§ 10. Mr. GINNELL
asked the Under-Secretary for War whether the late Mr. Sean MacDermott while in prison, including the night between sentence and execution, was confined in a cell without bed or stretcher of any kind, with no clothing but what he wore on his body, except two extremely small light blankets; whether he had to wrap his boots in one of these to form a pillow; why the priest he specially desired to attend him was not 2536 sent for; and whether in all these particulars this was the treatment of all those executed?
§ Mr. TENNANT
This man received the same treatment as all other prisoners. He asked for more blankets, and these were supplied to him. He asked to see one of the Capuchin Friars, but, on being visited by Father McCarthy, he expressed himself perfectly satisfied, and if he had not done so the Friar in question would have been summoned at once, as has been done in all cases where a special priest has been named. This is another instance of the hon. Member's inaccuracy.
§ Mr. GINNELL
Was the prisoner treated as described in the question, or was he not? I hold in my hand a letter from a gentleman who visited this prisoner on the night in question, and I am willing to put it into the hands of any independent Member.
§ Mr. GINNELL
Is it a fact he had no pillow and wrapped his boots up in one of the blankets to make a pillow. I am willing to put this letter into your hands, Mr. Speaker—or into the hands of any independent Member. If you will allow me—
§ Mr. GINNELL
If you will allow me, as a matter of personal explanation, in view of the statement made by the right hon. Gentleman—
§ Mr. OUTHWAITE
If a Minister, after answering a question, proceeds to comment on the question, is not the Member putting it a right of reply?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
It depends on whether the hon. Member brought the comment on himself by reason of the nature of his question.
§ 56. Mr. DEVLIN
asked the Prime Minister if he will lay upon the Table of the House of Commons the Reports of the medical officers regarding the sanitary accommodation provided for, and treatment of, prisoners awaiting trial in the various prisons and hospitals under the military authorities in Dublin?
§ The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Asquith)
I thought that the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary answered this yesterday. It is not desirable to produce these reports, but the sanitary accommodation and treatment of these prisoners have been most carefully considered. I myself visited one of the most important places of detention and I asked for complaints and invited complaints, but received none. If my hon. Friend has got any cases to bring to my notice I shall inquire into them.
§ 57. Mr. W. O'BRIEN
asked the Prime Minister, in view of his statement that the Irish political prisoners are allowed the ordinary facilities extended to prisoners of war, he will give instructions that all political prisoners incarcerated in connection with the late rebellion in Ireland shall be treated on the same terms as the German prisoners of war are treated in England?
§ Mr. GINNELL
(at the end of Questions): In the course of questions your attention, Mr. Speaker, was called to the fact that while you ruled out criticisms of answers, you allowed Ministers to criticise the questions on the Paper, and you appeared to justify that ruling by saying that it was due to the nature of the question on the Paper. The question referred to was No. 10. I hold in my hand a short letter from a gentleman who was in the prison and in the cell on the night preceding the execution. It is only one of the documents of evidence on which this question is based, and no question has been put on the Paper by me without evidence as good, sometimes even better. This gentleman writes:There was no bed, or stretcher of any kind in the cell. There was no clothing, except what Mr. MacDermott wore on his body, and a light raincoat and two extremely small blankets, one of which Mr. MacDermott was obliged to use by rolling it about his boots to form a pillow. Mr. MacDermott specially asked to have Father Augustine, of Church Street, with him while being shot. Father Augustine declares he never got the message.So much of the letter applies to the question on the Paper, and it fully justifies the putting of it. It shows that the Minister was not justified in criticising it, and that you were not correct in sustaining him in that. The character of the question on the Paper has no other defect than this, absolute truth, and that it shows to 2538 all concerned who are, indeed, the Huns. I invite you and the Minister to justify yourselves.