§ MR. POULETT SCROPE
wished to ask the right hon. Baronet the Secretary for Ireland whether it was true, as stated in the local journals, that the number of inmates in the Limerick workhouse exceeded the limits allowed by the sealed order of the Poor Law Commissioners by 775; and if so, whether the Commissioners had taken any steps thereupon?
§ SIR W. SOMERVILLE
said, that it was quite true that the pressure on the Limerick workhouse had been very great for some time past. The Commissioners had not failed to call the attention of the board of guardians to that state of things, 628 in order to induce them, as far as was in their power, to meet it. He found that on the 23rd of November last there was an excess of 160 inmates in the workhouse, and that that excess had risen by the 28th of December to 610. In consequence of the additional accommodation that was then provided by the board of guardians on the 4th of January, the excess of inmates had been reduced to 124. It was quite true, as had been stated by the hon. Member for Stroud, that at one period, on the 1st of February, the excess of the number of inmates over the accommodation was 775; but then again, in consequence of the fresh accommodation which was provided, it appeared, according to the last report which had reached him, that the excess of the inmates, as compared with the accommodation, had been reduced to 507. It must also be remembered that although the excess in the number of the inmates in the Limerick workhouse was very large, the workhouse accommodation in that union was enormous; at the time that the excess was 507, the number of inmates was upwards of 7,000. He believed that the sanitary condition of the union was perfectly satisfactory, and according to the last reports, the medical officer was quite satisfied with the arrangements for the convenience of the inmates. Fresh accommodation was being provided, and he had no doubt that very soon, perhaps even at the present time, there would be an excess of accommodation as compared with the number of people in the workhouse. The Commissioners had directed their attention particularly to the state of this union. Mr. Lynch, who had had the charge of this union, and also of several other unions, had been directed to confine his attention exclusively to the charge of the Limerick union. The guardians had shown every disposition to take such steps as were in their power to meet the pressure; and he had no doubt that perhaps by this time, and at all events very soon, there would be an excess of accommodation compared with the number of people.