HC Deb 13 September 1887 vol 321 cc474-5
Mr. W. A. MACDONALD (Queen's Co., Ossory)

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether it is true that on the 16th of August last, at Maryborough Prison, three warders were sent out in charge of 16 prisoners to work at the now cottages; that, later in the day, the Governor sent one of the three warders and seven of the convicts away into the country to work, leaving the two remaining warders in charge of the nine convicts; whether it is true that four of these nine convicts—namely, Thomas Manning, undergoing 10 years' imprisonment, Morgan O'Brien, 10 years, Patrick Daly, seven years, James Murphy, seven years, belonged to the class of convicts who ought not to be allowed outside the gate of the prison without an armed guard; whether, about 5 o'clock on the same day, convict James Murphy ran away and escaped; whether, in consequence, Warder O'Brien was called on to resign his post, on pain of dismissal, and this without any sworn inquiry being made; whether in other convict prisons a Military guard is employed; and, whether, taking into consideration the number of convicts who have escaped from Maryborough Prison since 1879, and the number of warders who in consequence have been dismissed or reduced in rank and pay, the Government will institute a sworn inquiry into the circumstances of the escape of Murphy and the virtual dismissal of Warder O'Brien?


It is not possible to deal with the details involved in this Question for some days, as it will be necessary to communicate with, the Inspector who held the inquiry and with the Governor of the prison. So far as the Question relates to Warder O'Brien, the decision of the Prison Board was arrived at on his own evidence, which showed that the escape of convict Murphy arose from culpable and admitted neglect on the part of Warder O'Brien. A statement of the whole case, with the minutes of evidence taken at the inquiry, was laid before the Government, and the Lord Lieutenant confirmed the action of the Prison Board.