HC Deb 08 August 1889 vol 339 cc781-2

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to the case of John J. Mellon, Wm. P. Doyle, and Gregory Kavanagh, who were arrested in Gorey, at 8 o'clock on the morning of the 12th July, on the charge of boycotting, and detained in custody till 8 o'clock p.m. when they were brought before a Magistrate, who remanded them, accepting bail for their appearance; whether he is aware that, although the Petty Sessions clerk informed the Magistrate (Colonel Miller) that the bail bonds could be prepared by half-past 10 o'clock a.m. on the 13th, on the application of the police, Colonel Miller fixed 2 o'clock the next day as the time for taking the recognizances, and that the solicitors for the prisoners, after having been three times refused an interview with them, was at length allowed to see the prisoners separately in presence of Head Constable M'Cormick; and whether he will give directions that prisoners detained in any Constabulary barracks will be permitted in future to have private interviews with their solicitor; whether it is a fact that these three prisoners, in spite of the remonstrance of a constable, were ordered by the head constable to be detained on the night of the 12th July in a cell about five feet by eight feet, which was in a disgustingly filthy condition, drunken prisoners having been previously confined in it; and whether steps will be taken to guard against the danger to prisoners' health likely to arise from confinement in such dens?


I understood that as the 13th July was a fair day, 2 o'clock was fixed as the most convenient hour for taking the recognisances. The police did refuse to allow Mr. Scott, a solicitor, to interview the prisoners without a District Inspector's authority. Immediately upon Mr. Scott applying to the District Inspector, he gave him permission to see the prisoners, but in the presence of the police, as the men were in custody, and had not yet been brought before a Magistrate. It is not the case that any constable remonstrated with the head constable as is alleged in the question; nor was the lock-up in a dirty state when the prisoners were placed in it.


Might I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it is not a fact that the charge made against these men has since been withdrawn?


I cannot answer that question without notice.