HC Deb 08 August 1904 vol 139 cc1343-4
MR. T. L. CORBETT (Down, N)

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he will explain why the hospital warder at His Majesty's Prison, Londonderry, is, contrary to the arrangement prevailing in other Irish prisons, exempt from night duty and allowed to sleep out of the hospital; and why this official is allowed to act as chief warder; also why the gate warder at this prison has been allowed to retain that post after being convicted of drunkenness in 1902.

(Answered by Mr. Wyndham.) The arrangement under which the hospital warder at Derry Prison is exempt from night duty is in accordance with the arrangement existing in all prisons except small ones. Being a married man and unprovided with quarters for his family in prison he is allowed to sleep out. He acts as chief warder in the absence of the latter because he is next in seniority. The gate warder was fined for drunkenness in 1901. Save for this offence his conduct has been reported to be excellent. It is not proposed to remove him from the post.


To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that during the last two years five Protestant officials have been removed from His Majesty's Prison, Londonderry, and their places filled by Roman Catholics; whether Presbyterian prisoners, when attending Divine service, are placed in charge of a warder of another denomination because there is no Presbyterian official in the prison; and, if so, whether he will take steps to remedy this state of things.

(Answered by Mr. Wyndham.) At every prison it is necessary to have one or two Protestant and Catholic warders for Divine service duty. But, subject to this, transfers and promotions of officers are regulated solely by considerations of fitness and efficiency and not of religion. It is true that Protestant Episcopalian officers in Derry and elsewhere are on duty with Presbyterian prisoners at Divine service; but this arises from the fact that warders of the latter denomination are few in number and are not available in such prisons. I will inquire whether it is practicable to send a Presbyterian warder to Derry Prison for this duty.