§ MR. JOHN O'CONNOR
I beg to ask the Attorney General for Ireland whether Mr. O'Mahony and other prisoners confined in Tullamore Gaol under the operation of the Criminal Law and Procedure (Ireland) Act are compelled to exercise alone; will he state under which rule or bye-law of the Prisons Hoard they are so obliged to exercise; whether such treatment amounts to what is known as the silent system; whether the silent system is the punishment meted but to incorrigible convicts who break prison rules, and are not generally amenable to prison discipline; and what is the conduct of Mr. O'Mahony and the other prisoners referred to above which induces this exceptionally severe treatment?
§ * MR. MADDEN
The General Prisons Board report that Mr. O'Mahony and some other prisoners in Tullamore Prison are exercised alone, in accordance with the provisions of Rules 28 and 44, inasmuch as they wear their own clothes, and refuse to exercise with prisoners of their class. What is termed the "silent system" does not exist in any Irish prison, local or convict. The Board further state that none of the prisoners in that gaol under the Crimes Act are treated exceptionally in any way.
§ MR. J. O'CONNOR
Is it not the fact that the prisoners confined under the operation of the Criminal Law and Procedure Act are not sufficiently numerous to constitute a class of themselves?
§ MR. PETER M'DONALD (Sligo, N.)
I beg to ask the Attorney General for Ireland whether the following extract from the Midland Tribune and the Report of Dr. Moorehead are correct:—Dr. Moorehead, J.P., continued to visit the political prisoners in Tullamore Gaol, and finds them in fairly good health, notwithstanding the hardships to which they are subjected, and one of the worst is the system of isolation pursued with regard to them. This is to such an extent that from one end of the week to the other they can never see one another's faces.February 21st, 1890, visited the Gaol and Crimes Act prisoners, Rev. Father O'Dywer, Messrs. R. J. Gordon and P. A. M'Hugh. Mr. M'Hugh complained of the system of isolation pursued with regard to him, and demanded as a right to exercise with prisoners of his own class. So far as I understand, the isolation principle in prison discipline is only applied to the worst malefactors in convict prisons, and it is a punishment not contemplated by or implied in the Criminal Law and Procedure (Ireland) Act.G. A. Moorehead, J. P.And whether such isolation shall continue to be applied to prisoners under this Act?
§ MR. MADDEN
The General Prisons Board report that they have no knowledge of the newspaper statement mentioned in the question. They report that Dr. Moorehead did make in the visitor's book the entry mentioned in the third paragraph. His remarks were duly laid before the Visiting Committee, who declined to interfere with the regulations. The prisoners referred to do not appear to have ever made any complaint to the Visiting Committee, although frequently asked by that body if they had any complaint to make. The Governor reports that these prisoners are in good health, and are not subjected to any hardships. They are merely treated in accordance with the requirements of the ordinary Prison Rules.