HC Deb 08 March 1900 vol 80 cc396-8
MR. ARCHDALE (Fermanagh, N.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that though, as shown by the minutes of the Asylums Board of 11th February, 1897, the chapel in the Monaghan Lunatic Asylum was built for the use of all denominations, and even an order placed on the books that no religious emblems were to be placed on or in the building, the present committee of management have allowed various emblems to be introduced into the chapel and prohibited the Protestant chaplain entirely from holding service in the chancel; and whether he is aware that in consequence a new chapel costing over £2,000 is to be built and the rates burdened to that extent, while the Protestant inmates are in the meantime deprived of their usual religious ministrations.


Before the right hon. Gentleman answers the question, I beg to ask the following, of which I have given him private notice: Whether it was a fact that from the beginning it was well understood that the church was to be devoted to the accommodation of the Catholic patients only; was the church not built by the Board of Governors with the approval and sanction of the Board of Control to meet the requirements of Catholic worship; were the Catholic emblems, to which exception had now been taken for the first time, not visible dining the construction of the church; had not the Lord Bishop of Clogher and the Catholic members of the Asylum Committee made reasonable concessions to meet the interests of Protestant patients during the erection of the new Protestant church; and is the present movement anything more than an outburst of local bigotry to deprive the Catholic patients of the great spiritual advantage which the new church has conferred on them.


Order, order! The question cannot be allowed in that form.


The chapel in the Monaghan Lunatic Asylum was originally intended, I am informed, for the use of all denominations, but it was subsequently decided to reserve it exclusively for Roman Catholics and to build another place of worship for Protestants. Steps have been taken to proceed with the latter work, and in the meantime the arrangements for divine service for the Protestant inmates must necessarily be of a temporary nature. The medical superintendent of the asylum states that with the view of rendering the building appropriate for the Protestant service, the Roman Catholic altar is screened off during the celebration of the Protestant service, but that the Episcopalian chaplain complains that this screen is placed outside instead of inside the chancel rails. The responsibility in the matter is vested exclusively in the committee of management, and the Executive have no power to interfere. As to the supplementary question of the hon. Member for North Monaghan, he will see that I have answered the three first paragraphs; as to the fourth, I have no information; while I must respectfully decline to answer the fifth.