The unexpected release of Mrs Sheehy Skeffington from Armagh jail yesterday – three days earlier than expected – forestalled plans for a prison gate welcome for her sympathisers, but she is to attend a series of public meetings in the Free State today.
Mrs Skeffington left the prison in a saloon car. She went to prison on the 24th of last month in default of finding bail when charged with entering Northern Ireland in defiance of an exclusion order.
With Mrs Skeffington in the car yesterday were two plain clothes police officers. Avoiding Newry town, the car drove to the Border post between Newry and Dundalk, and the Customs regulations having been complied with, the car drove on to Dundalk, where Mrs Skeffington alighted, and the car returned north.
It is stated that Mrs Skeffington was not pleased at being released in advance of her time, but she is said to have expressed warm appreciation of the consideration and kindness with which she was treated by Northern prison officials and police.
The police, who for a month have had to supply a day and night guard outside the prison, as well as one inside, are glad to have her away.
[Hanna Sheehy Skeffington, 1877-1946, was an Irish republican and a campaigner for women’s suffrage.]