HC Deb 26 March 1889 vol 334 cc843-5

asked the Secretary of State for War if it was true that an application having been made to the War Office by the Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland, asking that a member of and from the College might be appointed upon the proposed Commission of Inquiry into the status and emoluments of Medical Officers in Her Majesty's Army, whether the Irish College has been refused on the ground that the English Colleges should represent the entire medical interest?

DR. KENNY (Cork, S.)

also asked whether attention had been directed to a statement contained in a Circular, dated 16th March instant, issued by the Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland, relative to the appointments of the Commission of Inquiry as to the status and emoluments of Army Medical Officers, to the effect that the "President and Council of that body feel that a slur has been cast on the College by his refusal to allow it the same representation on the Commission which has been conceded unasked to the Royal College of Surgeons and Physicians of England;" whether he was aware of the intense feeling of indignation which exists in medical centres in Ireland on account of his refusal to grant the representation sought; and whether he would explain on what principle he bases his refusal to grant to the Irish medical bodies representation similar to that conceded to those in England, in whose hands the Irish institutions do not consider their interests can be safely entrusted?


No, Sir; I have not seen the circular referred to, and am ignorant of its contents. I have not heard that the action taken in this matter has given rise to the feeling indicated by the hon. Member. I should much regret it if it is so. The reason for limiting the representation to the English Colleges is that it would be impossible to have representatives from all the colleges from which candidates come. It was, therefore, limited to those on the spot. I cannot myself see how the interests of a candidate from the Irish College in respect of his pay and status in the Army can differ from those of candidates from the English or other colleges; but if the hon. Member will point out to me in what the difference consists I will consider the point.

MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)

Has the hon. Gentleman any objection to state whether the feeling mentioned in the question of the hon. Member for South Cork (Dr. Kenny) does exist; and whether the Government are prepared to reconsider the question owing to the natural resentment felt by the Irish Colleges at being excluded? Why not increase the number of Commissioners from eight to nine?


There is already upon the Commission a graduate of one of the Irish Colleges who holds an Irish degree. The desire was to secure a compact Commission. My right hon. Friend the Secretary for War does not feel that he can take any further step unless it can be shown that the interests of Irish candidates differ from those of other candidates. If the right hon. Gentleman will confer with me privately, I will see whether the constitution of the Commission is not such as to secure everything he desires.


If the only desire was to have a compact Commission, why was direct application made to two English Colleges to send representatives, while no such application was made to the Irish Colleges?


It was because the English Colleges were on the spot.