§ MR. P. J. POWER (Waterford, E.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland why is the Rev. John Power, Rathgormac, County Waterford, followed by a Government notetaker and by police when engaged in his duties, even when calling on the sick and dying in the ministration of his sacred duties; and can he state how long it is intended that Father Power shall be thus followed?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The Constabulary Authorities report that the rev. gentleman mentioned has been inciting to boycotting and intimidation in order to compel tenants to give up a surrendered farm which they had taken. In pursuance of this object he has been addressing indoor and open-air meetings, and whenever the police have reason to believe that he is about to hold an open-air meeting with this object he is followed by a police notetaker with the usual escort with a view to a prosecution being instituted against him. I am informed that the police do not follow him into any house, or in any way interfere with the ministration of his duties. So soon as the rev. gentleman discontinues the illegal practices mentioned, the duty of the police in the matter will at once cease.
§ MR. DILLON
If this priest is, as alleged, guilty of these illegal practices will he be prosecuted? If not, why not?
§ MR. P. J. POWER
Did the right hon. Gentleman obtain the information from the constables whose conduct we impugn? The answer of the right hon. Gentleman is directly opposed to what I state in the question.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I obtained the information in the only way in which the Irish Secretary can obtain it. If the hon. Gentleman has any further statements, and will be good enough to lay them before me, I shall be very glad to examine them. As to the question of the hon. Member for East Mayo, there are many cases in which the police are cognisant of illegal acts, and yet are unable to carry them to prosecution.