MR. MAC NEILL
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that from Sunday, the 30th of June, till Sunday, 7th July, Father Stephens and Mr. Kelly were obliged to keep their cells in Derry Gaol, and were deprived of exercise, owing to the Governor of the Gaol, Captain Wilson, insisting that any exercise they took should be taken in the company of the persons convicted of the insurance frauds in Belfast; whether he is aware that on Saturday' last Dr. O'Farrell, of the Prisons Board, visited Father Stephens and Mr. Kelly, who both refused to accept any indulgence in the matter of exercise, on the ground of ill-health, and stated that on principle they declined to exercise, in company with common criminals and whether he will take any, and, if so, what, steps to prevent a repetition on the part of the Governor of Derry Gaol, in refusing these gentlemen the privilege of exercise except under degrading conditions? I have also to ask whether it is true, as stated in the Daily News of Thursday, that Father Stephens and Mr. Kelly, who are serving a term of imprisonment under the Criminal Law and Procedure (Ireland) Act in Derry Gaol, were ordered on Wednesday morning to exercise with the prisoners convicted for insurance frauds in Belfast, and, on their refusal to do so, were, and are, still confined to their cells; and, whether, having regard to the fact that Captain Wilson committed an error of judgment (which was admitted by the Chief Secretary) in refusing to allow two female prisoners from Gweedore to wear warm clothing supplied to them by friends for the journey between Derry and Letterkenny, and also, on the 20th May, 1889, remonstrated with the Rev. John Doherty, Roman Catholic administrator 1821 and chaplain of the gaol, for calling to see "a certain class of prisoners, such as the Rev. Mr. Stephens, Mr. Kelly, and Mr. M'Hugh, oftener than others confined in the prison," the Chief Secretary, as head of the Prisons Board (Ireland), will take any, and what, steps to prevent future errors of judgment on the part of this gentleman?
§ MR. SHAW LEFEVRE (Bradford, Central)
, in reference to the same subject, asked whether any, and, if so, what., instructions or explanations have been issued by the Prisons Board of Ireland or by the Government as to the mode in which the Prison Authorities are to carry out the new rule with reference to the exercise of prisoners, or Pointing out the class of persons who are to be relieved from association with other criminals; whether it is a fact that the Reverend Father Stephens and Mr. Kelly, imprisoned under the Criminal Law and Procedure (Ireland) Act in Derry Gaol, have since the passing of the rule been required to take exercise with certain Belfast men who had been convicted of wholesale frauds and forgeries in connection with the lives of inebriates and persons suffering from fatal diseases, and whether, on declining to do so, they were deprived of exercise and confined to punishment cells; whether the Belfast forgers had, on their part, been relieved under the new rules from wearing the prison dress and from taking exercise with other felons; and, whether such action of the Prison Authorities is in accordance with instructions of the Prisons Board, or meets with the sanction of the Government?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The General Prisons Board report that it is the case that the two prisoners mentioned (Father Stephens and Mr. Kelly) were required by the Governor of the prison to exercise at the same time as the Belfast insurance prisoners, all those prisoners belonging to the class of first convictions; also that both these sets of prisoners had availed themselves of the permission to wear their own clothes accorded under the new rule. But that it is not the case, as alleged, that the Belfast prisoners have ever been exempted from exercising with other prisoners of the class of first convictions, with which class they are still exercising. The two prisoners named in the questions did forfeit their 1822 exercise by declining to exercise with the other prisoners referred to. No other punishment was inflicted. Before the new rule regarding exercise was adopted general instructions were issued to Governors of prisons as to exercising "first convictions" apart from other criminals. No general instructions or explanations have been issued by the Prisons Board or by the Government as to the mode in which the new rule is to be carried out. It appears that the medical officer of the prison, in the exercise of his discretion under the new rule, directed on Saturday last that on medical grounds these two prisoners should be permitted to have separately two hours' exercise. Whether they have refused to take such exercise I am not aware. The error of judgment in regard to the clothing incident referred to was at the time remedied. There was no error of judgment as regards the case of the Roman Catholic chaplain, the Governor having acted in strict conformity with his instructions. There is nothing in the points raised in any of these questions under reply calling for action on the part of the Government.
MR. MAC NEILL
Were Father Stephens and Mr. Kelly for the space of an entire week shut up in their prison cells and deprived of all exercise because they refused to exercise in company with common criminals? When Dr. O'Farrell visited them did they state that they claimed no privilege on the ground of ill-health, but that they were determined, on the other point, to exercise by themselves as a matter of right?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Of course their right to dispute the prison regulation was not admitted by the Prison Board.