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Freemasons (Southern Ireland).

Oral Answers to Questions — Ireland. – in the House of Commons on 25th May 1922.

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Colonel NEWMAN:

10.

asked the Chief Secretary whether, having regard to the fact that the meetings and proceedings of the Grand Lodge of the Freemasons of Ireland were expressly protected under the Government of Ireland Act, 1920, and in view of the virtual suppression of the order in the South of Ireland during the past six months, he will say if any actual or implied agreement was arrived at in the negotiations that took place in December of last year that the liberties of non-political and non-sectarian orders should be preserved in the constitution of the Irish Free State which is about to be placed before this House and the assembly of the South of Ireland?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

The answer is in the negative.

Colonel NEWMAN:

When the right hon. Gentleman says "the answer is in the negative," does he mean that at the present moment, the Freemasons cannot hold meetings in Southern Ireland? May we have an answer to that?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

The question on the Paper is, whether any actual or implied agreement was arrived at, in the negotiations that took place in December of last year, for the protection of these associations. To that I have said the answer is in the negative.

Colonel NEWMAN:

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Order of Freemasons is, in fact, at the moment being suppressed?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

I have seen some statements in the papers. I have also reason to know that the Masonic Hall of Dublin is in the hands of lawless people.

Photo of Mr Robert Sharman-Crawford Mr Robert Sharman-Crawford , Down Mid

In reference to the portion of the reply which deals with the Masonic Hall in Dublin—the headquarters of the Masonic Order in Ireland—has the Government made any representation's to the Provisional Government requesting that this hall should be handed back?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

We have made continuous representations to the Provisional Government, not only in regard to this hall, lout in regard to the general maintenance of law and order in the country for which they have assumed responsibility.

Photo of Mr Robert Sharman-Crawford Mr Robert Sharman-Crawford , Down Mid

Has any specific representation been made in regard to this matter?

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

Perhaps the hon. Member will put down a specific question.