HC Deb 23 January 1918 vol 101 cc1008-9W

asked the Chief Secretary fur Ireland who is responsible for the forcible feeding of two prisoners in Mountjoy Prison; if he is aware that Sir Thomas Myles and Sir Arthur Chance, in giving evidence at the inquest on the late Thomas Ashe, stated that forcible feeding was dangerous to life even in the most skilled hands; if he will state the present condition of the prisoners; and if he will order their release?


Two prisoners in Mountjoy Prison have lately been artificially fed. Two eminent surgeons did, as suggested in the question, express opinions adverse to what is called forcible feeding. One of the prisoners has been temporarily released under the Prisoners (Temporary Discharge. for Ill-Health) Act. I am informed that the condition of the other prisoner is satisfactory. The prisoners in question were the ringleaders of a mob which made a savage attack upon a small force of the Royal Irish Constabulary at Listowel, and caused bodily injuries to several members of the force. They were sentenced to terms of imprisonment, and the sentences were confirmed upon appeal. On being imprisoned they resorted to a hunger-strike. In view of the seriousness of the attacks upon the police, and of the fact that criminals of various classes in Ireland have lately refused food in order to obtain release from prison, I am unable to advise interference in such a case as the present with the ordinary course of prison discipline.