Northern Ireland

Healy Finally Released From Workhouse – On This Day in 1924

Cahir Healy sitting at desk
MP Cahir Healy was interned for two years
February 12 1924

Mr Cahir Healy, MP, was yesterday released from Larne Workhouse, where he has been interned for the past couple of years. The order for his release came as a surprise to Mr Healy, who was informed that he was to be liberated while partaking of breakfast.

The Home Office appears to have adopted a peculiar method in Mr Healy’s case, for immediately he had left the workhouse and reached the railway station, he received a document to the effect that he was prohibited from entering a certain portion of his native County of Fermanagh.

Vindictive Treatment

The word that can be said of the manner in which Mr Cahir Healy, MP, was released from the Larne Workhouse Prison yesterday morning was that in all details it was characteristic of the Northern Government’s mentality and methods.

Mr [William] Pringle, an English MP, would have moved at Westminster this week for the appointment of a Special Parliamentary Committee to investigate the circumstances under which this elected member of the Imperial Legislation was detained in jail without charge or trial. The Englishman gave notice as long ago as January 16 of his intention to move: “That the letter informing this House of the internment of Mr Cahir Healy, a member of this House, be referred to a Select Committee for the purpose of inquiring into all the matters referred to therein, and of reporting whether they demand the further attention of the House.”

All the representatives of Ascendancy sent to Westminster from the Six Counties were there to oppose any proposition of the kind; the Speaker of the British Parliament was compelled to order the Deputy Speaker of the Belfast Parliament to “resume his seat” – an ignominious end to a cowardly attack on a man who was held in jail by the Deputy Speaker’s paymasters.

But Mr Healy was not released on the morrow of the discussion; he was kept in the Workhouse Prison until the eve of the re-opening of the British Parliament: then – as a patent and abject confession of fear, and of the impossibility of defending their action – the Northern Government released the representative of Fermanagh-Tyrone, while still keeping, as hostages, more than 300 men as well entitled to their liberty as the MP whose case was to have been considered at Westminster. Mr Healy is not living in West Fermanagh, where his home and business have been: he must remain east of a “line” if he wishes to reside in the County.

On the release of nationalist MP Cahir Healy from two years of internment, an editorial from The Irish News criticises the pettiness of the Northern Government for imposing severe travel restrictions on Healy.