HC Deb 26 June 1882 vol 271 cc383-5

asked the Secretary of State for War, If it is true that James Doyle, an Irish soldier, was discharged from the Royal Artillery some weeks ago, he being at the time not of sound mind, and was sent, under the care of a Bombardier, from Plymouth to the county Wicklow, where, his friends having gone away, he was turned loose to shift for himself; whether he is aware that the unfortunate man was arrested by the police as a tramp, but was immediately liberated on receipt of a telegram from the Military authorities at Plymouth; whether he is aware that he has since been brought up before the magistrates at Newtown Petty Sessions, charged with breaking into an unoccupied house, and unlawfully making use of certain food he found there, and been, sentenced to three months' imprisonment with hard labor; and, whether he can state why this man was not sent to the Military Asylum instead of being treated in the manner complained of?


I find, Sir that James Doyle enlisted in January last at Wicklow for the Royal Artillery. A few weeks after his enlistment he was found to be imbecile, and was discharged He was taken to his native county by a noncommissioned officer, and handed over to his sister-in-law, who gave a receipt for the balance of his pay, about 15s. There is no permanent military asylum, and it is the uniform practice to send imbeciles to their parishes, whether discharged from their regiments or from Netley. The War Office has no knowledge of what became of the man after he was taken over by his relatives.


asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If his attention has been called to the case of James Doyle, a discharged artilleryman, as reported in the "Wicklow Newsletter" of the 17th instant, as follows:— A Lunatic Burglar James Doyle, a discharged soldier, was brought up at Newtown Petty Sessions on remand, charged by Constable Moore with breaking into a house belonging to Mr. Keene, at Tiglin, in the occupation of John Reynolds, and unlawfully making use of certain food, &c. there on the 26th ult. Prisoner (whose face wore a most vacant and stupid expression), in reply to a question by the Bench as to his motive for breaking into the house, said he was benighted, and had nowhere to stay. He went first to the house next door—there were a lot of them empty. Constable Moore proved arresting the prisoner in the house. On searching him he found nothing but a piece of iron (produced). Constable Nealy said the man was arrested about a month ago at Rathnew as a tramp. He then stated that he was from Plymouth, and had been in the Artillery, from which he had just received his discharge. The police communicated with the military authorities at Plymouth, from whom they received a telegram (handed in) stating that the prisoner had received his discharge, and had been sent home to Ireland in charge of a bombardier. On receipt of the telegram the man was liberated. The Chairman said the prisoner would be sentenced to three months' hard labor as a vagrant; whether he will inquire into the matter with a view to having the sentence remitted, and the unfortunate man transferred to an asylum, or otherwise properly cared for; and, whether he will caution the magistrates to exercise more discretion in dealing with such cases in future?


Sir, I have obtained a report on this case, from which I find that the facts appear to be stated with substantial accuracy in the newspaper. Further inquiry is, however, necessary to determine whether or not the man is insane, and I have given the necessary directions for that purpose.