§ CAPTAIN DONELAN (Cork E.)
On behalf of the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. J. F. X. O'Brien), I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, whether it is under the Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1898, that the Local Government Board authorise a charge on the rates of Cork Union of £346 a year in payment for substitutes for dispensary doctors when on leave other than sick leave, the doctors having hitherto always paid their own substitutes. I beg also, on my own behalf, to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been directed to a resolution recently adopted by the Cork Board of Guardians, protesting against the action of the Local Government Board in seeking to compel the payment of substitutes for dispensary doctors when on ordinary leave out of the rates; and whether, in view of the fact that this rule, if insisted upon, will place a new burden upon the ratepayers, he will suggest to the Local Government Board the desirability of re-considering their decision.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
In reply to these questions, I have to say that the order for the payment of substitutes for dispensary doctors when on ordinary leave out of the rates was made, not under the Local Government Act of last year, but under the 8th and 12th Sections of the Medical Charities Act, 14 and 15 Vict., c. 68. So far as I have been able to ascertain, the practice of requiring the doctors to pay their own substitutes, which appears to exist in the Cork Union, is not the general practice in Ireland. If, however, it can be shown that it is the established practice in the Cork Union, and understood as such by the gentlemen 86 appointed dispensary doctors in that Union, the Local Government Board are quite ready to consider whether, consistently with the terms of the new Dispensary Order, to which they attach great importance, some arrangement cannot be made to meet the case, whether by rearrangement of duties or otherwise.
§ CAPT. DONELAN
Do I understand the right hon. Gentleman to say the Local Government Board have issued no such orders as are mentioned in the question?