HC Deb 12 August 1909 vol 9 cc632-4
Captain CRAIG (for Mr. Lonsdale)

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he is aware that on the night of 10th July the flag was stolen off Brantry Church, county Tyrone, and that with the view of avoiding disturbance an arrangement was made with the sergeant of police at Caledon that, on condition that Orangemen would refrain from taking their drums past the local Hibernian Lodge, the Hibernians would be prevented from parading past the church and Orange Hall; whether he is aware that this arrangement was honourably kept by the Orangemen but broken by the Hibernians: and whether he has any explanation of the action of the police in this matter?


I am informed by the constabulary authorities that a flag was stolen from Brantry Church as stated. This caused some ill-feeling, and the local sergeant of police saw the leader of the Hibernians on the subject, and understood him to promise that his party would not parade past the church or Orange Hall until this feeling had subsided. The Orangemen then agreed not to go near the Hibernian Hall on the 30th ultimo, for which night a drumming parade had been arranged. The leader of the Hibernians, however, denied that he had given the undertaking attributed to him, and the Hibernian party accordingly marched past the church on the 2nd instant, but without any disorder. As the route had frequently been used by both parties the police refrained from using force to prevent the passage of the Hibernians.


Is it not the duty of the police to respect an arrangement come to with the object of preserving the peace?


Well, I really do not know that the police were concerned in this internecine strife. So far as they can, they do their best to see that the peace is preserved, but misunderstandings sometimes arise, even in this House, between Whips and the opposite party.


Can the right hon. Gentleman explain how it is that when an understanding, honourably acquiesced in by the police, is broken it should invariably be broken by the Nationalist party?


No, Sir, I cannot; neither do I accept the statement as true.


Is it not a fact that the Hibernians had proceeded past this place without any disturbance, and that there was no reason for the interference of the police?


Well, I have answered the question. No disturbance occurred, and I should have thought the matter might be forgotten.


Inasmuch as the Hibernians were denounced by Cardinal Logue as an irreligious and political body, would it not be well to take that fact into consideration?


Neither the hon. Member nor myself have anything to do with Cardinal Logue.

Mr. LONSDALE and Captain CRAIG



Order, order. It is making a mountain out of a molehill.