HC Deb 06 February 1891 vol 350 cc149-50
MR. T. M. HEALY (Longford, N.)

I beg to ask the Attorney General for Ireland, if he can state why Father Humphries, of Tipperary, has again been followed by police on several occasions. Is he aware that Constable Navin, on 21st January, walked close after this clergyman in the street, and when Father Humphries stopped the policeman halted within two feet of him, and that, on the priest requesting him not to walk on his heels, the constable replied "I will walk where I like, you had better assault me." Do the Government sanction the use of this language by policemen when engaged on such duty? and do the Government sanction policemen when engaged on such duty to enter into any colloquy with the persons they are watching?


I am informed that Rev. D. Humphries, C. C., is watched by the police, as he is reported in the Nationalist newspapers to have made speeches at illegal meetings, alleged to have been held near Tipperary, in which he advocated boycotting and intimidation. The constable denies that he replied on the 21st January in the manner attributed to him. He was some yards behind Mr. Humphries when the latter stopped and made some remarks to him. The constable, in accordance with express orders, refused to enter into conversation, and crossed to the other side of the street.


When Father Humphries is being shadowed, will the shadower keep out of ear-shot? What is the necessity for the police following the heels and dogging Father Humphries so persistently close at hand, and will orders be given for the police to keep three or four yards off?


I have no information as to the distance by which this gentleman has been shadowed by the police.


Will not the Government lay down some rule as to the distance which should be observed between the shadow and the person shadowed?

MR. SEXTON: (Belfast, W.)

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that this constable when engaged in the occupation of shadowing not long ago, committed a trespass, and, being warned off by the occupier of the property, drew a revolver upon him? Is he not also aware that for this offence the constable was convicted and fined by a removable magistrate, and does he think that such a man is a fit and proper person to follow Father Humphries?


I have no information that will enable me to answer the right hon. Gentleman's question.