HC Deb 09 April 1886 vol 304 cc1169-70

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If he is aware of the condition of the Donegal Workhouse for the past three years through the action of the Protestant majority of the Board of Guardians of that institution: whether these Guardians, under the Chairmanship of the Orange Grand Master for county Donegal, have systematically excluded Catholics from every official position in the house; whether, when on two occasions a vacancy for schoolmistress arose, they at each time set aside the more eligible Catholic candidate and appointed a Protestant; whether they even refused several appplications for a Catechist to teach their prayers and catechism to the Catholic children; whether this intolerance is practised in a house where ninety per cent. of the inmates and nearly all the children are Catholics; whether the Chief Secretary in the late Liberal Government and the Local Government Board disapproved of this system of workhouse administration; whether the parish priest, the Very Rev. Hugh McFadden, resigned the chaplaincy on account of the persistent refusal of the Protestant majority of the Board to grant their religious rights to the Catholic children; whether, in consequence, the workhouse has been without a Catholic Chaplain for the past three years, ninety per cent. of the inmates without Divine Service in the house on Sundays and holydays, and without the oppor- tunity of practising their religious duties; and, whether the Government will supply a remedy?


The facts of this case have frequently been brought before Parliament, and I am sorry to say that I find the matter remains still in its former state. The action of the Guardians in refusing to appoint Catholic teachers for the children is, of course, to be regretted, and the Local Government Board frequently complained of the fact; but the responsibility lies with the Guardians, and the Local Government Board have no power to cancel their appointments, or to appoint officers over their heads. The Catholic inmates attend Mass at the parish church. The sick are attended by the parish priest.

Mr. T. M. HEALY (Londonderry, S.)

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether any instance has come within his knowledge where a Catholic Board of Guardians refused to appoint a Protestant teacher or a Protestant chaplain?


No, Sir; I know of no such case.