HC Deb 06 July 1904 vol 137 cc777-8

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that flags and banners were some time ago hung out of all the public-houses in Roundstone, county Galway; that the Reverend Father Glee-son sent a written complaint to Sir Antony M'Donnell against Sergeant Ryan an I Constable Laidley for explaining to certain publicans that it was illegal to hang flags from their licensed premises; and that the sergeant was severely reprimanded and the constable transferred because of performing this duty; and, if so, will he say whether an opportunity was given to Ryan and Laidley to refute the charges contained in Father Gleeson's letter; if not, will he lay a copy of the letter upon the Table.

(Answered by Mr. Wyndham.) The replies to the first two queries are in the affirmative. On inquiry it transpired that only one publican was informed that a display of flags was illegal. The occasion on which these emblems were displayed was the eve of the visit to Roundstone of the newly-appointed Archbishop of Tuam, the first visit after his appointment. The flags exhibited were not Party emblems of the character contemplated by the statute 6 and 7 Will. 4, cap. 38, sec. 9, and as it appeared that the constable had acted without reference to the district inspector or head constable, the Inspector-General considered that his interference was improper, and he so informed him. The sergeant was exonerated from blame. Constable Laidley's transfer had no connection with this incident. The Inspector-General considered he had shown distinct sectarian feeling while stationed at Roundstone, and the county inspector was of opinion that, in the interests of the public service, it was necessary to transfer him to another station. Explanations were furnished by both the sergeant and constable in respect of the matters alleged against them by the Reverend Mr. Gleeson.