HC Deb 18 June 1896 vol 41 c1313

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland—(1) with reference to the seventy-seven chronic, but not dangerous, lunatics sent from Belfast District Asylum to Belfast Union Workhouse, whether he is aware that these uncured inmates should have been transferred under the ninth Section of the 38 and 39 Vic. c. 67, whereby the Board of Guardians would have been entitled to contribution from the Governors of the asylum as to the costs of their transfer and maintenance; and that such costs have now to be paid out of the poor rates; (2) whether the Inspector of Lunatics or Board of Control had been consulted as to their transfer or discharge; (3) whether he is aware that the eleventh Section of the same Act, under which they were discharged, applies to a class of patients who having been cured and discharged are then taken to the workhouse as ordinary paupers; and (4), whether the sum of 4s. per head per week, contributed from the Consolidated Fund to the Governors of the asylum, has been lost by reason of the illegal discharge instead of the proper transfer of these inmates under the ninth Section of the Act?


It is not correct to say that the cases of these chronic and harmless lunatics should have been dealt with under the 9th Section of the Act quoted, as that Section is permissive, not obligatory. The cost of maintenance of lunatics transferred to workhouses under Section 11 is borne by the poor rates. Neither the Inspectors nor the Board of Control was consulted as to the transfer or discharge of the lunatics in question, as the Asylum Governors have full power of discharge on their own responsibility. The reply to the third paragraph is in the negative; patients who have been cured are discharged absolutely, and the 11th Section extends to all chronic harmless lunatics who may be lawfully discharged. There was nothing illegal in the transfer of the lunatics referred to in the fourth paragraph.