HC Deb 16 March 1883 vol 277 cc693-4

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If, under "The Public Health (Ireland) Act, 1878," 41 and 42 Vic. c. 52, s. 149, it is the duty of the Local Government Board, of which he is President, to make regulations for the prevention of the spread of infectious diseases, and for the speedy interment of the dead; if so, whether the Board fulfilled the requirements of the Act in the case of Bartholomew Roe, who died recently in Dublin of malignant fever, and over whose remains a wake was held for two days and two nights; whether he has inquired into the facts, and can now state how many cases of fever, and how many deaths followed; how many children have been left orphans; and, whether any steps can be taken to provide for the survivors of this sad calamity?


Sir, Section 149 of the Public Health Act gives the Local Government Board the powers mentioned only in case of the existence or apprehension of any formidable epidemic or outbreak of infectious disease. Its provisions are not applicable in a case like that under consideration. This case has been specially inquired into by a Medical Inspector of the Local Government Board, and this Report shows that the propagation of the fever appears to have been mainly caused by the concealment of the disease by the first families attacked. There is no evidence to show that any cases were attributable to the wake. Seventeen cases occurred in the court where Roe lived; there were three deaths, and 12 children had been left orphans. The Rev. Mr. Heffernan, who first brought the matter before the public, states, in a letter published on the 13th instant, that he has received sufficient contributions to provide for their immediate wants.