HC Deb 11 May 1893 vol 12 cc652-3
DR. KENNY (Dublin, College Green)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that the Boards of Richmond District Lunatic Asylum, Dublin, and of the Cork District Lunatic Asylum, have passed resolutions condemning the new Rule of the Lunacy Board of Dublin Castle, which provides for the abolition of the office of visiting physician or surgeon to district lunatic asylums in Ireland; whether any remonstrances against this Rule have been made to him by the general public or the medical profession on the grounds that it cuts off the inmates from all independent connection with the outside world; and whether he will have said Rule re-considered with a view to its abolition?


I find that the new Rule referred to was issued in December, 1891, after careful consideration, by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Manchester (Mr. Balfour), and as a result of a specific recommendation of the Committee of which Sir Arthur Mitchell, of the Scotch Lunacy Department, was Chairman, appointed to inquire into the administration of the Lunacy Laws in Ireland. It is true that a few Asylum Boards (the Cork Board, but not the Richmond Board being among the number) passed resolutions in favour of the retention of the office of consulting or visiting physician; but the great majority of the Boards either expressed warm approval of the new Rule or accepted it without comment. I might also mention that some of the principal medical authorities on mental diseases and lunacy administration, at their meeting in London in May, 1892, expressed the opinion that the change would be found to act with decided advantage to the lunacy work generally in Ireland, as has been the case in other countries where the corresponding office has been abolished. I do not consider that any sufficient grounds have yet been shown for a reversion of the old system in this respect.


Was this resolution passed in consequence of the subsequent remodelling of the Board and of its being packed by Nationalists?


Not at all.