asked the Minister for Justice whether Mr. Michael Kilroy, T.D., Mayo, and Dr. Madden, T.D., Mayo, are interned in Mountjoy Prison; if he will state the reasons why these Deputies were arrested, and why they are now detained; if he is aware that Mayo is, and has long been, in a peaceful state, and whether there is any ground for the allegation that these Deputies are refused permission to have books and newspapers sent in by friends, and that food supplies sent them by their friends are withheld.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - INTERNED DEPUTIES.
Mr. Michael Kilroy and Dr. Madden, of Mayo, are detained in Mountjoy Prison under the provisions of the Public Safety (Emergency Powers) Act, 1926. These gentlemen have been detained as a precautionary measure, because there was ground for supposing that they were prominent members of the illegal organisation which was responsible for the recent concerted attacks on police barracks.
There are no grounds for the allegation that they have been refused permission to receive books and newspapers sent in by friends, or that food supplies sent them by their friends are withheld.
I note that the Minister in his reply refers to these gentlemen as Mr. Kilroy and Dr. Madden. Is he aware that they are T.D.'s? Does he not consider that to detain them on suspicion is, after all, a breach of privilege of this House?
I hope they have as much respect for this House as I have.
Can the Minister give any information about the position of those interned prisoners—whether they are allowed provisions and books from outside and time for exercise— the usual privileges of internees who have not been tried?
I dealt with that in reply to a question the other day. They are allowed books or papers that may be sent into them, and they are allowed to write any letters they wish, subject to the usual conditions.
Are they allowed parcels of food?
Yes, if food is sent in.
Can the Minister say whether they are kept in their cells or in an enclosed place and not allowed to exercise—that they are kept in their cells for twenty-one hours in the day?
That would probably vary. There are some nineteen prisoners detained at Mountjoy, some in Cork and some in Waterford, and it would vary in accordance with the exigencies of the prison staff, but generally the view would be to give as much exercise as is reasonably possible having regard to the number of staff engaged in each prison.
Would the Minister not think that the exigencies of the men's mental and physical condition ought to be taken into account?
Yes, within limits.
The Minister has not answered the part of my question, which asks: "Is he aware that Mayo is, and has long been, in a peaceful state," nor has he said what the grounds of suspicion are on account of which these representatives of the people are detained in Mountjoy.
I am quite conscious of the omission. I do not intend to supplement anything I have said.
Part of my question is: "If he is aware that Mayo is, and has long been, in a peaceful state"? The question is on the Paper. It was permitted to appear upon the Paper by you, Sir, and I am therefore entitled to assume that it is in order. The Minister should give some reason why he refuses to answer a perfectly regular question.