§ MR. W. JOHNSTON
On behalf of the hon. Member for North Fermanagh (Mr. RICHARD M. DANE), I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland is he aware that it is a common practice for tramps to seek shelter for the night in the union workhouses in Ireland, when on their way from town to town, upon a false plea of destitution; and that in the week ending 17th February in the present year the names of over 40 tramps were on the books of the Irvinestown Union, and for the week ending 24th February a similar number; and, whether any power rests with the workhouse officials to refuse such well-known tramps admission; if not, will the Irish Government take steps to have the law amended?
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
The fact is as mentioned in the first part of the question, though the same state of things unfortunately prevails, I understand, in England as in Ireland. The number of tramps relieved in the Irvinestown Workhouse for the weeks ended 20th and 27th February were 23 and 22, respectively. The official returns are made up at the close of each week and do not give the numbers and the dates mentioned in the question. Workhouse officers can refuse admission to any persons not considered destitute, and they have also the power to prosecute under the Vagrant Act 1847 any tramps going from union to union for for the purpose of obtaining relief. The Local Government Board have frequently drawn the attention of Boards of Guardians to the powers possessed by them in this respect.