§ MR. LEAMY
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Who are the Visiting Justices of Waterford Gaol; how often did they visit the late James Commins while he was under restraint; were they present at the sworn inquiry by the Local Government Board into the circumstances of his death, or did they receive notice of same; were any of the relatives of the deceased informed of it, or allowed to be present at it; were all the doctors who had been examined at the coroner's inquest also examined at the inquiry; will the report of the inquiry be laid upon the Table; and, whether, within the last few years, a death occurred in Waterford Gaol under circumstances similar to those attending the death of Commins?
§ MR. TREVELYAN
The Visiting Justices for the Waterford Gaol are the Hon. D. F. Fortescue and Messrs. R. T. Carew, Armstrong, A. Congreve, Congreve Rogers, F. G. Bloomfield, David Kent, Henry Galway, and Lawrence A. Ryan. Two of these gentlemen saw James Commins on the 21st of March, while he was under restraint. He was not visited by them on any other occasion. They were not present at the sworn inquiry held by the Inspector of the Prisons Board; and I am informed that as such a course is not usual they did not receive notice of it. None of the relatives of the deceased were present at the inquiry, nor did they receive notice of it. The death was notified to them as required by statute. The medical officer of the prison was the only medical man examined at the inquiry, inasmuch as the 280 inquiry was for the purpose of ascertaining whether any neglect could be attributed to the officers of the prison, and not into matters which it was the duty of the Coroner to inquire into. Reports of this character are confidential, and for the information of the Government, and it is not usual to lay them on the Table of the House. I am informed that no previous death occurred in Waterford Prison under precisely similar circumstances; but the hon. Member probably refers to the case of a man who, about four years ago, was put under restraint, in consequence of his having made preparations to commit suicide, and was afterwards found dead in his cell.
§ MR. LEAMY
Does the right hon. Gentleman mean to say that it is not a fact that within the last four years two men, who had been strapped down in their beds, were not found dead; whether, this having occurred now a second time, no proper inquiry has been made into it? Does the right hon. Gentleman think it a fair and proper thing that the only doctor who was examined at the inquiry was the one who saw this man kept under this restraint? The man was killed; and it is a mean thing and a burning shame not to give us an inquiry into it. ["Oh!" and "Order!"]
§ MR. TREVELYAN
said, that the Government were not to blame, as any witnesses might have been called upon that had material evidence to give.
§ MR. HEALY
Might I ask the right hon. Gentleman if the doctor of the prison is not the gentleman whose conduct is impugned in this Question; if he is not indirectly charged with causing the death of this man by ordering him to be strapped down; and, also, if the person thus incriminated was the only one who gave evidence at the Government inquiry?
§ [No reply.]