HC Deb 22 May 1916 vol 82 cc1794-9
38. Mr. LYNCH

asked whether a list of prisoners at Richmond Barracks will be issued, and whether visits by near relatives will be allowed?


Lists of those detained and of those deported to England have been issued to the Irish newspapers. Visits of friends and relations are permitted.


They are not permitted.


I will make inquiries.

39. Mr. LYNCH

asked whether, in Richmond Barracks, where the Irish prisoners are detained, the sanitary arrangements are so bad that filth results; whether the men have been required to sleep on the bare floor without covering; whether, owing to defective food supply, they have been reduced to a state of semi-starvation; and, if so, whether attempts are being made to remedy the state of affairs described?


My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister is giving a reply on the points raised in this question in answer to the hon. Member for Salford (Question No. 64 on the Paper). Perhaps the hon. Member will await that reply.

42. Mr. W. O'BRIEN

asked whether Dr. Henry O'Donoghue, a citizen of Dublin, who has never had anything to do with extreme politics, left his home in Leeson Park on Easter Monday evening to render any assistance in his power to wounded people, and has not since been heard of by his family; whether Dr. O'Donoghue was arrested and has since been deported, without any form of trial or examination; and, if so, whether any redress will be given for this treatment of a medical man while engaged in tending the wounded?

86. Mr. FLAVIN

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that Dr. Henry O'Donoghue, of Leeson Park, Dublin, left his home on Easter Monday to render medical aid to the wounded people in Dublin; whether he has been arrested by the military authorities in Dublin and deported to some place in England; and whether he will have immediate inquiries made about Dr. O'Donoghue with a view to his release?


I am informed that orders were given for the release of Dr. H. O'Donoghue on the 19th May, and he is now, I believe, at liberty. It appears that Dr. O'Donoghue presented himself at Dublin Castle and said he came to offer his services as a medical man and was brought before the Provost-Marshal before any steps were taken to allow him to assist in treating the wounded. He was then found to be in the possession of Sinn Fein literature and was put under arrest. This was on the 24th April. He was sent to hospital on the 26th April, and, having been discharged, was readmitted on the 30th April and again discharged from hospital on the 4th May. He was subsequently sent to Stafford on the 8th May. I have not received particulars of the subsequent investigation, but, as I have stated, orders were given for the release of Dr. O'Donoghue.

55. Mr. F. MEEHAN

asked the Prime Minister the charges on which seven men have been recently arrested in the parish of Cloonclare, district of Manorhamilton, county Leitrim, and how and where they will be dealt with?

56. Mr. P. O'BRIEN

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that about thirty citizens were arrested under martial lay in Kilkenny, where no disturbance of any sort occurred, and were removed to Dublin; whether he can say if any charge was made against those men or has yet been made; and, if so, what is it; whether, if any charge is made, they will be given a public trial and allowed to be defended by counsel; and, if no charge is contemplated, will he order their release at once?


The arrests in question were made under the Defence of the Realm Act. Steps have already been taken by the military authorities, and have been announced in the Press, to secure the release of prisoners arrested without reasonable ground. I understand that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister proposes to make a statement shortly dealing with the question of interned prisoners.


If no charges have been proven against these men, will they be compensated for the loss of time and business?


I should like to have notice of that question.

63. Sir W. BYLES

asked the Prime Minister how many persons have been arrested and imprisoned as the result of the recent rebellion in Ireland; how many have been deported to England; and how soon will these people be brought to trial?

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Asquith)

I hope to be able to give the figures to-morrow or the next day.

64. Sir W. BYLES

asked whether several hundred rebel suspects are in Richmond Prison, Dublin; whether, in the absence of beds, they are sleeping on the floor; and whether the sanitation is seriously and dangerously deficient?


I visited the Richmond Prison myself during my stay in Ireland, and conversed with a number of the prisoners confined there. I invited complaints from all of them, and received none except some of the most trivial character.


asked on what grounds a large force of Cavalry raided the peaceful rural district of Drumraney, Westmeath, at three o'clock on the morning of the 6th May, rudely dragged men and women out of their beds in fruitless search for something illegal, took away as prisoners five young men without having made any charge against them, tried them by secret court-martial without allowing legal or other advice, abused them, and cursed and swore at them; whether these are the usual methods of trial by courts-martial; whether all officers, irrespective of character or temper, are competent to arrest and try civilians without charge; what were the charges and sentences in these cases; where those young men now are; why no communication has been made or allowed to their relatives; and, having regard to the unvaried peaceful character of the district and of these men, will he say at whose instance the peace has been disturbed in this manner?


