HC Deb 06 April 1894 vol 22 cc1516-8
MR. BARTON (Armagh, Mid)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he proposes to take any steps to put an end to the scenes of violence and bloodshed caused by attacks of organised mobs in Cork streets on Sundays?


During these painful and deplorable scenes the police have acted on careful instructions given to them, and believe they have so acted as to win the approval of both Protestants and Catholics in the City of Cork. No doubt there have been complaints, and I have carefully inquired into the circumstances and read the Reports from the Constabulary, as well as the communications which have reached me from other parties concerned; but I confess I cannot see how I could give more careful instructions, or how those instructions could be more efficiently carried out than they have been. Everybody regrets that these scenes should have taken place, but there has been enormous exaggeration. The hon. Member may rest assured that everything that can be done shall be done to bring the state of affairs to an end.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the great majority of the Protestants of Cork have expressed their disgust at these preaching performances at least as strongly as the Catholics?


I am suggesting nothing against the conduct of the police. I am merely asking what steps have been taken with reference to next Sunday?


Is it true that, notwithstanding the instructions given to the police, several of the citizens of Cork have been brutally assaulted with the police present, and no arrests made?


There have, no doubt, been assaults committed in the course of these transactions. The police had the duty to perform of preventing that which was illegal. What was illegal was obstruction, and they have done all they can to put that down. It is not a mere matter of making arrests, which under the circumstances is not an easy task. They might not always arrest the right persons. I believe the police acted with absolute impartiality and great judgment.


In the case of the obstruction of a thoroughfare, is it not the duty of the police to summon for obstruction?

MR. M. AUSTIN (Limerick, W.)

asked whether the right hon. Gentleman was aware that the disturbances were got up for electioneering purposes?

MR. W. O'BRIEN (Cork)

asked whether under the late Government similar difficulty arose at Arklow, and whethera clergyman who caused the obstruction was summoned and punished?


I believe that persons were sent to prison in Arklow, but the effect was not to stop the street preaching, so I am not encouraged to take a similar course.

MR. CREAN (Queen's Co., Ossory)

Have not the Catholic and Protestant Magistrates of Cork issued a proclamation calling on the preachers to cease?


That is so. It is perfectly true that the great majority of both the Protestants and Catholics of Cork desire an end put to these proceedings.

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