HC Deb 30 March 1896 vol 39 cc381-2

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, will he state on whom will fall the expense involved by the dispatch of a large force of constabulary, consisting of a district inspector, a head constable, nine sergeants, and fifty men, from head-quarters to Sligo, to aid the local authorities to cope with the situation caused by the open-air preaching held in that town; is he aware that the proper authorities have condemned this street preaching as an act of obstruction and calculated to provoke disorder and breaches of the peace, and that these preachers have been offered the use of large halls in the town, and of open spaces outside the town; and, whether, under these circumstances, the police authorities will take steps to so deal with cases of alleged obstruction as will tend to preserve peace and order in the town of Sligo?


One officer, one head constable, nine sergeants and 40 men were sent from headquarters to Sligo in connection with the open-air preaching. A portion of the expense entailed in dispatching this force will be charged to the Borough of Sligo. The local Magistrates and the Corporation of Sligo have condemned the preaching, as stated. The preachers have been offered the use of the Town Hall and also, I believe, an open space of ground for the purpose of holding their services, an offer which, in my opinion, they would be acting wisely in accepting. I think it would be equally wise if those having influence in the district would advise the people not to molest the preachers. The police have instructions to prevent, and have prevented, any obstruction being caused to the thoroughfares in Sligo by preaching in the streets. The rioting and disorder which have necessitated the presence of an extra force of police, have arisen from attacks made by the mob upon the preachers walking through the streets to and from the place of preaching.