HC Deb 07 March 1887 vol 311 cc1384-6
MR. CONWAY (Leitrim, N.)

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether his attention has been called to an article in The Free man's Journal of the 24th February, 1887, with reference to the contemplated sup pression by the Government of Richmond Bridewell, Dublin; whether the Prisons Board recommended the abolition of this prison; and, if so, on what grounds; would the result of the change be an increase to the rates of the City of Dublin; and, if so, to what extent; whether the present Board should consist, according to law, of four persons; is the present constitution of the Board limited to two persons—namely, the Hon. Charles Burke and a Mr. O'Brien; are the present members of the Board paid officials; whether the Hon. Charles Burke was recommended by a Commission for compulsory retirement; on what grounds was the recommendation based; whether the Governor, the two medical officers, the two chaplains, and a number of minor officials of Richmond Prison must be pensioned under the contemplated change though still able to perform their duties; whether the pensions of these officials, whose present salaries are paid out of the Consolidated Fund, must be paid out of the rates of the City of Dublin; and, has the Hon. Charles Burke consulted the Corporation of the City of Dublin or the City Members, or any of them, in reference to these changes?

THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. HOLMES)(who replied) said (Dublin University)

The attention of the Government has been called to the newspaper article mentioned, the writer of which is evidently under a good deal of misapprehension as to the pension charges upon local rates which would be involved by the closing of Richmond Prison, and as to several other points. As already stated, the closing of the prison has been recommended as a step in the consolidation of Dublin prisons advised by the Royal Commission. The matter is not yet decided upon. As in all such cases, it would be necessary to pension those officers whose services could not be utilized under the new arrangement. Care would be taken to keep these charges within the narrowest possible limits; and instead of amounting to £1,000 a-year, in the article in question, being charged on local rates, such charge would not exceed £400, and probably be only £200. It is not the case that the entire charge would fall on local rates. It has not been usual to consult Local Authorities on these subjects. The present constitution of the Board is two paid members, with a medical adviser. This is not contrary to the statute, which fixes a maximum not a minimum strength. I am not aware that the Royal Commission recommended the compulsory retirement of the Chairman; but the Report is before the House.

MR. H. J. GILL (Limerick)

In case of a disagreement between the two Commissioners, who would act as umpire?


The matter would be decided by the Irish Government.

MR. T. M. HEALY (Longford, N.)

asked whether, before this prison was done away with, they would have an opportunity of discussing the matter in the House?


I cannot answer that Question. I will undertake that nothing shall be done till the Chief Secretary takes his place. Then, of course, the Question can be addressed to him, and he will be able to reply.


The right hon. and learned Gentleman has not answered Questions eight and nine.


I do not think the two medical officers must be pensioned under the contemplated change; and so far as regards the pensions of the others, they would not fall entirely upon the local rates. As I have already said, the Act of Parliament provides that only a comparatively small portion should fall upon the local rates.