HC Deb 12 March 1889 vol 333 cc1502-4

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether his attention has been called to the following statement in the Leeds Mercury of the 8th inst— Mr. J. S. Dunleavy, editor of the Clare Independent, was recently sentenced to three months' imprisonment. This was the charge—'Obstructing a policeman by laughing at him.' And this is how Mr. Dunleavy is treated in prison—'He is confined in a flag cell without matting. His application for furniture has been refused by the Visiting Committee. His sleeping accommodation is a hammock. The rest of the furniture in the cell is a stool.' Whether he can state of what offence Mr. Dunleavy was convicted, and what is the true character of his treatment in prison?


Proceedings were taken against Mr. Dunleavy under the ordinary law, not for laughing at a policeman, but for conduct calculated to lead to a breach of the peace in unlawfully abusing a police constable while in the execution of his duty. He was ordered to find bail to keep the peace, and be of good behaviour. This he refused to do, electing to go to prison for three months. He has been treated in prison under the rules for prisoners awaiting trial, and on the 5th inst., being the first meeting of the Visiting Committee after he was transferred to Tullamore, he was, on his application, granted by them privileges which included permission to furnish his cell, to receive certain daily and weekly publications, permission to write, the use of books, and permission to smoke twice daily. He has, however, only partially availed himself of the permission to furnish his cell, preferring to sleep on the prison hammock, which, he states, is very comfortable; and, further, although under the rules for prisoners of his class he could provide his own food, he only does so for the dinner meal, being apparently quite satisfied with the prison diet for breakfast and supper.