HC Deb 17 April 1902 vol 106 cc545-6

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that defendants accused of the same offences under the Criminal Law and Procedure (Ireland) Act, have been sentenced in Tipperary to hard labour, in Mayo to be treated as ordinary prisoners and without hard labour, and in Roscommon to be treated as first-class misdemeanants; whether he will assent to a Parliamentary Consular Return, setting forth the treatment given to political prisoners in other countries; and whether he is prepared to take steps to assimilate the treatment of political prisoners in Ireland to the treatment of political prisoners in other civilised countries.


In some cases the conditions attaching to imprisonment for offences committed under the Statute mentioned have been varied on appeal. It does not rest with me to grant or refuse the Return indicated in the second query. All prisoners in Ireland are being classified as in England. But no separate class has been, or will be, instituted, to distinguish persons convicted under that statute.

MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a separate class has been in existence ever since the Coercion Act of 1887?


I am not aware of it; and since the hon. Gentleman asks the Question, I would ask him to indicate to me on what he bases it. The ordinary prison rules are in force, and I am certain that no special class has been instituted.


I will repeat the Question on Monday. I base it on personal experience.

MR. FLYNN (Cork Co., N)

Does the right hon. Gentleman intend to treat political opponents as criminals in Ireland?


Order, order!


Is free speech to be treated as a crime in Ireland?


Order, order!