§ MR. MACALEESE (Monaghan, N.)
I beg to ask Mr. Attorney General for Ireland, in view of the recentbehaviour of Orange mobs in Belfast, who did damage to Roman Catholic property under cover of celebrations for the relief of Ladysmith, what provision has been 218 made to protect the Roman Catholic inhabitants from still further injury in the event of other victories being gained over the Boers; has it come to his knowledge that, in the recent occurrences, the premises of over twenty-five Roman Catholic traders were damaged, the schools of the Christian Brothers attacked, and an assault made on St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church when the congregation was leaving after evening Lenten devotions; and, in future, will the police be permitted to disperse riotous mobs appearing in the streets of Belfast.
§ MR. ATKINSON
There is no foundation whatever for the suggestion that the disturbances in Belfast on Wednesday last were participated in by Orange or riotous mobs under cover of celebrations for the relief of Ladysmith. I have already stated, in answer to a question of the hon. Member for Mid Cork, that the regrettable and reprehensible occurrences of Wednesday were the work of a few individuals only out of the many thousands of loyal citizens of all classes who paraded the streets on the occasion in a perfectly peaceable and orderly manner. The police of Belfast are fully alive to their duty in preserving the public peace, and this duty they will continue to perform notwithstanding the difficulties which they may have to encounter and irrespective of who may be the aggressors.
§ DR. TANNER
Arising out of the answer, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman if it is not the fact that these outrages have also occurred on occasions like the defeat of Stormberg, and can he give any assurance that at times when news comes of either a defeat or a victory, due protection will be afforded to the property of Catholics?
§ MR. ATKINSON
I am not aware of any riots on the occasion of the alleged defeats, but, of course, the police will be proper protection in all cases.