§ MR. PATRICK A. M'HUGH (Leitrim, N.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland— (1) whether he is aware that Joseph Dunleavy, Patrick Collins, Thomas Moran, James Flynn, Michael Rooney, Patrick Sweeney, Thomas Scanlan, Michael Doherty, Patrick Neary, and James Finan, all of Sligo, in the county of Sligo, have been served with notice to attend at the next assizes at Sligo and take their trial on the charge of riot, unlawful assembly, and affray, and that, in case they refuse to do so, bench warrants for their arrest will be applied for on behalf of the Crown; (2) is he aware that on the 4th February a magisterial investigation into 929 the charges preferred against these men was held at the Sligo Borough Potty Sessions before 19 magistrates, and that after a hearing, at which the Crown was represented by eminent counsel, a majority of the magistrates decided that informations should be refused, and informations were accordingly refused; (3) is he aware that the minority of magistrates who took part in the magisterial investigation, and voted for returning the accused for trial, were present on the suggestion of the lieutenant of the county, before whom, as foreman of Sligo Grand Jury, the bills against the persons named are to be considered; (4) was the usual course departed from in this case; and, if so, why; (5) is he aware that the charges preferred against these men arose out of the disturbances occasioned by certain persons attempting to preach in the public thoroughfares doctrines antagonistic and offensive to the Catholic religion; (6) is he aware that the Mayor, on behalf of the Corporation, offered the preachers a room in the Town Hall in which to conduct their services; (7) is he aware that Protestants and Catholics alike in Sligo unite in protesting against preaching in the public thoroughfares of the town, and that at the recent magisterial investigation Mr. Garden, D.I., swore that until street-preaching was commenced in it Sligo was the most peaceable town he ever knew; (8) has he been requested by unanimous resolution of the Sligo Corporation to have the law so amended, if necessary, as to prevent annoyance by street-preaching; and (9) will he accede to the prayer of the Corporation, and pending legislation will he issue instructions that no further proceedings be taken against the persons named?
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
The facts are described with substantial accuracy in the first, second, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth paragraphs. I have no information regarding the third paragraph, and as regards the fourth paragraph, I have to observe that the usual course was not departed from. The depositions having been submitted to the Attorney General, he was of opinion that they established a primâ facie case against the defendants, which it was the duty of the magistrates to send forward to a jury for investigation In directing, under such circumstances, 930 notices to be served on the defendants that Bills founded on the evidence taken before the magistrates would be sent up to the Grand Jury at the Assizes against them, the Attorney General followed the usual course.
§ MR. P. M'HUGH
asked whether the right hon. Gentleman would make inquiries as to the third paragraph which he could not answer that day.
§ MR. P. M'HUGH
asked whether the right hon. Gentleman would be prepared to give, on his application, a return of cases of a similar kind occurring in Ireland?
§ MR. P. M'HUGH
I beg to give notice that I will bring this matter before the House at the earliest possible opportunity.