§ MR. M. J. KENNY (Tyrone, Mid)
said, he would take that opportunity of raising a question as to the transfer of prisoners from Omagh to Derry Prison. In Omagh, the gaol occupied a position convenient for the county and the Province, and the Committee on the subject, a short time ago, reported not altogether unfavourably to Omagh Prison. The defects complained of had been remedied, though, certainly, it was after a long delay that the necessary improvements were made, and only after a Governor of the prison died from a disease contracted in the building. Instead of Omagh, it was now proposed to make Derry the central prison; but the gaol at the latter place was totally unfit for the purpose. It was old and antiquated in its arrangements, was one of the worst prisons in Ireland, and had not the advantage of being in a central position, standing as it did in the North-West of the Province. The cost of maintaining prisoners at Derry was also much heavier than at Omagh, while the amount of productive labour turned out at the latter place was much greater. Beyond that, the prison at Omagh might be made far more useful than it had been, for it had been only partially used. Instead of prisoners from Fermanagh being sent there, they had been sent elsewhere, though a considerable saving might be effected by sending prisoners there from Fermanagh, Donegal, Derry, 1861 and Armagh. It was the usual mismanagement of the Irish Prisons Board that prevented this being done, and now they proposed to change the prison to a far less central position, and that at an increased cost. On what grounds had they proceeded in their action? So far as he knew, all the arguments were against the change.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. JOHN MORLEY) (Newcastle-on-Tyne)
said, he could not profess to answer the Question put to him, as regarded this prison, with a thorough knowledge of all the circumstances. But the subject was raised in the form of a Question a short time since, and he then looked through the Papers in relation to the matter. The impression made upon his mind by the information he gathered was that the Prisons Board had been well advised in their action, and had acted prudently. Their policy was guided by the recommendations of the Prisons Commission, which, as the hon. Member would recollect, sat in Ireland not long since, and made careful inquiry into the whole subject. The change in the status of Omagh Prison was entirely in conformity with the spirit of those recommendations.
§ Question, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair," put, and agreed to.
§ Bill considered in Committee, and reported, without Amendment; to be read the third time upon Monday next.