Several columns of troops are operating in these and other districts to discover arms believed to be concealed and to arrest persons implicated in or having taken part in the recent rebellion. No court-martial has taken place in this connection except in Dublin and Cork, and prisoners can only be tried by court-martial convened by a duly authorised officer. All persons arrested by the columns in Westmeath are sent to Dublin Detention Barracks for investigation, and while there are allowed to communicate with their relatives. Without knowing the names of the young men referred to no further information is possible.


May I ask if any Ulster districts are being raided in search of arms?


I should like notice of that question.


asked the number of men in Limerick city and county who have been arrested and imprisoned by the military authorities and how many of these men have since been released; what was the ground for arresting these men; and, in view of the fact that the city and county have been and are peaceable, whether he will take steps to see that the remaining number are released without further delay?


I am informed that forty-nine arrests were made in Limerick city and county, and that of those arrested forty-one have been released. All these men were arrested as having had some connection with the recent rising. The cases of the remainder are being investigated with as little delay as possible.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that Limerick is quite peaceable, and, having regard to that fact, will he state that the remaining number will be sent home as quickly as possible?


There are only eight left, whose cases will be investigated as fast as possible.


Is a regular investigation in each case being carried out?


That is so.

85. Mr. FLAVIN

asked on what grounds James M'Elligott, clerk in the Local Government Board, Dublin, has been arrested and deported to England; whether he is aware that this young man has an unimpeachable character; whether he is aware that James M'Elligott's mother's health is in a precarious condition as a result of her son's arrest and deportation, and that she cannot get any information about her son; and whether his release will be ordered at once?


I understand that James M'Elligott was deported to Stafford on the 1st of May, but I have not yet received any further particulars in regard to his case.


Will the right hon. Gentleman say what charge is made against this young man, who has no association with the Sinn Feiners; and, in view of the statement made last Thursday as to friends and relatives being allowed to see these prisoners, can he say why it is that the brother of this young man was denied the right to see his brother in Stafford Gaol?


As I informed my hon. Friend, this case is being investigated. There are a great many investigations to carry out, and we cannot possibly get through them in a shorter time.


Will the right hon. Gentleman say why a young fellow who has no direct or indirect action with the rebellion has been under arrest for a fortnight, and no charge has yet been preferred against him, and why a member of his family who went all the way from Ireland was not allowed to see his brother in gaol?


I will inquire, if my hon. Friend will give me particulars.


Have him shot straight away.

The hon. Member asked Question No. 93: Whether the Under-Secretary of State for War is aware that the officer commanding the Limerick troops has sent an answer, dated 8th May, to the solicitor for prisoners there who had no part in the rebellion, stating that orders issued by Headquarters, Queenstown Garrison, bear on the subject of the appearance in Court of civilian counsel, namely, that the accused may see counsel in the presence of an officer, at the convening officer's discretion, but counsel must not appear at the trial, and that the accused is to be represented by an officer as prisoner's friend, and this officer is to deal with the accused direct and not with counsel; and will he say whether these orders had the sanction of General Maxwell and do they represent the decision of the Government?


The officer commanding the troops at Limerick acted in accordance with instructions issued by Headquarters. Irish Command. I understand that this order has now been modified.

94. Mr. HEALY

asked whether the military have captured Mrs. Humphreys on the charge of being a sister of one of the leaders shot in Dublin; have they any evidence that she in the remotest degree participated in the rebellion; and, as she has now been a fortnight in gaol, will she be either discharged or brought to trial without further delay?


This lady was released on 16th May.


(by Private Notice) asked the Prime Minister whether, at Cork, his attention was called to the arrest of an innocent man, William K. McDonald, of Bandon, now deported to Wakefield Gaol, and whether, as three weeks have elapsed since his arrest, he will be tried, discharged, or allowed a visit from his wife?


This case was brought to my notice at Cork, and I promised to inquire into it. I did so as far as I could, and I understood that he would be allowed to see his friends and relatives. I will inquire further and tell the hon. and learned Gentleman the result to-morrow.


This lady came to London, but she has received a letter from the governor of the gaol saying that she is not to be allowed to see her husband, a man who is innocent and has done nothing whatever.


She shall see him.