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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 March, 2005, 23:34 GMT 00:34 UK
Bishop banned over violence fears
Home Office
The papers are now available from the National Archive
A Roman Catholic bishop from Australia was banned from parts of Britain and Ireland because of fears he would spark a riot, newly released papers reveal.

Home Office papers released on Friday show fears that Doctor Daniel Mannix, the Irish-born Archbishop of Melbourne, was a Sinn Fein supporter.

He was banned from Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and Ireland when he visited the UK in 1920.

The documents are now available at the National Archive in Kew, London.

Dr Mannix arrived in Britain in August 1920, but could not be banned comlpetely as he was a British subject.

Disorder fears

An official decree said he was "suspected of having acted and of being about to act in a manner prejudicial to the public safety and the defence of the Realm".

He was diverted from the SS Baltic, which was heading for Liverpool, to a ship heading for Penzancel, amid fears that his arrival might lead to disorder on Merseyside.

A Lancashire Constabulary chief constable wrote: "I am not only afraid, but I know that we shall have serious disturbances in the neighbourhood if he comes.

"It is an open secret that the Orangemen are arranging forces with a view to forming a counter demonstration, and they mean to come into open conflict."

Meeting ban

Authorities in some areas were given powers by the Home Office to ban any meeting or procession if they suspected a riot might break out.

And the chief constable of Bootle Borough refused permission for a meeting in its town hall, saying: "I have received definite information that if any meeting or procession is attempted, an organised demonstration of protest is being arranged to prevent it, and this I am convinced would result in serious rioting, as feeling at the moment is intense."

Archbishop Mannix, who died in 1962, had been president of the Seminary to train priests in Maynooth, Ireland, before his appointment to Melbourne in 1914.

He publicly opposed conscription in Australia in World War I.

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