HC Deb 07 April 1921 vol 140 cc458-9W

asked the Chief Secretary whether his attention has been drawn to the conditions prevailing at the prison camp where Irishmen are interned at Earls Island, County Galway, where, during the month of December, 1920, 27 prisoners were housed in a small galvanised iron shed, which was so dark that it was impossible to read at midday, where there was neither fire nor artificial light, and where the prisoners had no beds and only three blankets among them; and what steps he proposes to take against the officers responsible for these conditions?


The 27 prisoners in question were housed in a Nissen hut under the same conditions as the troops. A supply of candles was issued to them and each internee was provided with two blankets. There appears to be no ground for any action such as is suggested in the last part of the question.


asked the Secretary of State for War (1) whether, in view of the fact that the men in internment camps in Ireland are not convicted and have not even been charged with any offence, he will direct that they be allowed to receive visits and letters from their friends, and to send out letters to any reasonable extent;

(2) whether an official order has been issued that Press representatives are to be excluded from Ballykinlar camp, and, if so, on what grounds; whether he has considered the advisability, in view of the murder of two of the interned prisoners, of allowing all possible light to be thrown on the administration of the camp; and whether the same regulation applies to all other camps in which men are interned against whom no conviction has been recorded and no charge has been preferred?

Lieut.-Colonel STANLEY

I am in communication with the military authorities in Ireland regarding these two questions and will let the hon Member know the result.


asked the Chief Secretary whether his attention has been called to the conditions in the town hall, Galway, during December, 1920, where 120 men were interned in one room 30 feet by 100 feet; whether the sanitary arrangements were abominable until prisoners themselves erected them; that the only ventilation was a broken window; and will he cause inquiries to be made?


The hon. Member has evidently been misinformed. The area of the hall in question is 60 feet by 200 feet, and the number of men detained there at no time exceeded 90. The ventilation of the hall was excellent, and the sanitary arrangements were adequate and better than those available for the local troops. No further inquiry would appear to be necessary.

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