HC Deb 23 May 1898 vol 58 c398

On behalf of the honourable Member for South Kerry I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, of Ireland whether he can state the result of the recent sworn inquiry into the death of Joseph Griffin, who was alleged to have perished through hunger in Kerry?


The evidence taken at the inquiry conclusively proves that there is not the slightest foundation for the allegation that the death of this man was caused by want of food. His wife deposed that he had been delicate for five years, that the day before his death he had his usual dinner of tea find milk, an egg, and bread, and that he then went out fishing, and that there was plenty of bread and flour in the house at the time. He fished all night with his partners and caught 50 fish. He returned from fishing about 3 a.m. and died shortly after landing. The medical officer who examined him deposed that he died of cardiac syncope, and that there was nothing in the appearance of the body to warrant the assumption that he died of want of food. No evidence was given in support of the statement that he died of starvation. His wife denied with emphasis that such was the case. The shopkeeper of the district deposed that she had supplied meal and flour each week to the family, and that the week before Griffin's death they got half a sack of meal and a stone of flour; Griffin paying for the meal and for part of the flour at the time. Griffin possessed a cow and a calf and some fowl, and had received £6 in cash since January from the sale of hay, and from his daughter, who was in service.