HC Deb 28 June 1889 vol 337 cc1009-10
MR. JOHNSTON (Belfast, S.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if he has seen a paragraph in the Wicklow People newspaper, of 22nd June, headed "The Oath and Coercion," referring to a mission held by the Redemptionist Fathers in Ramsgrange; whether his attention has been called to a sermon of a priest, named O'Brien, in which, after begging the people to be as quiet as possible under the very severe trial which their beloved clergy were undergoing, he added, that, from a Catholic point of view, the oath, under the Criminal Law and Procedure (Ireland) Act, was an unjust and unnecessary one, and, consequently, should not be taken by Catholics, and counselled the people to go to prison before taking the oath, and, whether such recommendation to break the law can be dealt with under existing statutes?

MR. W. REDMOND (Fermanagh, N.)

Is it not true that the persons addressed had been threatened by the police with imprisonment if they refrained from giving evidence, and is it not also true that there are a number of persons actually in prison because they refused to acknowledge that they were in a position to give evidence? I would further ask if the right hon. Gentleman considers that it is conducive to the ends of justice to threaten people with imprisonment who know nothing about the matter inquired into for refusing to give evidence?


I am informed that the reverend gentleman was incorrectly reported with reference to the words he is alleged to have used in regard to the oath. Therefore no consideration as to the leg question arises.


Did he not counsel the persons he addressed to remain free from crime?


I understand that ho did not use the words he is reported to have used in regard to the oath. I know nothing more.


Is it not the fact that he strongly urged and coun- selled the people to remain calm under any provocation that might be given to them?


I think it is very likely, but if the hon. Gentleman desires further information on the subject he had better give notice.