HC Deb 19 December 1916 vol 88 cc1277-8
67. Mr. DORIS

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that a number of men from the Westport and Aghagower districts, county Mayo, are still detained in English prisons under the Defence of the Realm Act, and that no evidence has ever been adduced that they were in any way connected with the Irish rebellion, and that there are no grounds even for suspicion of their complicity in it; and, having regard to the irritation caused in their districts by their prolonged detention, he can now see his way to order their immediate and unconditional release?


There are only eight men from county Mayo who are still interned under the Defence of the Realm Act. Their cases were fully considered by the Advisory Committee, who recommended their continued detention. As to the question of release, I understand that my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland proposes to make a statement to-day or to-morrow.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman does he remember that none of these men have been tried or charged, and what has become of our Habeas Corpus Act?


I am quite aware of the facts. In every case the Committee has considered the facts and has advised accordingly.

93. Mr. BYRNE

asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that Irish prisoners of war were sent to Lewes in convict garb and in chains; if he is aware of the indignation expressed in Ireland at such treatment; and if he will say whether this treatment has the sanction of the Government?


My predecessor decided that those Irish prisoners who gave an undertaking not to attempt to escape during the journey to Lewes should be removed in plain clothes and in charge of warders also in plain clothes. The majo- rity of prisoners gave the promise and travelled in plain clothing, but those who refused to give this undertaking could not be allowed that privilege.


What is the object of the Government's policy in regard to Irish prisoners; and is it hoped to conciliate Ireland in this way?


That does not arise out of the question.