§ MR. FLAVIN
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if he will again take into consideration the petition and statement of evidence praying for the release of Thomas Collins, confined in the invalid prison at Maryborough, who was convicted in 1891 and sentenced to 10 years' penal servitude; whether all the other prisoners convicted with him have since been released; and whether Collins, having now served seven years, and his mind being injured as stated by the doctor of the Prisons Board, his release will be granted?
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
Collins was tried at the Monster Winter Assizes of 1891 on the charge of conspiracy to murder, and was sentenced, as stated, to 10 years' penal servitude. The two other prisoners convicted with him were released on licence in ordinary course in February 1897, the sentence in their case having been one of seven years' penal servitude. Collins will be eligible for release on licence in June 1899, if well conducted in the meantime. It is not my province to take into consideration the petition praying for his release; any application in this regard should be addressed in the usual way to the Lord Lieutenant. I may add that the medical member of the Prisons Board has never stated, as alleged, that the mind of the convict had been injured. What he stated was that, mentally, he might be described as simple. He was always slightly weak-minded, but latterly has improved in this respect.