HC Deb 18 March 1879 vol 244 cc1149-50

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Whether it is true that Michael Gilmore, a young man twenty-four years of age, and in the last stage of illness from consumption, was, on the 6th of January last, taken out of his bed and marched through the town of Tuam, in deep snow, by six armed policemen and lodged in the prison there on the suspicion that he had written a threatening letter; whether all his papers were seized and sent to Dublin to be examined by an expert; whether bail was refused and he was not allowed to return home until the medical man certified that his death might take place at any moment; and, whether it is true that nothing was discovered to justify his arrest, and that he has since actually died; and what course under these circumstances the Government propose to take in reference to this case?


Sir, the facts of the case I find are as follows:—Michael Gilmore was arrested in Tuam on the 5th of January of the present year on a charge of having written a threatening letter. The arrest was made under a magistrate's warrant, duly obtained, and took place at half-past 3 in the afternoon, the prisoner not being confined to bed at the time. It is the case that there was snow on the ground that day. On the 2nd of December, a month or more previous to the arrest, Gilmore's residence was searched under a warrant, and certain documents were seized and made the subject of examination by an expert, as indicated by the hon. Gentleman. Bail was, in the first instance, refused, but was accepted the day following the arrest, in accordance with the recommendation of the medical authorities. Meanwhile, during the few hours he was in confinement, every attention was paid to him, and especial care taken to avoid his being exposed to any risk from cold or other causes. On the 11th of January he was committed for trial at Galway Assizes, bail being again accepted, and on the 17th of February, previous to the Assizes being held, he died, the cause of death being consumption. The documents seized, and other evidence, fully justified the arrest in the opinion of those whose duty it was to investigate the case, and I am unable to find that any blame is attributable to any of the persons connected with it.