HC Deb 27 February 1880 vol 250 cc1569-70

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Whether he is aware that Major Percy, the stipendiary magistrate at Nenagh, has, as the result of a house to house visitation, reported in the following terms upon the condition of 519 distressed families in that district:— They have no food of any kind; they have no fuel; their beds, bed-clothes, and everything movable has been long since sent to the pawn office; the homes, wretched in the extreme, are cold; the floors a mass of wet clay; in the corners of hundreds of rooms are straw heaps, kept together by large atones on the wet ground, an old sack or two the only covering. I never in a civilised land, nor indeed in any country, and I have been all over the world, saw such a picture of squalid misery; and, if he can inform the House why relief was not afforded earlier to this miserable population, and what measures have since been adopted to meet such distress?


Sir, I cannot find that Major Percy, the stipendiary magistrate at Nenagh, has made an official Report to the Irish Government on the distress prevailing in that district. If he had made such a Report as the hon. Gentleman described, it would have been in their possession. The hon. Member asks me why relief had not been afforded earlier, and what measures had since been adopted to meet the distress. I find that the Union including this district was gazetted on the 27th January among those scheduled as taking advantage of the notice issued by the Board of Works on the 12th of January. The Guardians have also been informed that out-door relief may be given under the new conditions, and sanitary and other works are contemplated, which will afford employment to the population. I also understand that the landlords of the Union have applied for advances to the amount of £3,500. lam not aware that the Government have power to do anything more.


May I ask when the works in contemplation are likely to be commenced?


Applications, as I have stated, have been made for advances; but I cannot say how soon they will be in operation. One undertaking, by the sanitary authorities, for £4,500, I understand, is not likely to be proceeded with.