HC Deb 18 May 1893 vol 12 cc1239-40
COLONEL SANDYS (Lancashire, S. W., Bootle)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the home Department whether he is now able to give any further information regarding the young woman, in charge of two nuns, who in the month of March leaped overboard from the steamer Waterford between Ireland and England, intending to commit suicide, as to whether she was actually insane or not; and, if so, how this conclusion was arrived at; whether he is aware that a young woman named Mary Breen, the servant of a Methodist minister in Dungannon, County Tyrone, who had informed the priest there that she could no longer remain in the Roman Catholic faith, was forcibly taken by three men from her master's house on 7th July, 1891, and cannot now be found; and whether he will make inquiries into the matter?


I am unable to give any further information on the first part of this question beyond that which was communicated to the hon. and gallant Member by my directions on the 21st of April last, when I informed him that I had ascertained that the young lady had been duly certified to be insane. I am not aware that Mary Breen ever informed the priest that she could no longer remain in the Roman Catholic faith; but, so far from her having been removed forcibly by three men from her master's house in July, 1891, it appears from inquiries made at the time by the Irish Government that she went away with her father of her own free will. I am happy to be able to inform the hon. and gallant Member that Mary Breen was seen at her own house on April 10 last, and then expressed her intention of proceeding to America in two or three weeks' time, having received her passage money from a brother who is already there. I do not think any further inquiry as to either of these cases is necessary.

MR. SEXTON (Kerry, N.)

I beg to ask whether it is not the fact, as stated in a letter from the Bishop of Waterford, that the certificate of insanity was signed, not only by the local medical practitioner, but by the resident medical officer of a large Government institution, who is a Protestant, and one of the highest authorities on mental disease?


I believe the facts are as stated by the hon. Member; but I have no information as to the religious faith of the medical man.