THE LORD MAYOR OF DUBLIN
I have a Petition from the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Burgesses of Dublin, which states that several persons, convicted very many years ago upon charges connected with insurrectionary movements in Ireland, were sentenced to imprisonment for life, and after a long series of years, are still confined in penal servitude; that these persons were tried and convicted under circumstances unfavourable to the calm and impartial 542 consideration of their cases, and the possession of explosives was in many instances the element most used to obtain their conviction and aggravate their sentences—sentences very much more severe than those inflicted upon other persons unconnected with any Irish movement, and more recently convicted under the Explosives Act of much more aggravated offences, but sentenced only to short terms of imprisonment and now released; that the almost universal opinion of the Irish people is that, whatever may have been the offences of these persons the punishment they have received is more than ample, and the offences being distinctly of a political character, the prolongation of the punishment will be received as an exhibition of vengeance and a manifestation of race-hatred unworthy of a great nation and a civilised Government. We therefore pray in the name of justice, and for the sake of mercy, and with a view to remove a just cause of discontent among the Irish people, that as these persons, convicted of political offences, guilty though they may have been have been subjected to emple punishment, the sentences inflicted upon them should now be re-considered with a view to their complete remission at an early date; believing that such action if followed by a generous measure of amnesty would remove the impession that the prolongation of punishment would create, that these prisoners are treated with exceptional harshness because they are Irishmen; and would have a most beneficial effect on the minds and feelings of Her Majesty's Irish subjects, and largely conduce to the preservation of peace and order in Ireland.
§ THE SPEAKER
Let the Petition be brought to the Table.
This was accordingly done, and the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs withdrew.
MR. F. A. O'KEEFFE (Limerick)
presented a Petition from the Mayor, Aldermen, and Burgesses of Limerick, in favour of the release of the Irish political prisoners, which on the motion of the hon. Member was read by the Clerk at the Table.