HC Deb 31 May 1916 vol 82 cc2681-6

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War what is the charge, if any, against Mr. Philip Sargent, of Dublin, who was engaged at his lawful business during the entire period of the insurrection, in connection with whom no arm or illegal document has been found, and whose solicitor's applications for particulars of any charge have not been answered; where Mr. Sargent now is; when he will be either released or charged and tried; and, in the latter case, whether his solicitor will be given due notice to enable him to arrange for the defence?


asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether Philip Sargent, of Drumcondra, Dublin, has been arrested on suspicion, no charge having been proffered against him; whether he is now detained in Lewes Gaol; and whether, as there are no grounds whatever for the detention of this man, he will be immediately released?


In view of this man's hostile association it is considered necessary in the interests of the public safety and the defence of the realm that he should be detained. His solicitor's letter was promptly answered. He is at Lewes Detention Barracks.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that Mr. Sargent can produce evidence of his presence at his business right through the insurrection?


So the hon. Gentleman asserts. That question will be investigated.


asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether Mr. Joseph O'Flaherty, of Loughrea, now a prisoner at Stafford, is in hospital there; if not, whether he has been medically examined as to his fitness to bear imprisonment, aggravated by the absence of charge or trial; and whether, to avoid fatal consequences to his health, he will, without further-delay, be either released or tried for any offence that can be alleged against him?


I would ask the hon. Gentleman to repeat this question, as I have not been able to get the information.

27. Mr. FLAVIN

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether Mortimer O'Connor, who is an American citizen, was arrested by the military at the residence of his sister, Mrs. Lovett, on Monday, the 15th May, at Abbeydooney, North Kerry; what charge, if any, has been made against Mortimer O'Connor; whether O'Connor has claimed the protection of the American Consul at Queenstown and the Alaskan delegate at Washington on the grounds that he is an American citizen, and arrested and detained by the military authorities without any charge being preferred against him or any trial given; and whether his release will be ordered?


I regret that I have not yet received any information about this matter additional to what I gave the hon. Member on the 29th of May.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this is the sixth time the question has been postponed, and that this man, being an American citizen, has considerable influence with the Irish in America as well as the Irish detained in English prisons?


I am in correspondence with Dublin on the subject. As soon as I get the information I will convey it to the hon. Gentleman should the House not be sitting.


Is it not a farce for Members of this House to put down questions every day for ten, twelve or fourteen days, as we can get no information about our Constituents who have had no charge brought against them and no trial given them?


I told the hon. Gentleman that I regret extremely not having got the information. If I cannot get the information I cannot reply to the question.


Send somebody else to Ireland.

49. Mr. CREAN

asked the Prime Minister on what charge John Brennan, of Ballinadee, county Cork, a young man eighteen years old, was arrested on the 8th May; whether he is aware that this young man was compelled to sleep on a plank bed and given food to eat as if he were a convicted felon: whether he is aware that Brennan was unable to communicate with his people from the 8th to the 18th of May; and, if no definite charge of a treasonable or criminal nature can be made against him, will he have this young fellow released immediately?


I have ascertained that this case is still being investigated, and I may add that, in every case where innocence is established, the prisoner will be released. Prisoners are permitted to communicate with their relatives.

66. Mr. FLAVIN

asked the Under-Secretary for War whether he is aware that Joseph O'Leary, of 11, Tremadoc Road, Clapham, London, who is spending his holidays in Ireland, was arrested on Tuesday, 16th May, in Dublin and detained since in the Bridewell; whether he will say why Joseph O'Leary was arrested and detained; what charge, if any, has been made against him; and whether his release will be ordered immediately?


I have not yet received any report that the investigation of O'Leary's case is concluded, nor that his release has been ordered.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this question has been postponed seven times; that this young man attested under the Derby Scheme and was rejected as physically unfit, and that he has been in gaol three weeks with no charge against him? Could not there be some kind of machinery or military court provided by which these men could be released?


I am afraid I cannot answer all these questions.


Why does the right hon. Gentleman get up to answer questions in connection with Irish prisoners when he will not get any information about them?


