§ MR. W. FIELD (Dublin, St. Patrick)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, whether his attention has been drawn to the action of the police in Cookstown in interfering with the Irish National Foresters' band; whether he will have an Inquiry instituted to ascertain under what authority the police prevented the band traversing the route previously submitted to and approved of by them; and, whether, in view of the fact that a case which arose out of their interference was dismissed, instructions will be given that equal treatment shall be accorded to all bands conforming with local regulations.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
The incident to which the hon. Member presumably refers occurred at Cookstown on the 10th April. It is not true that the route intended to be taken by the Foresters' Band on this occasion had been previously submitted to arid approved of by the police; what took place was this, the secretary of the Foresters was informed early in the day by the police that the band would not be allowed to pass through the portion of the town known as the Orange quarter, and he gave the police an undertaking that the band would make no attempt to do so. The band, however, in violation of this agreement, did attempt to enter the Orange quarter and was at once stopped by the police. At this point a girl who was one of the crowd that accompanied the band attacked another girl of the opposite party, and they were separated by the police, who prevented what might have resulted in a much more serious disturbance of the peace. Both girls were prosecuted at 1683 Petty Sessions and the Chairman, in dismissing the case, stated that the Magistrates were influenced by the fact that the defendants had become good friends since the occurrence. At the same time he added that the police had acted properly in bringing up the case. Equal treatment is accorded to the bands belonging to both parties in Cookstown. Nationalist bands are not permitted to parade the Orange quarter, nor are Orange bands allowed to play in the Roman Catholic quarter.