HC Deb 23 November 1882 vol 274 cc1910-2

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether he is aware that, at the meeting of the Drumcondra Town Commissioners on last Friday, a report was read from. Mr. John Kelly, the Sanitary Officer of the Board, stating that he had recently visited the house, No. 19, Richmond Road, Dublin, which is occupied by Crown witnesses; that, in this house of five small rooms and a kitchen, he had found twenty people lodged; that one small room, 18 feet by 9, was used as a sleeping apartment for seven persons, a father, three sons, and three daughters—the eldest daughter nineteen years of age, the eldest son fourteen—and only two beds for the whole family; that in another room, six brothers and sisters, the eldest boy thirteen, the eldest girl eleven, slept together on two mattresses placed side by side on the floor; that the earthen floor of the house was damp and dirty, the bedding filthy, and the most primitive sanitary necessities were disregarded; whether the Sub-Sanitary Officer of the Board was refused admission to another House, No. 15, Richmond Road, Dublin, also used for accommodation of Crown witnesses, and, whether this house has been inspected by a medical gentleman, Dr. Nedley, who reports that he found thirty persons lodged there; that he saw in front of the house "a mound composed of used up palliasses, over which are thrown the products of an adjoining pigstye, and a garnishing of potato peelings and decomposing cabbage stalks;" and that there was a total want of sewerage and drainage, and a gross defect in sanitary accommodation; whether the facts are as stated; whether one or both of these houses has been used by the Crown to lodge Crown witnesses since about the year 1848; whether policemen are in charge of the houses; whether adequate provision is made from the public funds for the housing and lodging of Crown witnesses in Dublin; and, if so, who receives the money, and how is it accounted for; and, what steps will now be taken to ascertain whether there has been embezzlement of the public money; to look after the condition of the inmates of those houses; and to punish such agents of the Crown as may be found responsible for a state of things so inimical both to decency and the public health?


I am aware that a Report was read from the Sanitary Officer of the Drumcondra Town Commissioners to the effect that the Crown witnesses were most improperly accommodated. Dr. Nedley also reported to the same effect; but I have reason to believe that the sanitary state of the houses is not so bad as has been repre- sented. Dr. Gibbs, who is the Medical Officer of Health for the district, is medical attendant at the houses in question, and he reported, on the 15th instant, that there was little ground for a reasonable complaint against their sanitary state; and Dr. Nedley added in his Report, with regard to the inmates— Their food, I have reason to believe, was abundant and wholesome; they were comfortably clad, and looked contented. One of the houses has been used by the Crown since 1848; the other was taken about two months ago, and is held from month to month. With regard to the refusal of admission to Mr. Kelly, the sanitary officer, the facts are that the constable in charge received orders not to admit any person unless authorized by his officer to do so. Mr. Kelly had no order, and was refused admission. He was subsequently informed by the Sub-Inspector that he would at any time accompany him to the house; but he had not availed himself of the offer.