HC Deb 01 December 1920 vol 135 cc1263-4W

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether his attention has been called to the condition of affairs existing in many districts in county Armagh; whether he is aware that in these districts armed Unionists are in the practice of waylaying Catholics and searching them along the roads in the rural areas; whether some time ago a young man named Hughes was stopped by a gang of these men, armed with revolvers and rifles, and searched; whether a few nights afterwards a young man named Devlin was also stopped and searched by a crowd of 12 armed men; whether a man named Donnelly was also stopped and a sum of £3 10s. taken from him; whether on the night of the 1st November a number of men coming from a concert in the City Hall, Armagh, were held up at different spots by these armed Unionists and searched; whether he is aware that these incidents are taking place in a countryside which has hitherto been quiet and peaceable; whether this conduct of armed Unionists have received official sanction; and whether he will take steps to put an end to this conduct which tends to create disturbance and breach of the peace in these districts?


I have inquired concerning the incidents mentioned in the hon. Member's question and am informed that the two men, Hughes and Devlin, were held up by armed men some time in the early part of October, but that on being recognised they were at once allowed to proceed and were not molested in any way. It is suggested that this action was the result of numerous raids for arms which had recently taken place in the County of Armagh. The police have no knowledge of the alleged holding up and robbing of a man named Donnelly, and have received no complaint in regard to this matter. I am glad to confirm the hon. Member's statement that the County of Armagh has been and still is generally quiet and peaceful, and I agree that the unauthorised assumption of police duties by any section of the civilian population is to be deprecated as likely to lead to disturbances.

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