HC Deb 21 April 1884 vol 287 cc134-5

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether his attention has been called to the action of the Magistrates at Athy petty sessions, county Kildare, on the 4th ultimo, when the Rev. Mathew Doyle, C.C. applied to have two out of a family of ten orphans sent to an industrial school; whether three of the ten children are already in industrial schools, and of six remaining with the widowed mother, the eldest is a cripple, and the youngest a baby, all depending on her for support; whether all the conditions required by the Act of Parliament had been fulfilled; the Rev. Mr. Doyle having sworn that the children had been found begging, had not sufficient guardianship, the mother having to toil day and night for their support; that they were largely dependent upon charity, and that sufficiently destitute already, they would be helplessly so, if the mother were visited by sickness; whether, upon examination of an information by the Rev. Mr. Doyle, the Law Officers declared the objections to sending the children to an industrial school to be groundless; whether, subsequently, the local magistrates declared the children might be sent to industrial schools, but only on condition that the payment of five shillings per week for the two children should be made by them other who had just sworn she could not afford to pay three pence; her earnings as a washerwoman being from three shillings to five shillings per week, never exceeding the latter sum; and, whether any steps will be taken to have the orphans sent to an industrial school?


From the Reports submitted to me, it appears that the magistrates, in the exercise of their discretion, refused to commit the children to an industrial school, because they did not think the circumstances to be such as would bring the case within the terms of the Act. It is true that evidence was given that the children begged from the Rev. Mr. Doyle; but he admitted they only did it once, and the Bench did not consider that they could be properly said to be, within the meaning of the Act, "found begging," or "found wandering," or "found destitute." The Law Officers gave no opinion on the subject —no information by the Rev. Mr. Doyle, or other papers in the case, having been submitted to them. On the occasion of a second application for the committal of the children being made, one of the magistrates asked the mother whether, in the event of an order being made, she would be prepared to contribute 5s. a-week for the support of her children; but it does not appear that any such declaration was made by the magistrates as is alleged in the Question. I am not aware that it is intended to take any further steps in the case.