HC Deb 13 August 1896 vol 44 cc731-2

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland—(1) whether he is aware that the Limerick Board of Guardians elected, over four months since, a Mr. Stephens to the position of keeper over the lunatics; (2) whether all the lunatics in workhouses in Ireland are harmless; (3) if the Local Government Board has refused to sanction the appointment on the ground of inexperience; (4) whether the resident medical officer and master have stated that Mr. Stephens has given complete satisfaction during his term of probation; and (5) if the Local Government Board will sanction his appointment?


The fact is as stated in the first paragraph. The Local Government Board refused to sanction the appointment of Mr. Stephens on the ground of inexperience in the management of the insane; moreover, he was not eligible for the appointment under the terms of the advertisement issued by the Guardians, which stated that candidates must have had previous experience in the care of lunatics; and although qualified candidates presented themselves, yet the Guardians elected a person without experience. It is true that the Medical Officer stated that Mr. Stephens had given satisfaction whilst acting as attendant, but he did not mean to convey by this statement that Stephens was a suitable person for the position. The Local Government Board are not prepared to sanction this appointment. As to the second paragraph, lunatics in workhouses are, as a rule, harmless, but they are extremely unmanageable at times, and harmless lunatics are always liable to become dangerous.