PRISONERS AT THE CURRAGH

by jdurney on November 22, 2013

The Leinster Leader 30 September 1922

Prisoners at the Curragh

Under the above heading the following letter appeared in the “Irish Independent” on 22nd inst.-
 Sir. – As officer in charge of the Republican prisoners in the Curragh Camp I wish to bring to the notice of the following: – There are present in the general hospital here two boys, J. Smith, of Dunlavin, and T. Driver, of Ballymore-Eustace, aged 14 and 16 years respectively. They were arrested by patrols of the Free State troops on the roads near their houses more than ten weeks ago. No reason was given for their arrest, neither of them carried arms, and no charge has since been made against them. They were both kept in close custody in Hare Park prison where they were allowed no visits from their relatives. Both boys adopted the only form of protest available. They had started a hunger strike with the object of gaining unconditional release. After four days the medical officer attending them gave them his word of honour that they would be released if they stopped the hunger strike. They did so and were removed to the General Hospital. During their convalescence they were brought before the senior medical officer, not the doctor who had promised their release and asked if they would sign a form. They refused and claimed unconditional release, according to the promise made to them. This was refused and they immediately recommenced their hunger strike. These facts are in glaring disagreement with the account of the prisoners’ treatment given by a member of the Government in the recent debate. Would the Minster for Home Affairs claim that these two boys have not been treated with cruel vindictiveness which passed in the disgraceful story of English prisons in Ireland during the last six years? I leave it to the public to form their own opinion.
T. Boyle, OC Prisoners Keane Barracks, Curragh.

Note by James Durney: A search of the 1911 Census did not reveal any family named Smith in the DEDs of Dunlavin Town, Lower and Upper. A James Smith, aged six, was located in Newtownsandes, Baltinglass, but it is unsure if this is the J. Smith mentioned above. The T. Driver mentioned is actually Francis Patrick ‘Frank’ Driver, son of Thomas and Monica Driver, Ballymore Eustace. Thomas Driver was a publican in the village.

A letter from the Officer Commanding republican prisoners in the Curragh published in the Leinster Leader of 30 September 1922 mentions well-known Ballymore man, Frank Driver

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