HC Deb 08 June 1917 vol 94 cc500-1

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that an Irish political prisoner named Fahy, at Lewes, under sentence of a secret court-martial, is so reduced in health and appearance by bad treatment that his wife has recently had difficulty in recognising him; whether he is to be released to avert his death; and, if it be intended to detain him until the International Peace Congress deals with the treatment of political prisoners, whether an independent doctor from an Allied country will be allowed to examine him now?

The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir George Cave)

No representation has been received as to the health of this prisoner, but I am inquiring into the matter.

32. Mr. BYRNE

asked the Chief Secretary if he is aware of the treatment of the Irish prisoners at Lewes; if he will say how many have been removed; for what they were removed, and to where; if one has been removed to a lunatic asylum for hunger striking; if two others have been removed to some place unknown within the past few days; if he is aware that the Censor has refused to allow publication of letters from the National Aid Association on their treatment; and will he say what action he proposes to take?


My right hon. Friend has asked me to reply to this question. On the 28th May all the Irish prisoners at Lewes refused to work. They had been repeatedly warned that any concerted action in defiance of the prison rules would result in the withdrawal of the special privileges conferred upon them, and I therefore decided that these privileges should be withdrawn and that the prisoners should return to the ordinary conditions of penal servitude. Some of them have since been removed to other prisons. The mental condition of one prisoner gives cause for anxiety, but no prisoner has been removed to a lunatic asylum.


Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman say whether the Government are really serious in their intention for a settlement of the Irish question, having regard to the brutal treatment of these prisoners'?


There has been no brutal treatment of these prisoners. They have received exceptional favours on condition of good conduct.


The Home Secretary has not informed the House on what grounds these prisoners made their demonstration on that particular occasion. What specific claims did they advance as a reason for their demonstration?


I must have notice of that question.


Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman state whether the twenty prisoners have been removed from Lewes, and, if so, where they have been sent to within the last few days?


I cannot without notice give the hon. Gentleman figures or places to which these men have been sent.

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