HC Deb 10 December 1888 vol 331 cc1608-10
THE LORD MAYOR OF DUBLIN (Mr. Sexton) (Belfast, W.)

, who had the following Question on the Paper: To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether he will communicate to the House the latest information in his possession with respect to the condition of Mr. Thomas Moroney; whether he will lay upon the Table copies of any Reports on the subject by the medical officer of Kilmainham Prison, or any medical man who has been specially deputed to investigate; whether the Executive intend to take the initiative, either by communication with Judge Boyd, or otherwise, with a view to the release of Mr. Moroney; and, whether the prison records are available for the purpose of an application for such release? observed that the Chief Secretary, knowing that this Question was to be asked, was not present, and the Solicitor General for Ireland was not also in the House. He would, therefore, ask the first Lord of the Treasury if he would arrange that some Minister should give an answer to the Question?

THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY) (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)

said, it should be replied to before the Questions were disposed of. The Solicitor General for Ireland had just gone out to get his notes.

[Subsequently the Chief Secretary entered the House, and the Question was repeated.]


, in reply, said, he did not know that he could do anything more than repeat the answer he had the honour of giving to the House on Saturday. What he then stated was that materials should be supplied to any gentleman who wished to bring the case before Judge Boyd. He was asked by the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Bradlaugh) if he would supply him with the information in possession of the Government if he desired to bring the case before Judge Boyd, and he replied in the affirmative. He had already communicated with that hon. Member, telling him that certain Papers were awaiting him at the Irish Office. He did not think it would be desirable to lay the Papers on the Table of the House, as they might be of a confidential character; but the necessary information could be furnished to hon. Members desiring it.


I have to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether Dr. O'Carroll, of the Irish Prisons Board, has reported that Mr. Moroney is on the border between excitement and insanity; whether Dr. Norman, the Medical Superintendent of the Richmond Lunatic Asylum, has made a Report of a more grave character; whether the Visiting Justices of the prison, at two successive meetings, have passed Resolutions calling on the Government to release Mr. Moroney; and whether, under these circumstances, the Executive will either release Mr. Moroney themselves, or move the Judge to release him?


said, the hon. Member was aware, from repeated statements made in the House, that it was not in the power of the Executive to release Moroney. [Mr. T. M. HEALY: Shocking.] The Executive had made the frankest and fullest offer to hon. Gentlemen opposite, and had repeated publicly in that house what Judge Boyd in his judicial capacity had stated, that Moroney, or any other person appearing on his behalf, might have the whole case of his health judicially investigated. Under these circumstances, it was quite clear that those hon. Gentlemen who believed Moroney ought to be released on the ground of ill-health, had only to appear before the Judge and that question would be tried.


I must press the right hon. Gentleman to say whether the Reports of the official medical gentlemen which I have cited are in the possession of the Government, and, whether they consider themselves justified in allowing the man to drift into insanity without making a motion themselves?


said, he could not answer any questions with regard to particular sentences alluded to in Medical Reports. His recollection of the Reports was that there was not an absolute agreement between the medical gentlemen concerned, but the case was one for the Judge, and the Judge alone; and he was not going in his place in the House of Commons to give his estimate of the varying opinions of the three doctors who had examined Moroney. Every opportunity, however, would be given to those who desired that a judicial investigation should take place into his health.

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

asked, if the learned Judge had the Medical Reports which had been mentioned placed before him; and whether, although it was stated distinctly in the debates on this Question on that day week that the Government had no power in the case of illness, they had now come to the conclusion that under no circumstances had they that power!


said, the Government had not that power, but it rested with the Judge. He believed, with regard to the first part of the Question, that Judge Boyd had had the Reports referred to laid before him.

MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)

asked, did he correctly understand the right hon. Gentleman to say that the Executive Government had no power themselves to move the Judge in this shocking matter; and, if that be correct, how it was that the Home Secretary was able to move Judge Giffard in a recent case?

MR. HUNTER (Aberdeen, N.)

asked, whether there was anything to hinder the right hon. Gentleman or the Attorney General for Ireland making the application under the terms mentioned by Judge Boyd.


said, he could not answer that Question off-hand; but he noticed a great change in the opinion of hon. Gentlemen who were burning with anxiety a few days ago to move in the matter themselves, but who, now that they were offered every facility for doing so, appeared not to be desirous of availing themselves of that offer.