HC Deb 24 July 1883 vol 282 cc291-3

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether it is the fact that, at the meeting held on Saturday June 30th, the Local Inspector under the Cattle Diseases Act reported to the Wexford Guardians that pleuro-pneumonia had broken out on the farm of Lemuel Furney, Ballycross, near Bridgetown; that he had slaughtered four heifers affected with it early in the week; that the Guardians at once declared the farm an infected place under the Act; and, being very anxious to prevent the spread of the disease, unanimously recommended (as desired by the authorities in Dublin Castle) a certain area to be restricted—namely, the farms surrounding the infected place, as cattle on some of these farms were only separated by a ditch from the diseased cattle; whether, although the Guardians fully expected that this recommendation would have been carried out by the Government on the following Monday, as it was of great importance that the cattle would not be allowed to be sent over the Country, nothing was done until Friday, 6th July, when Mr. Headley, the Government Inspector, was sent down to examine into the case; whether, at the meeting of the Guardians on Saturday, 7th.July, no communication was received from the Castle, only a formal acknowledgment of the Letter sent on the previous Saturday; whether two more beasts were slaughtered in the meantime; whether, on Thursday, 12th July, the disease broke out on the farm of Ballybough, also held by Mr. Furney, and another beast slaughtered; whether Ballybough adjoins Ballycross, and was one of the townlands recommended by the Guardians to be restricted; whether a part of this being occupied by a farmer who takes in cattle by the month, and from different parts of the country, thus created much greater danger; whether several of these cattle have been taken home since the disease broke out, and further risk of spreading the disease be caused; whether, on Saturday, July 14th, a copy of the report of the Government Inspector was received by the Guardians stating that it was not necessary to restrict an area nor to interfere with the fairs of Bridgetown, but recommending the Guardians to slaughter all the cattle and sell the carcasses; whether, before this Report reached the Guardians, the disease (as above stated) broke out in one of the places they wished to restrict; whether they consequently issued a strong protest against the action of the Castle authorities in thwarting them in their endeavours to stamp out the disease; whether they are now trying to negotiate for the sale of the cattle, with the view of having them slaughtered at once; and, whether the defect in the Act, in not giving absolute power to the local authority to deal with the restriction, is likely to be remedied?


Sir, the hon. Member asks me 13 Questions in one; but they resolve themselves into a small compass. The facts are, I believe, for the most part, set forth with substantial accuracy in this Question; but the Government has no information as to the particular circumstances under which the lands of Ballybough are grazed, as referred to in paragraphs seven and eight. The Veterinary Department acted in this matter without any avoidable delay; and the reason why the very large area recommended by the Guardians to be declared an infected district was not at first so declared was because, on the receipt of the Inspector's Report, it was hoped it would not be necessary to do so. However, when, as stated, a further case of disease occurred at Ballybough, and the Guardians urged their recommendation, it was complied with. The area recommended was declared infected, and the usual restrictions were imposed as to the movement of cattle and holding of fairs. The orders have been for some days in the hands of the Guardians and the police, and no fresh case of disease has been reported within the area since the 17th instant. I cannot give any undertaking that the powers of the local authority will be enlarged by legislation as suggested.