HC Deb 10 August 1883 vol 283 cc53-4

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, What provision, if any, has been made for the spiritual necessities of the Catholic inmates of the Donegal Workhouse since the resignation of the Catholic chaplain, the Rev. Hugh M'Fadden, P. P. on the first of May last; is it a fact that the Catholic inmates attend Mass on Sunday in the Parish Church without being in charge of any official in connection with the Workhouse, and is this in accordance with Workhouse regulations; is it a fact that the Parish Priest of Donegal is obliged to employ a Catechist to instruct the Workhouse children after Mass in the Parish Church; is it true that the Catholic Guardians have declined to attend the meetings of the Board in consequence of the majority refusing to appoint a Catechist, there being no Catholic school teacher or official in connection with the Workhouse; and, whether the Local Government Board approve of a Catechist being appointed in the absence of any Catholic official, and have expressed their regret that the majority of the Board will not sanction such appointment?


The Roman Catholic chaplain resigned his office in May, and it was found impracticable to obtain the services of another chaplain. The workhouse inmates have, therefore, as the only alternative, been allowed to attend Mass in the parish church on Sundays and Holy days. They are not attended by a workhouse officer to the church, which is only a few hundred yards from the workhouse. The master has reported weekly to the Guardians that the inmates returned in good time, and in good order. The arrangement is, of course, unusual, and is not provided for in the general workhouse regulations. The Local Government Board are not aware of the employment of a Catholic catechist at the expense of the parish priest; but they understand there is a Roman Catholic monitress in the workhouse who teaches the children their Catechism. It is the case that the Local Government Board approve of the appointment of a Catholic catechist, and have expressed to the Guardians their regret that the majority decline to sanction such an appointment. With regard to the non-attendance of the Catholic Guardians at the Board meetings, I am informed that it is not known locally that the catechist question is the cause of it.


asked whether this was not a case in which he ought to recommend the Local Government Board to appoint paid Guardians for the district?


said, that would be a very strong step to take, having regard to the fact that the present Guardians were elected for the general administration of poor relief.


suggested that the Local Government Board should intimate to the Guardians that they might be compelled to override their decision.


said, he would consider the matter.