HC Deb 07 June 1917 vol 94 cc307-9
20. Mr. BYRNE

asked what are the Government's proposals with reference to Countess Marckievicz and the Irish prisoners in Lewes?


This matter is not under the control of the Irish Office.


I beg to give notice that I will raise this matter to-night. It has been, going on too long.

45. Mr. BYRNE

asked the Prime Minister if the Government have yet decided to release the Irish prisoners?

61 and 68. Mr. GINNELL

asked the Prime Minister (1) whether the Government are satisfied that when the approaching International Peace Congress comes to deal with the treatment of political prisoners the fact must be disclosed that it is only in this country they are treated worse than prisoners for ordinary crimes; that while some ordinary criminals are given 392 oz. of bread per week and others are given, in accordance with the statutory rules now in force, 196 oz. of bread per week, the Irish political prisoners now at Lewes and Aylesbury are, in violation of the statutory rules, given only 119 oz. of bread per week, and that, like the other articles, of inferior quality; if it be undesirable to have this fact disclosed at the Peace Congress, whether this allowance will be immediately increased; (2) whether he is aware of the effect of the want of uniformity in the treatment of political opponents of the Government under the Defence of the Realm Act, so that, while little used for that purpose in this country, policemen and Government officials canvassed for the Government candidates in North Roscommon and South Longford, and punished persons for celebrating the victories over the Government; whether he is aware that at present young men of high character are in prison or under sentence of imprisonment in the counties of Cork, Tipperary, Meath, and Galway for having celebrated in an orderly manner the South Longford victory, no violence being alleged against any of them; that the evidence of the police, the sole witnesses against the accused, was not corroborated in any particular; that they identified the accused only by the light of torches; that Gerald Bartley, a boy of eighteeen, is now in prison garb, undergoing prison treatment among criminals in Galway goal, for having celebrated the Longford victory by lighting a bonfire; and that food sent him by friends is prevented by the prison authorities from reaching him; and, having regard to the considerate treatment of political opponents by civilised Governments, whether all prisoners for this cause will be released forthwith and all further proceedings quashed?


I can add nothing to previous statements on this subject.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that at the present moment Irish prisoners are in solitary confinement, and were refused permission to attend church last Sunday? Will he say when this Hunnish treatment is to cease?


The hon. Member must give notice of that question.


Is the right hon. Gentleman in a position to deny any of the allegation in Question 61?


Yes, Sir; they have been dealt with to some extent, but I cannot refer to them.


Then the hon. Gentleman is not in a position to deny a single one of these statements?


The hon. Member must not infer that from my answer.