§ MR. MACARTNEY (Antrim, S.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to the evidence of Ellen M'Keown, at the inquest touching the death of her daughter Mary M'Keown, held before Dr. Thomas J. M'Grath, Coroner, to the effect that—Before the clergy condemned ether drinking, the deceased would take a teaspoonful of ether occasionally. I take ether myself, and the children buy a naggin or half-a-pint of it for me when they are in the market,and to the following Report of the summing up of the Coroner, published in the Tyrone Constitution, of 1st August—The Coroner, in summing up the evidence, said, ether drinking has obtained a terrible hold on the people of the locality, and is procurable, as appears from the evidence of the mother of the deceased, at any public house within a radius of 10 miles. During the progress of the case, the witness seemed to be greatly under the influence of ether, and I hope that every exertion will be made to assist the Rev. Mr. M'Namee to put a stop to ether drinking;and whether he will give instructions to the constabulary to collect evidence as to the traffic in ether in the County of Tyrone?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I am informed that at the inquest mentioned the witnesses and Coroner expressed themselves in the manner indicated in the question with regard to the practice of ether drinking. The Constabulary 502 Authorities are obtaining details as to the traffic in ether throughout the county.
§ SIR W. LAWSON (Cumberland, Cockermouth)
Has the right hon. Gentleman any information in his possession as to the purchase of whisky?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I believe, according to my present information, that this evil is confined to a small district, but in that district I believe it to be very serious.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
Is the chemical head of the Excise Department aware of the evidence given before a Select Committee of this House as to the strength of pure alcohol?