HC Deb 02 March 1899 vol 67 cc1027-9
MR. MCDERMOTT (Kilkenny, N.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to the action of the Local Government Board in dissolving, by sealed Order, the dispensary district of Johnstown, county Kilkenny, and in amalgamating it with the districts of Urlingford and Ballen; whether he is aware that there are nearly 3,000 inhabitants in the Johnstown district, and that there are almost 60 dispensary districts in Ireland with smaller populations, and 259 with smaller areas; whether, under the proposed change, no medical officer will be resident within the existing Johnstown dispensary district, imposing on the sick poor the necessity of travelling 14 miles by road to seek relief; whether, in consideration of the welfare of the poor, it has been decided upon to establish medical clubs in the district of Johnstown, as was done before the Poor Law system was introduced there; and, whether he will consider the propriety of making no change before the district councils come into operation?


The sealed Order referred to in the first paragraph was issued with my approval. There are 2,227 inhabitants in the portion of the Johnstown district which has been added to Urlingford dispensary district. There are not more than 20 dispensary districts with a smaller population than 2,227, but I cannot ascertain at such short notice the number with smaller areas than Johnstown dispensing district. Under the arrangement rendered necessary by the alteration in the boundary of the Union, the extreme distance which any sick person might have to travel to the dispensary will not be greater than that which such persons have hitherto had to travel under existing arrangements. I have no information relative to the fourth paragraph. The changes in boundaries, which the Board were compelled to make under section 68 of the Act of last year, dame into operation for the purpose of the first election, and the consequential altera- tion in the dispensary districts cannot be postponed to a period beyond the appointed day. There is nothing, however, to prevent the Board from recasting the dispensary districts in any Unions if the alterations can be proved to be productive of inconvenience to the sick poor.