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Limerick Meetings and Police Affairs in Ireland |

Limerick Meetings and Police Affairs in Ireland

In recent parliamentary proceedings, inquiries have been raised regarding the conduct of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) in Longford and the purported involvement of Freemason Lodges in facilitating the membership of Protestant policemen. These discussions shed light on the complexities surrounding public meetings and the adherence of police personnel to established regulations.

Mr Farrell, in addressing the Chief Secretary for Ireland, expressed concern over the RIC’s intervention in a meeting organized by the United Irish League in Longford. He sought clarification on whether such actions were sanctioned or advised by the authorities, despite assurances that indoor public gatherings of a lawful nature would not face interference. In response, the Chief Secretary assured ongoing communication with the Inspector-General, expressing hopes to prevent future disruptions of lawful assemblies.

Additionally, inquiries were made regarding Freemason Lodges allegedly encouraging Protestant policemen to join their ranks before the enactment of the Constabulary and Police (Ireland) Bill. Mr Joyce specifically referenced an instance in Limerick, questioning whether a meeting was arranged to facilitate police officers’ membership. However, the Chief Secretary stated no information supported these claims, asserting the absence of knowledge regarding such Lodge activities.

The debate extended to the perceived disparity between joining Catholic benevolent societies and Freemasonry among Irish policemen. Mr Duke refuted any suggestion of preferential treatment, emphasizing the necessity for impartiality in evaluating such matters.

Regarding the overall state of the police force, Mr Dillon urged a tempered and conciliatory approach, highlighting recent challenges arising from purported misinformation and incitement within the ranks. The Chief Secretary acknowledged these difficulties, attributing them to deliberate false statements aimed at unsettling the force. He affirmed the general adherence to disciplinary rules, dispelling rumours of secret society affiliations among the police, including the Ancient Order of Hibernians.

Mr T. M. Healy attributed tensions in Dublin to delays in governmental actions, particularly those originating from the Treasury. He implied that such delays exacerbated existing issues, suggesting a need for expeditious decision-making to maintain peace and order.

Ultimately, the Constabulary and Police (Ireland) Bill passed its third reading amid discussions surrounding police conduct, public meetings, and the broader socio-political landscape in Ireland. The debates underscored the complexities of governance and the delicate balance required to address diverse interests while upholding the rule of law.

Constabulary Gazette (Dublin) – Saturday 02 December 1916

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