HC Deb 15 June 1894 vol 25 cc1226-8
MR. M'CARTAN (Down, S.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to the attack made upon the Rev. William M'Cartan and others at Lurgan on Sunday evening last, when returning from a public meeting of farmers and labourers at Aughagallon; whether he will give the particulars; and will he state what steps have been taken to bring to justice the guilty parties?


It appears that the Rev. Mr. M'Cartan, with a number of persons in a brake, drove to the place of meeting from Lurgan on Sunday morning, and when returning in the evening drove through a portion of the town which is an exclusively Orange quarter. At this point a large number of Orangemen were returning from a funeral, and the occupants of the brake, in order to avoid a collision, turned off into Hill Street, which is also an Orange quarter. Word went round that the Nationalists were invading the Orange district, and the people flocked out in thousands. The brake was attacked, and the rev. gentleman, thinking that the animus was directed against him, jumped off to save the other occupants. The brake drove on and escaped, but the Rev. Mr. M'Cartan, who, as I have stated, had previously jumped off, re- ceived very rough treatment, and was only saved from worse treatment by the leaders of the Orange party. I am glad to see that the Orange Press in the district described the attack on this rev. gentleman as "inexcusable and indefensible." The police arrived on the spot immediately afterwards, and the rev. gentleman was then conveyed to the workhouse, where his injuries were attended to. He received a wound over the left eye, but was not, I am happy to learn, seriously injured. Inquiries are being made with a view to the identification of the persons engaged in this disgraceful and cowardly attack, and the police hope to be able to prosecute a number, if not for the actual assault, at all events for the riotous behaviour. I wish to add that I am making further inquiries, not being satisfied with the fulness of the report as to the disposition of the police on this occasion, with the view of ascertaining how it was that the rev. gentleman was allowed to go into this quarter of the town without being either protected or warned.


Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that such ruffianly conduct is entirely opposed to the principles of Orangeism?

MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the brake in which Mr. M'Cartan sought to leave Lurgan was drawn up before the hotel in the square for more than half an hour before he started down Hill Street, and that 50 police were standing within ten yards of the place when he did start? I should like to know whether the right hon. Gentleman will inquire whether the police gave any warning, or if any precautions were taken to protect the occupants of the trap? Is it not a fact also that there were 200 police in Lurgan last Sunday, but that most of them were stationed in the Catholic quarters of the town, and that when Mr. M'Cartan was attacked in his attempt to leave there were only three police in the street in which the attack was made, and, if so, why the police were all in the Catholic quarter? I would ask whether the attention of a large body of police was directed to the fact that a large crowd was pursuing this priest—that, in fact, he was pursued through several houses and backyards?

MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)

I rise to Order. Is it in Order to ask this long question without putting it on the Paper?


The questions are certainly rather numerous, but, provided that the hon. Gentleman does not say anything by way of assumption that the facts are so, he is entitled to ask for au inquiry into the points he mentions.


The Chief Secretary says he will make further inquiries, and my only wish is to indicate the direction which I think it desirable some of those inquiries should take. Will he inquire why, when the attention of the police was directed to the fact that this defenceless man was being pursued by a crowd, they did not at once go to his rescue? Finally, I should like to know whether any baton was drawn?


Will the right hon. Gentleman ascertain whether the course that the brake took was a direct one to its destination?


Is it a fact that the party were obliged to go that way home because, on taking the other route in the morning, they were set upon, and threatened with death if they returned the same way?


I am told that is the reason given by Mr. M'Cartan for going back through this street instead of by the other route. In answer to my hon. Friend, it is a fact that there were 200 police in Lurgan that day. As to the other questions, I propose to inquire into the military disposition of the police on that day with respect to the points my hon. Friend has raised.


Will he ascertain whether the direct route for Lurgan to Laurencetown leads this way?


I will make inquiries, but I do not see how it can affect the matter.


Has the right hon. Gentleman been informed that since Sunday the small minority of Catholic girls employed in the factories in this town have been subjected to insult and assault on going to and coming from work?


I have not received specific information of that kind, but I regret that a great deal of regretable ill-feeling exists in Lurgan on both sides.