§ MR. J. P. FARRELL
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, whether he is aware that the Grand Jury of county Longford requested the Earl of Longford to take off their hands the prison which has been disused for the past ten years, and that he has since sold part of it to a local contractor; at whose expense was this prison originally erected, and what was its cost; did the Earl of Longford pay anything for it, or was any money realised for the material sold to the contractor, and, if so, who gets the benefit of it; and, will he state whether the county prison at Cavan, which is now also disused, is the property of the Grand Jury to dispose of as they wish, without regard to the cost these erections originally entailed?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. GERALD BALFOUR,) Leeds, Central
I am informed that the Grand Jury of the County Longford did request Lord Longford to take over the county prison, at the Spring Assizes of 1895, but that, some difficulties having arisen as to this course, proceedings in ejectment for non-payment of rent were instituted, and terminated in possession being resumed by Lord Longford. The Government have no official knowledge as to what has since become of the premises, which passed out of the control of the Prisons Board in 1894. The Secretary to the Grand Jury states that 1547 the prison was built by means of a loan of £12,963 from the Consolidated Fund, which was repaid by the county. The only advantage to the county was in the first place the extinction of a rent of £18 13s. 4d., for which the Grand Jury were liable to Lord Longford; and, in the next place, the abandonment of Lord Longford's claim for dilapidation of buildings. The prison at Cavan has not yet been transferred to the Grand Jury, but remains the property of the Prisons Board.