§ MR. DOOGAN (Tyrone, E.)
To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that a meeting of magistrates was held yesterday at Coagh, county Tyrone, with the object of having a proclamation issued to prevent the free passage of the Nationalist bodies of Arboe, in accordance with immemorial custom, through the village of Coagh to attend a public meeting which is to be held at Drummullen, near Cookstown, on St. Patrick"s Day; and whether, if such proclamation has been recommended, the Irish Administration will refuse to deprive the people of a Nationalist district of their right to traverse the public thoroughfares on their legitimate business.
(Answered by Mr. Wyndham.) There was no meeting of magistrates on the 23rd instant. The hon. Member presumably refers to their meeting on the 14th instant, when they expressed the opinion that a Nationalist procession through the district of Coagh, which is predominantly Orange, would be calculated to endanger the preservation of the public peace, and would in all probability lead to rioting and serious disturbance. It is incorrect to say that it has been the immemorial custom for such processions to march through Coagh; on the contrary, it has been the recognised rule for many years to abstain from marching through the district. Government is unable to entertain any arrangement which contemplates a departure from this rule.