MR. YOUNG (Cavan, E.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that under the Act 23 and 24 Vict, c 32, sees. 2 and 3 (the words are): Any one guilty of riotous, violent, or indecent behaviour in any church or chapel, churchyard or burying ground, or who shall molest any preacher or clergyman ministering therein, may be arrested by any policeman or churchwarden, and, if convicted, fined £5, or imprisoned for two months; and whether there is any reason why this Act should not be enforced in the Church of St. Clement, Belfast, where rioting is permitted to proceed in the presence of the police?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY TO THE LORD LIEUTENANT OF IRELAND (Mr. GERALD W. BALFOUR,) Leeds, Central
I am aware of the provisions of the Act mentioned in the Question. As regards the second paragraph, I would refer to my reply to the similar inquiry addressed to me yesterday by the honourable Member, in which I stated that Government are of opinion that disturbers of the Services in St. Clement's Church should be brought into a court of law by the churchwardens rather 776 than by the police, but that the police are prepared to assist the churchwardens to prevent persons entering the church, if the churchwardens are empowered by the bishop, or the rector, to exercise this authority.