HC Deb 25 March 1889 vol 334 cc729-30
MR. MACARTNEY (Antrim, S.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if he is aware that at the last meeting of the Synod of the Church of Ireland a petition was adopted praying Parliament to regulate the traffic in ether in Ireland; whether there is reason to believe that ether is used extensively as an intoxicant in certain portions of the counties of Londonderry and Tyrone; whether attention has been drawn to this by coroners, medical officers, the police, and the officials of county lunatic asylums in Ireland; and if he will consider whether anything can be done to stop this great and increasing evil?


The petition referred to appears to have been adopted as stated. The constabulary authorities report, as regards parts of Londonderry, that it is the case that ether is constantly used as an intoxicant, and the resident physician of the asylum reports that insanity in his district is produced in many instances by an indulgence in this pernicious habit, combined with other causes. The constabulary report, with respect to county Tyrone, that the habit of ether drinking exists in two localities, but in a limited degree. The resident physician of the asylum states that he cannot refer to any particular cases where insanity has been attributable to the habit in his district, but that such has been the case is the general opinion there.