HC Deb 29 July 1909 vol 8 cc1341-2

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he is aware that the Orangemen of Maguiresbridge, county Fermanagh, attempted on Sunday and Monday, 11th and 12th July, to erect arches across the public road, and between the residence of the Catholic priest and the Catholic church, under which the Catholic inhabitants going to and from their devotions would be compelled to pass, and that the Orangemen were only prevented from accomplishing their object by the forcible intervention of the Royal Irish Constabulary; whether he is aware that two gentlemen holding the commission of the peace, Mr. Porter-Porter, O.L., of Rellish, and Mr. W. S. Henderson, of Maguiresbridge, gave directions to the local Orangemen, which were carried out, to display an Orange flag, supplied for the purpose by Mr. Henderson, in front of the Catholic priest's house at Maguiresbridge on that day, and that Mr. Maguire on that day headed an Orange band to the priest's door which was playing the Orange tune, "Kick the Pope"; whether he will take any steps to secure the Catholic people of Maguiresbridge protection from a repetition of such actions; and will he make representations to the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, in reference to the retention in the commission of the peace of Mr. Henderson and Mr. Porter, regard being had to the fact that Mr. Porter had been dis- missed from the commission of the peace, to which he was restored on the recommendation of the Earl of Erne, the Lieutenant of the county, who is the Orange Grand Master?


I am informed by the constabulary authorities that no attempt was made by the Orangemen to erect arches on the 11th instant, but that on the 12th instant a banner was displayed across the street near the end of the village. I am told, however, that the Catholic inhabitants had not to pass under any arch going to or from their devotions. The police prevented the erection of an arch at the other end of the village near the priest's house, but a large red ensign was subsequently placed in a field nearly opposite the house. I have no knowledge of any directions given by any magistrates to the Orangemen, but one of the magistrates referred to, Mr. Porter-Porter, promised the police to use his influence to prevent an arch being erected at an unsuitable point. I am informed by the police that Mr. Henderson, the other magistrate named in the question, did not, as stated, supply a flag. I can obtain no information as to whether Mr. Maguire, referred to in the question, took any part in the proceedings. The police report that the band played on several occasions through the village, and that the tune mentioned in the question was included in its repertoire. One can only hope that time may allay the deplorable sectarian and political bitterness which leads to these displays in the North of Ireland. Meanwhile, the police will do their best to preserve the peace and protect, as far as is in their power, all peaceable persons from insult. The Government have no information as to the action of any of the magistrates mentioned in the question which would justify representations being made to the Lord Chancellor as to their conduct.