HC Deb 23 November 1893 vol 18 cc1549-50

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether Mr. Thomas Mooney, who lately died manacled in Galway Gaol, had been beaten before his arrest; whether Mr. Mooney was visited by a doctor while confined in the police cells at Tuam, and did the doctor report on his state of health; whether the doctor made any suggestions as to his treatment; and, if so, were these suggestions followed—in the police cell, on his journey to Galway, and after his arrival at Galway; if substantial bail was offered for the appearance of Mr. Mooney, and if it was accepted or refused; and if a letter, calling for a public investigation as to the circumstances of the death, was addressed to the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland some weeks ago; and at the sworn investigation, which the Government has lately stated has been made, who were called as witnesses or to watch the ease; particularly, were any of the relatives of the deceased notified of the investigation, and was the doctor who visited Mr. Mooney in Tuam examined?


(1) I am informed that Michael Dwyer, for assaulting whom Mooney was arrested, was heard to boast he had beaten Mooney, but the doctor found no marks of violence upon him, and it is believed to have been merely a boast on the part of Dwyer. (2) When Mooney was in the lock-up he was found to be suffering from the effects of drink, and the dispensary doctor was called into see him. The doctor said the man was suffering from the effects of drink, and ordered him a stimulant. (3) The doctor ordered whisky to be given to Mooney in the police barrack and on his way to gaol, which was done. (4) Bail was offered which was neither solvent nor substantial, and was refused by the Magistrate. The prisoner's solicitor applied for his release on bail on the ground of ill-health, and the Magistrate stated that if any medical evidence was tendered to the effect that the man was unfit to go to gaol he would certainly act on it, but not otherwise. (5) The hon. and gallant Gentleman wrote to me on October 18th in reference to the case. The witnesses examined at the sworn investigation held on October 19th were the Governor of the prison, the medical officers, some warders, and two prisoners, as well as Doctors Brereton and Rice, who made the post-mortem examination. The relatives of the deceased were notified of the prisoner's death, and it appears that some of them were present at the inquest and put questions to the Governor. They were not invited to be present at cither of the official inquiries conducted by the General Prisons Board. Such a course, I understand, is never followed, the scope of the inquiry being entirely confined to the treatment of the person by the prison officers while in gaol. The Tuam doctor was not invited to be present at the official inquiries, nor could he, in the opinion of the General Prisons Board, have thrown any light on the prisoner's treatment in gaol.