a report of the meeting in The Newtownards Chronicle, of April 28 last, in which the following appears:—On Friday evening, a few minutes after 7 o'clock, District Inspector Ward, Head Constable Smyth, and one or two other members of the Force, went to the Ulster Hotel and warned Miss M'Kee against allowing the meeting to be held on her premises;whether he will state with what object District Inspector Ward visited the proprietress of the hotel on that evening, where the interview took place, and the nature of the conversation between them; and, whether he will give the names of the other members of the Constabulary who called at the Ulster Hotel on that day respecting the meeting?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR) (Manchester, E.)
The District Inspector of Constabulary reports that the newspaper statement is not correct. On the evening in question 1822 he went at about 7.30 o'clock, unaccompanied by any member of the Force, to the hotel. Miss M'Kee he neither warned nor oven saw on the subject. The object of his visit was to ascertain whether the hon. Member for East Mayo was going to address a meeting at the hotel that evening. His interview with the proprietress took place in a room upstairs, and did not last five minutes. The nature of the conversation was an inquiry of his as to whether a meeting was to be held that evening in the hotel; and a statement of his that, if so, it would probably be addressed by the hon. Member referred to. The proprietress thereupon said—quite spontaneously, without any "urging" or prompting on the part of the District Inspector—that if she found such to be the case she would not allow the meeting to be held. The only other member of the Constabulary who called that day was Head Constable Smyth. He did so as acting for the District Inspector, who was absent until the evening on inspection duty.