HC Deb 28 April 1890 vol 343 cc1525-7
MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to the inquest recently held in Tipperary on the body of Michael Cleary, who died shortly after his release, after two months' imprisonment, from Clonmel Gaol, at which the Coroner's Jury found that the deceased man died of chronic pneumonic phthisis, and that his death had been accelerated by his treatment in Clonmel Gaol, and especially to the evidence of Dr. Conway and Dr. Charles Ryan, J.P., of Tipperary, who swore that Michael Cleary had been suffering from phthisis for some months before his imprisonment, and that, in their opinion, any competent medical man must, upon careful examination, have discovered un-mistakeable symptoms of the disease at the time of his imprisonment; was Michael Cleary kept from the 14th November until the 5th December, 1889, upon the ordinary hard labour treatment in Clonmel Gaol, including close confinement in his cell for 22 hours out of every 24, the use of the plank bed, 10 hours daily labour, and the ordinary hard labour diet; can he explain how it happened that Dr. Hewit-son, the prison doctor, did not examine Cleary's lungs until he had been in gaol from 14th November to the 25th November, and during that time reported him fit for hard labour and for two periods of 24 hours punishment on bread and water and close confinement, without making any such examination of his lungs; is it a fact that from the 5th of December until the 22nd Cleary was in the prison hospital suffering from blood-spitting; that on the 22nd December he was reported "well"; and on the 29th of December sent back to his cell with 22 hours out of every 24 solitary confinement and 10 hours daily labour at oakum picking; is he aware that Dr. Conway and Dr. Charles Ryan, J.P., swore that when they saw him a few days after his release from prison, they were shocked at the change in his appearance, and found him to be in a hopeless and dying condition, and that these doctors and Dr. Laffan, of Cashel, who attended him at his death, swore his death had been accelerated by his prison treatment, and that the form of phthisis from which he suffered was of old standing and was amenable to treatment; was a postmortem examination held, and did its results confirm these opinions; was a portion of one lung submitted to an eminent pathologist in Dublin, and did he confirm the views of the local doctors; and what action the Prison Board mean to take in this matter?


The General Prisons Board report that on the 10th and again on the 23rd of this month, they applied to the Coroner for a copy of the evidence taken at the inquest on Michael Cleary. The Coroner has under- taken to furnish it, but it has not yet been received. Upon receipt of the official copy of the evidence, the Board proposes to make such inquiry as, in their opinion, the facts may call for. Meantime, they are not in a position to discuss the evidence.