HC Deb 15 March 1894 vol 22 cc312-3
DR. KENNY (Dublin, College Green)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that the medical officer of Dundalk Gaol, in his quarterly Report in January, 1894, drew attention to the case of a prisoner in said gaol named Sheridan, and suggested that the Prisons Board (Ireland) should issue a Rule that prisoners under medical treatment should not be put to hard labour till taken off the sick list by the medical officer of the prison in which they are confined; and whether the Prisons Board refused to issue such a Rule; and, if so, whether he will direct the Prisons Board to alter their decision, and issue a Rule to prevent the recurrence of the grievance complained of? I will further ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he can state how many inquiries on oath and how many inquiries not on oath took place in Dundalk Gaol, or in reference thereto, from 1st January, 1886, to the date of the appointment of the present Governor; how many similar inquiries have taken place from the date of the appointment of the present Governor of said gaol to 1st January, 1894; and how many warders are still attached to Dundalk Gaol who were there at the time of the appointment of the present Governor? And, in addition, I will ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he is aware that a prisoner named Sheridan, confined in Dundalk Gaol, being reported seriously ill on the night of 8th December, 1893, was visited in his cell at 10.30 p.m. that night by Dr. Flood, who was doing duty for the medical officer of the gaol owing to the illness of the latter; that Dr. Flood made a note in the medical officer's journal that Sheridan was suffering from a bronchial attack and had a temperature as high as 103.2 degrees, and ordered him medicine and nourishment and to be poulticed, &c.; that, on visiting Sheridan at 8.30 a.m. on 9th December, he found him out of bed and picking oakum, his tasked labour, with a poultice on his back; whether Sheridan subsequently developed acute pneumonia, which nearly carried him off; whether he can state by whoso direction a prisoner under medical treatment, and as ill as above indicated, was ordered out of bed and sent to his ordinary hard labour under the conditions described; whether any Rule exists in Irish prisons forbidding prisoners under medical treatment being put to hard or any labour till certified as fit by the medical officer; and whether, if there be no such Rule, he will issue such explicit instructions as will in future effectually prevent the recurrence of such inhumanity as was practised in Sheridan's case?


As regards these questions, I have to say that I have received from the General Prisons Board a Report dealing with the action of the prison officials in the case. Rut with a view to elicit the entire facts, I propose to direct a sworn inquiry to be made into the matter by the Prisons Board.


I beg to thank the right hon. Gentleman for his answer.