HC Deb 01 December 1909 vol 13 cc490-1
Mr. J. B. LONSDALE (for Mr. Moore)

asked the Chief Secretary if he is aware that the justices of Portadown made an order directing that the public-houses should be closed on 28th August in the Portadown urban district; if he is aware that several gentlemen of repute, including three Methodist clergymen, in recent proceedings in Portadown swore that this order was in many instances openly disobeyed by Nationalist publicans; if the police in such proceedings called no witnesses to support the testimony of the clergymen and made no effort to find them in support of a prosecution for breaches of the above order, although such breaches took place in broad daylight and in the presence of different constables other than the head constable; whether County Inspector Ball originally opposed the making of such order, and if this was the reason that the Irish Government took no steps to enforce it; and what action the Government intend to take in the matter, having regard to their publicly expressed policy on the temperance question?


I am informed by the constabulary authorities that the magistrates at Portadown made an order closing the public-houses in the town on 28th August, and that three Methodist clergymen made statements to the effect that in one case the order was disobeyed. Proceedings were taken against the publican, and the police did all they could to obtain evidence in addition to that of the clergymen, but without success. No breaches of the order took place in the presence of the police, and if the order was broken without their knowledge it is due to the fact that they were fully occupied in preventing rioting, in which they were happily successful. Mr. Ball, at the request of the magistrates, attended their meeting, and expressed the opinion that there were not sufficient grounds for making the closing order, but this in no way affected the action of the police. The case against the publican has been dismissed by the magistrates, and no further action appears to be required.