HC Deb 23 August 1895 vol 36 cc665-8
MR. P. C. DOOGAN (Tyrone, E.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that on Friday last an Orange drumming party was allowed by the police to parade the Catholic quarters in Stewartstown, county Tyrone, followed by a crowd armed with sticks; and, that, having exploded fireworks in the square, they proceeded to smash the windows of Catholics in West Street, and attacked the Catholic church with stones, breaking the glass in the windows near the altar; did the police make any arrests, or summon any of the offenders; and what steps will be taken to prevent a repetition of this conduct?


I am informed that a number of Orangemen paraded the streets of Stewartstown on the night of the 16th instant and passed through the Roman Catholic quarter of the town, which they have always hitherto done, that being the way into the town. Windows were broken in five houses in North and West Streets and four panes of glass were broken in the Roman Catholic chapel. There was an extra force of police in the town no the occasion, in addition to the local force, and the drumming parties were accompanied from place to place by the police, who, however, owing to the darkness of the night, were unable to detect the persons who broke the windows. I may also mention that two members of the drumming party were struck with stones thrown by the opposite party. The police are using their best exertions to procure evidence on which to proceed against the guilty persons.


asked whether it was a fact that the Protestants of Stewartstown were allowed to parade through the streets of the Catholic quarter, while Catholics were not allowed to parade through the Protestant quarter?


I am afraid I must ask for notice of the supplementary question.

MR. CLANCY (Dublin Co, N.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1) whether his attention has been directed to the proceedings at the trial at Howth Petty Sessions, county Dublin, on Monday last, of three persons charged with offences arising out of attempted street preaching by certain Protestant missionaries, when the presiding magistrate was a Protestant clergyman, the Rev. Mr. Mahaffy, while the accused were Catholics; (2) whether he will inform the House how often, previous to the hearing of this case, the Rev. Mr. Mahaffy has attended Petty Sessions since his appointment to the magistracy; and (3) whether the Lord Chancellor will take any steps to prevent Protestant clergymen acting as magistrates in such cases as that mentioned?


My attention has been drawn to the proceedings at the Petty Sessions referred to, which were prosecutions for assaults no the police, who, in the performance of their duty, were endeavouring to protect the preachers from the violence of the mob. The adjudicating magistrates were the resident magistrate of the district and the Rev. Mr. Mahaffy. I am informed that the latter gentleman was appointed to the Commission of the Peace in October 1888, since which date he has seven times attended the Howth Petty Sessions. One of the defendants, who was convicted and fined 40s. and costs, or a month's imprisonment in default, has given notice of his intention to appeal. I do not think the facts of the case require me to give an affirmative answer to the third paragraph of the question.


I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether, of the men prosecuted on the occasion referred to, four were convicted of an assault on the police and bound to the peace, although the only evidence against them was that they had blown horns; one was convicted of the same offence and fined, although the very constable who was alleged to have been assaulted gave the accused a good character and would not swear, that he had intended any assault; and one other was also fined, although three witnesses swore that he was at home in bed when the alleged assault took place; and, if the facts be as stated, the Lord Lieutenant will remit the fines in the two last-mentioned cases, and, if possible, discharge the persons bound to the peace from their recognizances with a view to marking his disapproval of a prosecution and a magisterial decision so well calculated to bring the law and its administrators into contempt.


In one of these cases an appeal has been taken, and pending the result it is obvious I cannot consider any of the sentences. Moreover, local inquiry would be necessary to substantiate the facts alleged in the question.

MR. J. JORDAN (Fermanagh, S.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland—(1) whether he is aware that, owing to the excited and threatening attitude of the Orange crowd at Lisbellaw on 2nd July, the Catholic temperance excursionists, to avoid a conflict on their return there, were compelled to leave the train at Maguire's Bridge Station, three miles from their destination; (2) whether, when the chapel bell has been rung on the occasion of evictions in the south of Ireland, the police frequently interfered to stop it; and why, when the Protestant bell was rung at Lisbellaw to collect the Orange party, the police did not similarly interfere; and (3) will he take steps to ascertain the ringleaders of these disorderly proceedings at Lisbellaw, and, if possible, bring them to justice?


I understand that Maguire's Bridge Station, at which the excursionist party detrained, was the proper station for them to alight at. But, be this as it may, it appears, as I stated yesterday, that a contingent of the party did, in point of fact, take the train on the outward journey in the morning at Lisbellaw without being molested in any way. As regards the first part of the second paragraph I am not aware of the particular occasion to which the hon. member refers, as he gives no details. I have already pointed out that no breach of the peace at Lisbellaw on the date mentioned occurred, and that everything passed off peaceably. The police were fully alive to their duty and were in a position to prevent disturbances, no matter by what route the excursionists returned.

MR. JOHNSTON (Belfast, S.)

Can the right hon. Gentleman inform me why there was no breach of the peace on the occasion in question.

[No answer was given to the question.]