HC Deb 08 March 1886 vol 303 cc111-2

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, What is the number of convicts now employed on public works in Ireland, and on what works they are employed; what number of convicts it is proposed to employ on projected harbour works in that Country; whether he can inform the House when the various works on which convicts are now employed will be completed; and, whether it has been brought to his notice, that in the last Report of the General Prisons Board it is shown that the Board have been obliged to resort to many expedients to keep the convicts in Ireland fully employed since the breaking up of Spike Island Prison, and— That when the works now in hand, which will not extend over many months, are completed, it will be quite impossible to find at Mount joy out of doors labour for the convicts who should be employed on public works?


The number of convicts at present employed on public works in Ireland is 480. They are engaged in the construction and reconstruction of prison buildings and in various trades. It is expected that the building works now in hand will be completed about the end of this or the beginning of next year. The number of convicts which it is proposed to employ on the projected works at Galway is about 300; though the Board tell me that after making necessary allowances for fatigues, tradesmen, servants, the sick, and light labour men, they are doubtful whether that number will be actually available for the works proper, owing to the gratifying circumstance that they are looking forward to a diminution of the number of convicts. I cannot say whether it is now possible to name a date for the commencement of the works at Galway. I am aware that the hon. Member for that city is much interested in the project, and he has written me several letters about it; but he had better put himself into communication with the Board in reference to the matter.