§ Mr. J. P. FARRELL
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland what are the average number of committals per day to the nine local prisons in which it is believed governors are still required in Ireland; what are the total number of hours of duty of those governors and how many hours per week are they absent from the prison as certified by the gate book; who discharges their duty when so absent, and whether, as a matter of accuracy, the sole duty of the governors is to make a tour of inspection of the prison once in twenty-four hours, all the other duty being performed by the under officials, who work on an average sixty hours per week, including Sunday; whether he will state what is the initial pay of a prison warder for the first ten years of his service; whether, in view of the present cost of living, he has con- 2299W sidered whether a wage of £l per week for onerous service faithfully discharged is a living wage; and whether he still persists in refusing to hear a statement of the case for relief for the prison warders in Ireland?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The abolition of the governorship in the case of nine local prisons in Ireland was suggested in the hon. Member's question of the 15th instant, to which I replied that I was unable to agree that there were nine such prisons in which that step could be taken without detriment to the public interest. Until, however, the hon. Member tells me which are the prisons he has in mind, I am unable to make the detailed inquiries to which he desires replies. I may say generally, however, that prison governors are responsible for the safe custody of prisoners in their charge, and are thus always on duty except when ill or on leave of absence, in which cases their duties are discharged by the deputy-governor or officer acting in his place. It is the duty of each governor to supervise the work of his subordinates and to enforce the laws and regulations of prison administration. The initial pay of a prison warder is £52 per annum rising after each year of approved service by increments of £l. He is, in addition, supplied with uniform clothing and boots, is provided with full light and residence, and in certain circumstances with an allowance in lieu thereof, and is entitled to the services of the prison medical officer. In view of these privileges and emoluments, it is incorrect to suggest that a warder's remuneration is limited to his monetary wage. I have already fully stated the grounds on which, with the statement of the warders' case before me, I hold that no useful purpose could be served by my receiving a deputation on their behalf, and I can see no reason for departing from that view at present.