HC Deb 10 May 1923 vol 163 cc2555-6

asked the Home Secretary whether the Irish deportees brought over to this country are allowed to communicate with their friends before appearing before the Advisory Committee with the object of securing legal advice; whether these persons are informed of the nature and details of the charges they are alleged to be guilty of before their appearance; and whether he will lay upon the Table of the House the names of the internees appearing before the Advisory Committee, a copy of the charges made against them, and the result of each appeal?


The matters considered by the Committee are questions of fact and not of law, and legal advice is not therefore necessary, but when internees have applied to see a solicitor, they have been allowed to do so. In view of the grave danger which would in many cases ensue to persons giving information, the practice is not to supply interned persons with a formal statement of the evidence against them. If they apply to the Advisory Committee the evidence against them is indicated, as far as possible, when they appear before the Committee, and they are given the fullest opportunity of answering it. The names of the persons who have so far appeared before the Advisory Committee are Charles Garrety, James Hickey, J. D. McCann, P. J. O'Neill, Mary Finan, Katherine Furlong, and Margaret Leonard. On the advice of the Committee, Katherine Furlong and James Hickey have been released, and Charles Garrety, J. D. McCann, P. J. O'Neill, Mary Finan and Margaret Leonard are being further detained. For the reasons stated above, I am not prepared to make public the information which led to internment in particular cases.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that these people have been brought before the Advisory Committee and have not been informed of the charges against them; and does he consider it fair that people should be brought over and charged with offences and not be able to answer them?


They are informed. The Advisory Committee is presided over by an ex-Judge of very high standing, and I am sure that he would not allow anything unfair to be done.

Captain BENN

Did not the right hon. Gentleman undertake that these people should have legal assistance, if they wished it?


I have already said that any internee who wishes to see a solicitor is allowed to do so.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that these people have been taken over from this country and no information has been given to their friends, and they have had no opportunity of obtaining legal advice? I beg to give notice that I shall raise this question on the adjournment to-night.


In view of the recent judgment should not the people who are now interned in Ireland be restored to the country of their adoption and birth?


That can be discussed to-night.