I give all the information which I receive.


I agree it is not the right hon. Gentleman's fault.

The following question stood on the Paper in the name of Mr. O'SHAUGHNESSY:

70. To ask the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that a young man named Patrick Sheahan was arrested in his home in Dublin and deported to Wandsworth Prison, where he still is; whether he can say if there is any charge against him beyond the fact that he had Sinn Fein literature and some revolver bullets, but no revolver or rifle, in his home when it was searched by the military authorities; and whether, as there was nothing illegal in people having these things in their possession up to the time of the rebellion, he will take steps to see that this is taken into account by the military authorities with a view to his immediate release?


This question is postponed. But I might ask, Is it not a fact that this young fellow has been released since Monday?


I hope that that is true, but I am not quite sure.


asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that Joseph O'Reilly, of Bantry, was arrested during the recent outbreak in Dublin; whether he is at present confined in Stafford Military Prison; if so, will he say what offence, if any, he is charged with; and whether he can see his way to at once order his discharge if no charge is preferred against him?


asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland (1) whether John Daly, of Rath, near Baltimore, was recently arrested; if so, whether any charge was made against him; if not, will he order his speedy release; and whether he can state the prison Mr. Daly is confined in; (2) whether John Logan was arrested at Baltimore, county Cork; if so, whether any charge had been preferred against him; if not, whether, in view of the fact that no disturbance of any kind occurred at Baltimore, he will have him at once released; whether he can state the prison Mr. Logan is confined in; and (3) whether Joseph Foley was arrested at Eyeries, county Cork, recently; if so, whether any charge had been made against him; if not, will he order his speedy release; and whether he can state the prison Mr. Foley is confined in?


The cases of these men will be dealt with as speedily as possible, but I have not to-day any specific information about them.

80. Mr. BYRNE

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he will make arrangements to have all the Irish prisoners who have not yet been tried to be allowed out on bail or released before the Whitsun holidays,


I think this point will be covered by the statement that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister is proposing to make.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that only 350 prisoners have been released in a month? Can he not hurry up the releases? Over half of these men have sent in forms declaring their innocence.


I do not think that I can anticipate what the Prime Minister has to say.


In the case of prisoners who have been arrested on suspicion, and who can get a responsible bond, will the right hon. Gentleman consider the advisability of immediate release?


I think that the answer given by the Prime Minister to the hon. Member for East Mayo covers the larger portion of the hon. Gentleman's question.


asked what provisions the Government make for Irish prisoners of war when they are released for their conveyance from prisons in England and Scotland to their homes in Ireland; and whether in some cases it has happened that no provision whatever has been made for the supply to the released men of the means of providing necessary food and refreshment on their return journeys?


Commandants are authorised to expend up to 2s. per man. I am not aware of any such cases.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in travelling from London to the West of Ireland a delay of two days is practically necessary, and in those cases would not such an allowance be granted?


I recognise that there might be differentiation in such cases of a very long journey. I will see if anything can be done.


asked whether eleven residents of Cliffoney, county Sligo, are still detained as prisoners of war at Wandsworth Detention Barracks; and, as there is no evidence on any charge whatever against these men, whether the Government can now see their way to immediately release them and other prisoners similarly circumstanced and: send them to their homes in Ireland, where they are needed for the agricultural work of the season?


I notice that in the hon. Gentleman's previous question he mentioned fifteen residents of Cliffoney, county Sligo. As these fifteen have now been reduced to eleven, I think he may conclude that the eleven will be similarly dealt with, if the circumstances of their cases are the same.

84 and 85. Mr. SCANLAN

asked (1) whether William Pedlar has been arrested on suspicion, and is now being detained at Wandsworth Detention Barracks as a prisoner of war; whether there is any evidence against him; whether any charge has been made against him; if so, when he will be tried; and, if not, when he will be released; and (2) whether Patrick M'Dermott, son of John M'Dermott, of Cloughboley, Magherow, county Sligo, is now detained as a prisoner of war in Wakefield; whether there has been any charge preferred against him; if so, when he will be tried; and, if not, when he will be released?


I have received no information about either of these individuals.