HC Deb 03 March 1921 vol 138 cc1986-9
12. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the Chief Secretary whether Mrs. James Ryan, wife of the hon. Member for South Wexford, who is in prison without charge, was arrested on 16th February last at Wexford for having refused to allow a martial law proclamation to be exhibited in the window of her private house and imprisoned in Water-ford gaol; whether she was taken away from an infant aged eight months; what steps have the authorities taken to see that the infant, now parentless, is provided for; and whether it is with his approval that the military power compels a lady in Mrs. Ryan's position to exhibit a martial law proclamation in her private house?


I am informed that Mrs. Ryan was arrested on 16th February, by the direction of the competent military authority, for refusing to exhibit a martial law proclamation in the window of her house. She was tried by Summary Court on 26th February, fined £15, and released. Previous to her arrest arrangements were made for her children to be cared for by her sister.


How many women are in prison in Ireland for such offences?

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Are we to understand that Mrs. Ryan has paid the fine and been released, and is now at liberty?


I have said so; she is released.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

Have you arrested the baby yet?


asked the Chief Secretary whether he is aware that William J. Doherty was arrested in or near Strokestown, County Roscommon, on the 14th instant, and conveyed under military escort to Longford military barracks; whether Mr. Doherty is being kept in chains, and whether no one, not even the military chaplain, is allowed to see him; whether he is aware that Mr. Doherty's solicitor wrote to the officer in command asking for information as to the charge on which Mr. Doherty was being detained, and as to when and where it was proposed to try him; that although the solicitor requested an early reply for the purpose of preparing the defence no answer has been received; whether he will make inquiries into this matter; and whether he can now state the charge against Mr. Doherty and the date and place of his trial?


I have directed inquiry to be made into this case. If the hon. Member will be good enough to repeat his question next Thursday, I will endeavour to furnish him with the information that he desires.


Is not this incident connected with the alleged looting of a bank at Strokestown, about which I asked the right hon. Gentleman in my speech on Tuesday, and as to which I have not yet had a reply?


I remember the speech of the hon. Member with great pleasure, but I must have notice of that question.


Have there been too many cases of looting for the right hon. Gentleman to remember that one?

53. Mr. MYERS

asked the Chief Secretary whether Mr. Sean McGrath, secretary of the Irish Self-Determination League, has been arrested in London and deported to Ireland; if so, if he will say under what Act of Parliament Mr. McGrath was arrested; whether any charge has been preferred against him; and for what reason he has been taken to Ireland?

18. Mr. MILLS

asked the Chief Secretary on what grounds Mr. Sean McGrath, residing at 23, Rochester Place, Kentish Town, was taken from the office of the Irish Self-Determination League, 182, Shaftesbury Avenue, was refused permission to consult a solicitor, or to communicate with his wife; and where he is now detained and upon what charge?


I have been asked to reply to this question and question No. 53. Mr. McGrath was arrested at 182, Shaftesbury Avenue to give effect to an Order for his internment in Ireland issued under No. 14B of the Regulations made under the Restoration of Order in Ireland Act. He did not ask to communicate with his wife, but the police did, in fact, inform her of his arrest and whereabouts. He was not refused permission to consult his solicitor, but he did not ask to see him until 7 p.m., and it was not found possible to arrange an interview before McGrath's departure for Ireland early the next day. The solicitor was, however, offered and accepted an interview at police headquarters, where he was given a copy of the Internment Order and other particulars. Mr. McGrath is interned as a person who is suspected of acting, having acted or being about to act in a manner prejudicial to the restoration and maintenance of order in Ireland, and is at present in Ballykinlar internment camp.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

Does that mean that anyone in England can be arrested under the Restoration of Order in Ireland Act, and be taken over to Ireland to be tried there?


That depends on what he has done.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

Does the Act apply here? May I have an answer? [HON. MEMBERS: "Be careful!"]


asked the Chief Secretary whether he is aware that Mr. Desmond Fitzgerald, who was arrested on 16th February, was on 19th February placed in solitary confinement in a punishment cell in which there is not light enough at mid-day to read without candles; and that he has been deprived of the four hours' exercise in the open allowed to other prisoners, and is instead taken for 20 minutes' exercise in a corridor; and whether he will state by what authority special punishments are inflicted on untried and uncharged prisoners in gaol?


I received notice of this question only yesterday. I at once gave direction for the most searching inquiry to be made into these allegations.