§ MR. HOGAN (Tipperary, Mid)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that much annoyance has been occasioned at Bournea, County Tipperary by the incursion of a body of itinerant preachers, and the insulting character of their utterances to the Roman Catholic residents who constitute the vast majority of the population; whether he will cause inquiry to be made into the allegation 1071 that one of the intruders holds the office of clerk of petty sessions in the town of Roscrea; whether the district inspector has had to draft a special body of police to the scene; and whether such police protection will entail an extra tax on the district.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. ATKINSON,) (for Mr. G. W. BALFOUR) Londonderry, N.
Religious services have been conducted nightly by a body of Methodists for the past month in a covered building, situate in a field adjoining the public road near the place mentioned. Crowds have assembled on several occasions on the road, and by groaning, shouting, and other indecent and disorderly conduct, have endeavoured to disturb these services. It has been found necessary, in order to protect this body of worshippers, who were acting entirely within their rights, from insult and possibly assault, to have in attendance a body of police. So far as the police have been able to ascertain, the preachers have not made use of any language of an insulting character to Roman Catholics, unless the expression of religious opinions with which Roman Catholics disagree be considered an insult to them. The petty sessions clerk at Roscrea attended their services, as he had a perfect right to do, and is not in any way blameable in that respect. No additional expense to the district has been involved, as the police were drawn from another district of the same county.
§ MR. WILLIAM ABRAHAM (Cork County, N.E.)
Is there any meeting-house in Bournea large enough to hold these worshippers, instead of their assembling in a public place?
§ MR. ATKINSON
I am not aware. But they have a perfect right to express their opinions, and to expect the protection of the police.