HC Deb 06 March 1888 vol 323 cc356-9
MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether it is a fact that Colonel Turner, the Divisional Magistrate for the County Clare, has sent police to a number of priests in that county to warn thorn that proceedings would be taken against them if meetings were held in future in their parishes whether, in one instance at least, the sergeant of police stated to the priest, that Colonel Turner wished him to say— That if he (the priest) continued to hold meetings, a police hut with an extra force would be placed in the parish, and the district charged with the cost of maintaining them; whether he added that the same punishment would be inflicted if reports of meetings were sent to United Ireland; and, whether it is a fact, that there hat not been an outrage committed in the parish since 1883?

MR. COX (Clare, E.)

Before the right hon. and gallant Gentleman answers that Question, I beg leave to ask, whether it is a fact that an extra force of four police was stationed at Six-mile Bridge since the 2nd instant; and whether it, is true that the only reason for sending them there was that a public meeting, at which the police were present and took notes, was held at Sis-mile Bridge on the 9th of February to listen to an address from Mr. Snelling, an English delegate working-man; and whether any prosecutions or disturbance whatever have arisen, or taken place, in consequence of the holding of that meeting; and, whether it is the intention of the Government to place an extra police tax on every district where English sympathisers with Ireland denounce the policy of the present Government.


That appears to be a Question that does not arise from the Question on the Paper, nor is it possible to answer that Question without Notice.


Perhaps this concluding sentence may be in Order, and perhaps the right hon. and gallant Gentleman may be able to answer the Question of his own knowledge—whether Colonel Turner said in presence of Mr. Cecil Roche, R.M., to a priest at Sixmile Bridge on the 20th February, that he was ready to testify, whenever called on to do so, that the parish of Sixmile Bridge was perfectly peaceful and free from crime?


, (who replied): said, I am afraid that, without Notice, I cannot reply as to what Colonel Turner testified to Mr. Cecil Roche, and I would ask the hon. Gentleman to give Notice of the Question. With regard to the Question on the Paper, the Divisional Magistrate referred to replies to the first paragraph in the negative. He states it is the case that in some instances he informed the priests, through the police, that if illegal meetings were held in their parishes, he would be obliged to station extra police there in order to prevent the law from being defied, the cost of which would fall on the people. With reference to paragraph 3, what he conveyed was that in the event of reports appearing in the newspaper named, or other newspapers, of the holding of such illegal meetings he should be forced to conclude the reports to be true, and be compelled to act accordingly.

MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)

Am I to understand that Colonel Turner, as a Divisional Magistrate, will accept a report in United Ireland as a proof that a meeting has taken place, while his master and superior refuses to accept a report in United Ireland as any proof? I beg to ask the right hon. and gallant Gentlemen for an answer to that Question, for it is very important to the parishes in Clare. Is Colonel Turner going to take reports in United Ireland as proof that an illegal meeting has taken place, while the Chief Secretary stated that he regarded reports in United Ireland as no proof at all?


Certainly a report in United Ireland is not a legal proof, but it is sufficient, in my information, to justify a magistrate in making inquiries; and, in the event of his inquiries proving the report to be correct, to take such action as he may think necessary.


That is not what the right hon. and gallant Gentleman stated before. [" Order, order!"] I am entitled to have an answer. I want to know is it a fact that Colonel Turner stated to this priest that, without saying anything about making inquiries first, he would quarter extra police upon this parish if reports appeared in United Ireland that meetings had been held.


I did not state that Colonel Turner stated he would do that without making further inquiries.

MR. CLANCY (Dublin Co., N.)

The right hon. and gallant Gentleman has not answered the last paragraph of the Question at all.


As the parish is not mentioned, and as there are a great many different parishes in that county, it would be rather difficult to answer it.


I wish to ask, whether it is a fact that a sergeant of police called on Father M'Inerney, of Feackle, and said to him— I have an order from Colonel Turner to call upon you, as the parish priest, and to tell you that if any meeting of the National League be held in the parish in future, or if the proceedings of such meetings lie published in the newspapers, extra police will he sent into the parish to be maintained at the expense of the district.


I have given Colonel Turner's Report, and I have no other information.