§ 49. Mr. GINNELL
asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the fact that, since in all prisons in which any considerable number of tried and convicted Catholic prisoners are detained there is a Catholic chaplain to attend to their spiritual needs, several such chaplains should have been appointed for the requirements of some 1,800 Irish prisoners at Frongoch, and none have yet been appointed; whether he is aware of the resentment of those untried men at being treated worse than convicted prisoners in many respects but especially in this; whether several Catholic chaplains will be appointed without further' delay; whether he will arrange for a visit of inspection of dormitories 3 and 4 at Frongoch by a representative of the American Government accompanied by an independent sanitary inspector, and the prisoners to be interrogated; if not, what is to be done with reference to the insanitary condition of the camp; whether it is with his concurrence that the prisoners are restricted in writing to a small halfsheet of notepaper widely ruled, and required to pay postage on these scraps; if not, whether he will have this restriction removed; why Mr. Sears, a vegetarian for reasons of health, is denied cheese in the camp though he was allowed it in prison; and, seeing that all these grievances are verified by the censor at the camp though previous complaints of them have been denied, whether the Government as a 1663 whole will either have them remedied immediately or accept responsibility for the neglect?
The Prime Minister has asked me to reply to this question. The hon. Member's allegation that Catholic chaplains have not been appointed to minister to the Irish prisoners detained at Frongoch is quite unfounded. At the outset the War Office had arranged for the attendance of a priest on Sundays. Representations were made by the Home Office that a chaplain giving his whole time to the camp would be appointed. This was done, and that arrangement now continues. The appointment of an additional chaplain is not considered necessary, especially in view of the large reduction in the number of prisoners at Frongoch. In answer to the second part of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to a similar question yesterday. When the camp was occupied by German prisoners it was reported upon most favourably by representatives of the American Embassy. In answer to the third part of the question, the rule in all internment camps is that letters from prisoners must not cover more than two sides of a sheet of the regulation notepaper. The postage must be prepaid. I have no information as to the diet of the vegetarian prisoner mentioned.
§ Mr. GINNELL
Will the right hon. Gentleman explain how it is that prisoners at Frongoch continue to complain bitterly of the want of an adequate number of chaplains, and how can he reconcile the supply of only one chaplain to such a number of men, while in ordinary prisons there is one chaplain to some thirty or forty men; and will he further answer the last part of the question, which asserts truly that the notes upon which this question is based have been verified by the censor at Frongoch?
The hon. Member is quite mistaken. His question contains a number of allegations which are quite unfounded. I have had no representations made to me recently of any complaint. I had some time ago, and a resident chaplain was appointed.
§ Mr. GINNELL
The last part of the question asserts that the notes on which the question is based were verified by the censor. Some corrections were made, and the question was put on the Paper in accordance with these corrections. Will the right hon. Gentleman answer that?