HC Deb 20 July 1897 vol 51 cc569-71
MR. D. CRILLY (Mayo, N.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1) whether he is aware that the Belmullet Board of Guardians, in their efforts to cope with the outbreak of fever in the union under their control, have had, with the sanction of the Local Government Board, to engage an extra doctor, eight trained nurses, and three local nurses; (2) will he explain on what grounds the Local Government Board inspectors, specially sent down front Dublin to investigate the nature and extent of the fever outbreak in the Belmullet Union, have called on the local Guardians to engage yet another doctor and to provide a further shed for nursing purposes on the island of Inniskea; (3) whether this additional demand has been complied with; and (4) what is the nature of the latest reports which he has had to hand of the fever epidemic in the Belmullet Union?


The Guardians, acting upon the advice of their Medical Officer and of the Local Government Inspectors, have engaged the services of an additional medical practioner for the special purpose of attending the fever patients on the island. Four trained and two local nurses are also employed attending these cases. With regard to the second paragraph, it appears that Dr. Lavan, the Medical Officer of the Workhouse Fever Hospital and of the Binghamstown Dispensary District, was summoned to attend the Assizes at Castlebar. The Guardians were bound by the regulations of the Local Government Board to appoint a substitute during Dr. Lavan's absence, and this they have done. The additional shed was required to enable the convalescent fever patients to be separated from the sick; but this proposal of the Board has not been complied with by the Guardians. There are now 18 cases of fever and five cases under observation on the island. Seven of these patients have been removed from their homes to the temporary hospital on the island. No deaths have occurred from fever since the nurses took charge. The latest report as to the condition of the two sick nurses and two other cases of fever in the Workhouse Fever Hospital at Belmullet is favourable.


I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if he has now sufficient official information in his possession, as Chairman of the Local Government Board of Ireland, to say what will be the extra cost to the Belmullet Board of Guardians as a consequence of the outbreak of fever in the Belmullet Union; whether he can state exactly how much in the pound the ratepayers of the union are called upon at present to pay in the shape of county cess and poor rates combined, and whether he can say if the Local Government Board officials have formed any estimate as to the rate in the pound that must be struck at the end of the financial year in September?


The cost of the fever outbreak, to the beginning of last week, amounted to £156. This sum included all additional expenditure such as the cost of fitting up sheds, salaries and travelling expenses of doctor and nurses, and cost of relief, etc. The average poor rate over the entire union amounted to 3s. 11d. in the pound last year. I am making inquiry as to the incidence of the county cess. The Local Government Board are not yet in a position to form at, estimate of next year's rate.


said that in connection with the question he wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it was true that Mr. James Mills, the chairman, and three other members of the Belmullet Board of Guardians, had already resigned their membership of the Board, and that a special meeting of the Board had been called to accept the resignation of the remaining Guardians, so that the responsibility for the whole affairs of the Belmullet Union would be cast on the Local Government Board, and in that case whether the right hon. Gentleman would say whether he was taking any steps—


Order, order! That does not arise out of the right hon. Gentleman's answer. The hon. Member had better put his Question down for another day.