HC Deb 07 May 1883 vol 279 cc42-4

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, with reference to a former Question, Whether he has received any further information tending to show that the lunatic, John Flanagan, was removed by his father from Ballyshannon Workhouse; whether it is true that a record appears on the minutes of the Board of Guardians to the effect that he had been discharged by the master, on his own application, in error, having been mistaken for a night lodger; whether the Local Government Board were aware of the fact when furnishing him with the reply he gave, and had already censured the master for his culpable negligence, by letter dated 5th January last; whether it is true that, some days prior to the murder, Hugh Flanagan was brought before the local magistrates charged with being a dangerous lunatic, and that they declined to commit him, although warned by a medical man that the case was dangerous; whether it is true that the body of the murdered man lay for several days awaiting the coroner's convenience, and that decomposition had set in before an inquest was held; whether it is a fact that, on the face of the Scotch transfer warrant, the lunatic was simply described as a pauper, his lunacy being referred to in an almost illegible endorsement in rod ink, which the master says he overlooked; and, whether, if the facts are as stated, he will condemn the conduct of all who are responsible for these painful occurrences, or supplying incorrect information in regard to them?


From the fuller information now before me it appears that John Flanagan was not removed from the workhouse by his father, as I had been led to believe; I was not so informed by the Local Government Board, but by the police, who had themselves been misled on the subject. The facts as to the man's discharge in error, and as to the censure passed on the master, are as stated. When the master found out his mistake on the day following the discharge, he at once sent to John Flanagan's father, who refused to allow his son to return to the workhouse. There was nothing in his appearance to indicate insanity. Two mouths prior to the murder, Flanagan was brought before the magistrates, who declined to commit him as a dangerous lunatic, not being satisfied that the circumstances would justify them in doing so. He was carefully examined by these magistrates, one of whom was surgeon to the County Infirmary, and he was re-examined in their presence by the doctor who had previously declared him to be insane, and the conclusion arrived at by the three gentlemen was that he was not a lunatic. The body of the murdered man lay from the 17th to the 20th awaiting an inquest, the Coroner being unable, from illness, to attend. An inquest was held as soon as possible by two magistrates. The Scotch transfer warrant was as described, and the master of the Ballyshannon Workhouse did not at first observe the words "Insane case" noted on it. I think if the hon. Member desires to make any complaint as to the notion of the Scotch authorities it should not be addressed to me. They are not under my control.