I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that annoyance is being caused to Protestant residents along the River Blackwater, from Charlemont to Lough Neagh, by Nationalists who take part in river excursions on Sundays, and who, when passing through Protestant districts, behave in a threatening and provocative manner; whether he is aware that similar conduct last year provoked a disturbance, and the police undertook to prevent Nationalist excursionists giving offence in future; and whether, in view of the recent renewal of the practices complained of and the danger of a breach of the peace resulting therefrom, he will take action to prevent these exhibitions.
The police authorities inform me that on Sunday, 28th July, an excursion party was returning by steamer along the River Blackwater, when the band played Party tunes, and some of the persons on board shouted when passing through localities inhabited by the opposite party. Provocative conduct of this kind, from whichever side it may come, is much to be deprecated. It is the fact that similar conduct last year led to a disturbance. The police have no power to prevent excursions on the river, but they will use all possible efforts to preserve the peace, and will prosecute if offences should be committed. They will also use any influence they may possess with the leaders of the excursion parties in order that they may prevent any unruly followers from giving offence.