HC Deb 04 July 1918 vol 107 cc1859-60
Mr. KING (by Private Notice)

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he has made inquiries concerning the treatment of prisoners in Belfast Prison who refused to do their work as they were not receiving the dietary which they claimed to be their due; whether, as a consequence of their treatment, any of the prisoners who refused to do their work are in hospital; and what dietary are they now receiving?


I am informed that last week a number of prisoners who were receiving special ameliorative treatment in Belfast Prison were guilty of a serious outbreak of misconduct, which involved damage of prison property to the estimated amount of over £58. These prisoners were not required to work, and there was no question of refusing to work. They were receiving special dietary approved of by the Lord Lieutenant, on the same scale as they had been receiving it for some months past. None of the prisoners concerned in the disturbance are in the prison hospital on account of any treatment they received. There are three prisoners in hospital, who were removed there owing to their suffering from influenza. They are receiving hospital diet. Some of those guilty of insubordination are on punishment diet, by order of the Visiting Committee. The rest of the prisoners referred to are receiving the special dietary referred to above.


Is it not the fact that this is the culmination of a long struggle to obtain what these men always claimed as their due as political prisoners—the special dietary accorded after the death of Thomas Ashe on the representations of the Lord Mayor of Dublin?


I have stated that these prisoners were on a special diet approved of by the Lord Lieutenant. That was the diet referred to. As to what has happened, if these prisoners indulge in intemperate outbursts, they must suffer the unpleasant effects.