HC Deb 16 July 1913 vol 55 c1230

asked if the Secretary for War's attention has been called to the circumstances under which the ceremony of consecrating the new Colours of the 4th battalion (Princess Victoria's) Royal Irish Fusiliers, which had been arranged for the 22nd of June, when the battalion was at Finner Camp, Ballyshannon, was postponed sine die; whether he is aware that, according to custom when a regiment consists partly of Protestants and partly of Roman Catholics, the Protestant and Roman Catholic Bishops of Clogher were both invited by the commanding officer to officiate at the ceremony, but that the Roman Catholic bishop refused to countenance the ceremony or to permit any of his clergy to do so, on the ground that the participation of the Protestant Bishop would be a desecration; whether no Roman Catholic prelate less intolerant than the Bishop of Clogher is to be found in Ireland to take part in consecrating the Colours; and, if not, whether this bishop's conduct is to be allowed to deprive the regiment of a ceremony valued alike by officers and men?

Colonel SEELY

I am aware of the circumstances referred to by the hon. Member. Where religious susceptibilities are concerned, difficulties must sometimes arise in the case of regiments composed of men of different faiths, but I am hopeful that in this and other cases where such difficulties may occur, means may be found of removing them. Possibly the adoption of procedure on the lines of that followed on the occasion of the recent consecration of the Colours of the Irish Guards may provide a solution.