HC Deb 19 June 1890 vol 345 cc1332-4
MR. DE COBAIN (Belfast, E.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if his attention has been called to the condition of things in the County Wicklow; that a Mr. Hoffe and Mr. Harper, together with many of the respectable residents of the town of Arklow, in their attempt at holding a religious service on the commons some quarter of a mile from the town were molested by a mob; that a District Inspector of the Royal Irish Constabulary and a constable, instead of securing for these gentlemen the right of holding the service, took their names, and in no way interfered with the action of the mob; that subsequently the Rev. Mr. Hallowes was hooted through the town, and some Protestant ladies were similarly treated; and would he take steps to secure for Her Majesty's subjects in that part of Ireland the free exercise of their privilege as citizens when they were infringing no laws, and instruct the officers and men of the Royal Irish Constabulary in their duty to afford protection to all citizens in the exercise of their undoubted civil and religious rights?

MR. W. CORBET (Wicklow, E.)

May I ask if the attention of the right hon. Gentleman has been called to this dis- turbance, as reported in the Times of the 16th instant, where three Protestant clergymen persisted, as alleged, in holding open-air meetings for preaching to Catholics in a district where the Catholics outnumbered the Protestants by three to one; is he aware that a few years ago similar attempts were made to proselitise the Catholic inhabitants, which gave much offence to them and to their clergy; has he seen a statement published in the papers, to the effect that many of the most respectable Protestant inhabitants disapprove of the action taken by their clergy in this matter, and also that the Resident Magistrate and Police Authorities have advised them to desist from their action; and will he consider if any, and what, further steps can be taken in the interests of law and order to protect the Catholic people from what they regard as insulting to their religious convictions?

MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)

I have also to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether his attention has been called to a report of proceedings at Arklow on Sunday last, contained in the Daily Express of Monday; whether the statements contained in that report, namely, that the Episcopalian and Methodist ministers engaged in open-air preaching were stoned and assaulted by a hostile crowd, are true; and whether, so long as these services are conducted so as not to cause obstruction, he will protect these ministers in the exercise of a lawful right?

MR. T. M. HEALY (Longford, N.)

Have Catholic priests applied for' police protection to hold open-air services on the Shankhill Road and Sandy Row, Belfast; and so long as such services are conducted so as not to cause obstruction, will he protect these ministers of religion in the exercise of a lawful right?

MR. W. JOHNSTON (Belfast, S.)

also put a question on the same subject.


In answer to the question of the hon. Member for North Longford (Mr. T. M. Healy), I have to say that I have not received a Report, and therefore cannot give a detailed answer. In answer to my hon. Friends behind me, I have to say that some very discreditable scenes of violence directed against three Protestant clergymen at Arklow, and against one or two members of their congregation, took place on the morning and evening of last Sunday. Every protection will be given to these persons so long as they keep within the law.