HC Deb 01 April 1889 vol 334 cc1244-5
MR. PETER M'DONALD (North Sligo)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether it is true that Mr. M'Hugh, ex-Mayor of Sligo, now undergoing a sentence of six months' imprisonment, with hard labour, in Derry Gaol, for an offence under the Press Clauses of the Criminal Law and Procedure (Ireland) Act, was for five weeks deprived of his privilege, according to prison rules, of writing any letter, for no cause other than that he was confined to hospital; whether, when eventually allowed to write a letter to his wife, the Governor refused to forward it and confiscated it on his own authority; and whether the rules permit an appeal to the Prisons Board by a prisoner against the decision of the Governor; and, if so, why was this right denied to Mr. M'Hugh?


The General Prisons Board report that it is not the case that the prisoner in question was deprived of the privilege of writing a letter because of his being confined in hospital. He neither appears to have applied for permission to write a letter to his wife, nor, as a matter of fact, to have written such a letter. All prisoners are entitled to write to the Board regarding any complaint of their treatment. The Governor reports that this prisoner made no application to be permitted to thus address the Board, nor, as a matter of fact, has he done so.


As I have in my possession an extract from a letter that was impounded by the Governor of the Gaol, I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to make further inquiry as to whether the Governor of a Gaol, without the sanction of the Prisons Board, has personally the right to act in this way?


Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will give me the extract from the letter, and I will consider it.