HC Deb 04 June 1883 vol 279 cc1639-41

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether, at the last meeting of the Dunfanaghy Board of Guardians, applications for out-door relief were made on behalf of 140 destitute families and were rejected; whether the chairman of the day, Mr. Wybrants Oldphert, declared at the outset that it would be "a pure waste of time" to go through the list of applicants; whether, among other applications rejected, was one on behalf of Brian M'Gee (a tenant of the chairman), who was stated to be in a dying condition, and who has since died; whether the chairman stated that M'Gee was well off and had a son, lately returned from Scotland, residing with him; whether he is aware that the son referred to is a married man, who has not lived with his father for the past four years, and that the father was supported by private charity since December last; whether a number of other applications were rejected on the statements of a relieving officer named Benson, who mistook several of the destitute applicants for neighbours of the same name who were better off; whether, according to the latest return, the Dunfanaghy Workhouse contains only 38 pauper inmates and affords no outdoor relief, while the expense of maintaining the establishment was last year £1,419, or nearly £40 per person relieved; and, whether, in view of refusal by the guardians to afford outdoor relief, and the irregularities in management disclosed by the late investigation concerning the seduction of an imbecile pauper inmate in the workhouse, steps will be taken to close the Dunfanaghy Workhouse and bring about an amalgamation with neighbouring unions?


What appears to have been a general and preconcerted demand for outdoor relief was made from the Gweedore district at the meeting of the Dunfanaghy Guardians on the 26th of May. The use of the words "pure waste of time" by the Chairman was not in the sense imputed to him in the Question, but referred to the fact that there were 123 applications, some of which the Rev. Mr. M'Fadden—under whose advice the people appear to have been acting—acknowledged to have been made without due cause. The Chairman did not refuse to go through the cases seriatim. On the contrary, the relieving officer was directed to visit the houses of every one of the applicants and report upon them individually. Brian M'Gee was dying when the relieving officer visited him, and is since dead. There is no ground whatever for supposing that he died from want. The number of inmates in the workhouse, according to the last Return, is correctly quoted in the Question—the number being 38—but the annual cost of maintaining the establishment is greatly overstated. It is £938, the difference between that sum and the total expenditure of the Union being the cost of the medical charities, sanitary, and other Acts. Steps have been taken to remedy the defective classification of inmates disclosed at the inquiry into the management of the workhouse. It would not be expedient to close it, as the distances from most parts of the Union to the workhouses of adjoining Unions would be much too great.

In reply to Colonel COLTHURST,


said, that the Local Government Board had gone very carefully indeed into an inquiry as to the state of knowledge or ignorance of the various Boards of Guardians throughout Ireland on the subject of outdoor relief, and had given the matter careful consideration. Of those Boards which did not act upon the system which his hon. Friends preferred, it was discovered that some of them were ignorant, apparently, of their true position with regard to outdoor relief; and in all those cases the Inspector was desired to inform them of the true state of tho case.