HC Deb 02 July 1902 vol 110 cc536-7

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that the Irish National Foresters of Armagh and Monaghan were informed on the eve of their excursion to Moville, county Derry, for Sunday 29th June, that it could not take place as an information had been sworn before Colonel Tynte, R.M.,; Derry, that there would probably be a disturbance between the Apprentice Boys and the Foresters, and that the Great Northern Railway Company refused to convey the excursionists to Derry; and, whether he will state when and by whom the information was sworn and its grounds; at whose instigation the railway company refused to carry out their part of the contract; and why the authorities did not draft into Derry a force of police sufficiently strong to protect the members of these societies.

MR. M'KEAN (Monaghan, S.)

May I, at the same time, ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to the fact that an excursion to Moville, county Derry, fixed to take place on the 29th June, by the members of the Armagh and the Monaghan Branches of the Irish National Foresters, was prevented at the last moment from taking place, to the disappointment of the excursionists, owing to the fact that an Orange demonstration was fixed to take place in Londonderry on the same day; and whether, in view of the action of the police in preventing this excursion from taking place, instead of providing for the preservation of the peace, he can take steps to prevent such occurrences in Ireland in the future.


The Foresters arranged an excursion to Londonderry by train, and thence to Moville by steamer, for the 29th June. This was the date previously selected by the Orange Society for the annual inarch to church of its members in Derry. One steamer only, with accommodation for 400 passengers, was engaged to convey the Foresters' party to Moville. A much larger number would, as a result, be left behind in Derry, and these, it was understood, would be re-inforced by local Nationalists. At this juncture a serious breach of the peace was anticipated, and an information to this effect was sworn by the District Inspector of Police. The leaders of the Foresters were informed of the apprehended danger to the peace, and, it was also suggested to them by the police authorities that the excursion: should be postponed. So far as is known, the railway company did not refuse to carry the excursionists to Derry, but they offered to make the tickets available for another date, or to convey the party to some other destination on the date mentioned. The Roman Catholic clergy in Derry, moreover, urged the Foresters not to proceed to Derry on the occasion. They agreed in the end not to do so, but to make an excursion to Bundoran instead. By so deciding, the Foresters gave a valuable example of self-restraint and consideration for the feelings of others; thus promoting the prospects of amity and goodwill and saving the public the cost of a large police force.


Why were not sufficient police drafted into Derry?


I think the Foresters, by pursuing the course they did, obviated the necessity and set a good example.