§ MR. SEXTON
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, with reference to the statement that Father Stephens, a prisoner in Derry Gaol, has been prevented from obtaining his food from Roddy's Hotel, on the ground that the hotel people had entered into collusion to defeat the prison rules, whether it is true, as stated by Mr. William Roddy in the press, that the hotel messengers never saw any prisoner, and never went further than the outer hall of the prison where the food was delivered to a warder to be taken by him to the prisoner; and, if this be so, what is the explanation of the charge of collusion; and whether the order of exclusive dealing against this hotel will be further enforced?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The Prisons Board inform me that they have no knowledge of what Mr. Roddy's statement in the Press is, but the Visiting Committee, after careful inquiry into surreptitious communications between Father M'Fadden and the managers of Roddy's Hotel, were fully satisfied that collusion existed of a sufficiently serious nature to oblige them to direct that the provisions for prisoners should not in future be received through that establishment. It is a matter of prison discipline that messengers from the establishment which provides prisoners with food are not admitted to the prisoners, but hand the supplies to a prison officer, whose duty it is to bring them to the prisoners. The Prisons Board have no intention whatever under the circumstances of allowing the proprietors of Roddy's Hotel to supply any of the prisoners in Londonderry Prison with food, having regard to the order of the Visiting Committee in this matter.
§ MR. SEXTON
May I ask if the prison authorities have stated or indicated the grounds upon which they came to the conclusion referred to? Does the 1651 right hon. Gentleman not think that the owner of this hotel has been sufficiently punished already by being boycotted by all the Unionists in the district?
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL (Donegal, S.)
I beg to ask whether, in order to avoid all possibility of collusion, Father Stephens was in charge of and constantly attended by one warder, who was responsible for everything that occurred?
§ * MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! I do not think the hon. Member is referring to the question which was asked from the notice paper.
MR. SWIFT MAC NEILL
Yes, Sir, with all respect, my question does relate to that which has been already asked; I ask it in order to show that there was no possibility of collusion.