§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that a Methodist minister, returning from a religious service at Belleek, county Fermanagh, where he was one of the officiating clergy, was attacked outside the village of Garrison by four men with blackened faces, who threw him off his bicycle, which they smashed; whether the clergyman thus assaulted was a prominent worker for the radical candidate for North Fermanagh at the last general election: and whether the men 387 who assaulted him, who were convicted and fined at the Belleek Petty Sessions, were all Orangemen; and what steps will the Government take to protect, from the violence of the members of the Orange lodges, persons of their own religion from whom they disagree on political questions.
The police received information that on the night of 6th February, a number of persons were returning on cars from service in the Methodist Church at Belleek. Mr. Hindmarsh, a Methodist Lay Evangelist, who was riding a bicycle, accompanied the party. When about a mile from Belleek, stones were thrown at the party by four men, whose faces, however, were not blackened. One of the men barred Mr. Hindmarsh's way, and, as a result, Mr. Hindmarsh jumped from his bicycle and fell on the road. The four men then smashed the bicycle, but did no personal injury to Mr. Hindmarsh. The police prosecuted the offenders, one of whom gave evidence against the other three. Two of these were fined £1 each, and the other 5s. for assaulting Mr. Hindmarsh. They had already paid that gentleman the sum of £9 for the damage done to his bicycle and for costs. Mr. Hindmarsh himself informed the police that he was a stranger in the locality and had taken no part in the recent election. His assailants, according to the information of the police, are not Orangemen. I am informed by the inspector-general that the excitement which attended the recent contested election has now abated, and that no special police action appears to be necessary. Whenever protection becomes necessary against violence from any quarter it is the duty of the police to afford it.