§ MR. HARRIS(for Mr. FOLEY) (Galway, Connemara)
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether it is a fact that, in Ballinrobe, Castlebar, Ballina, and other Irish dispensary districts, the offices of Workhouse Medical Officer and Dispensary Medical Officer are held by different persons; whether the dispensary district of Clifden, extending sixteen miles north and south of the town of that name, and having a population of 9,593, is more extensive and more populous than any of the districts named; whether the last two occupants of the combined office of Workhouse and Dispensary Medical Officer in the Clifden District died in consequence of the pressure of overwork upon them; and, whether the Local Government Board have considered a series of Resolutions, adopted on the 17th instant by a public meeting at Clifden, setting forth the necessity, owing to the extent and population of the district, and the number of recent 95 deaths in consequence of the want of adequate medical assistance, that two Medical Officers instead of one should be appointed; and whether this course will be taken?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY (Mr. JOHN MORLEY) (Newcastle-on-Tyne)
Sir, the fact is as stated in the first paragraph of this Question. In Clifden, which is not so populous or so extensive as any of the other three districts named, and in about half the Unions in Ireland, the offices in question are held by the same person, as it is found that in places where the opportunities of private practice are few the combined salaries enable the Guardians to secure the services of persons of higher qualification than if they could only offer the salary appertaining to one post. The combined salaries in Clifden only amount to £180 a-year. The Local Government Board have no information as to the cause of death of the last two occupants of the office beyond a statement made in a Resolution passed at the meeting referred to; and having regard to the extreme poverty of the Union, and to the fact that the existing arrangement has been in force for 34 years, they do not feel they would be justified in interfering with the discretion of the Guardians and Dispensary Committee, or in compelling them to incur more expense.