§ MR. DAVITT (Mayo, South)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, with regard to the fact that a public meeting announced to be hold on Sunday last, at Breaffy, county Mayo, to advocate the programme of the United Irish League and the manifestation of a public protest against the continued imprisonment of the widow Brennan, was proclaimed and suppressed, will he state on what grounds, if any, such exercise of the right of public meeting was by force taken away from the people of that locality.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. G. W. BALFOUR,) Leeds, Central
The meeting referred to was prohibited because there were strong grounds for apprehending that it was convened for the purpose of advocating the boycotting of certain persons who, in the exercise of their legal rights, had become tenants of grass lands in the district, and of intimidating and unlawfully preventing other persons from exercising the same rights by becoming tenants of such lands, and that intimidation would follow. The avowed object of the meeting so far as disclosed by the placards convening it, was "to denounce land-grabbing and other such practices detrimental to the interests of the people." If this is an accurate description of the programme of the United Irish League, it is so far correct to say that the meeting was announced to advocate that programme, although, no doubt, particular individuals were aimed at. There was no mention in the placard of the case of Mrs. Brennan, who was committed to prison for contempt of Court on an order of the Vice-Chancellor.
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
On what ground was it anticipated that objectionable acts would be committed?
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
I cannot answer in detail, but before the meeting one of the individuals concerned was referred to in a newspaper, published in the district, as one whom the meeting was to be held to denounce.