HC Deb 10 March 1902 vol 104 cc889-90

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to the conduct of a force of police under Sergeant Lyons, of Ballyhaunis, at Island, Co. Mayo, on 24th February last when a man named Patrick Healy, while thanking the people for assistance given by them to the Island tenants in bringing home turf, was set upon by Sergeant Lyons, who struck him with his baton and ordered the constables to disperse the crowd with their batons, with the result that a man named Owen Carney and his wife were knocked down by a constable; and will he state the reason for this attack, and what action he proposes to take in this matter.


I am informed that on the date mentioned a crowd, of which Patrick Healy was a prominent member, lighted a bonfire in the immediate proximity of the house of an individual who has been subjected to intimidation because he is employed as herd on a grazing farm. Healy addressed the crowd and was using language of an intimidatory character, which was endorsed by the crowd, when Sergeant Lyons called upon him to desist in his attacks. This Healy refused to do and the sergeant thereupon called upon the crowd to disperse, as the gathering under the circumstances was an unlawful assembly. The crowd not only refused to disperse but persisted in its illegal course, and the sergeant then ordered the police to disperse it by force. Healy and Carney were struck, but neither Carney nor his wife were knocked down. Mrs. Carney, who had a stone in her hand, incited the crowd to stone the police. The sergeant performed his duty with judgment and tact, and no action is called for as suggested in the Question.


Then are we to understand that in future in Ireland a police sergeant is to be the judge of what is an unlawful assembly?

MR. BLAKE (Longford, S.)

And are we to take lit that an assembly becomes unlawful immediately a particular speaker uses unlawful language?


That is an abstract question.


But it is the natural outcome of your answer.


Are the police to decide whether or not an assembly is unlawful?


And as to this sergeant, has His Excellency satisfied himself as to his legal knowledge?

[No answer was returned.]