§ MR. SLOAN (Belfast, S.)
To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland if he is aware that the tender form for the clothing contract in Belfast Lunatic Asylum is so worded that the supplying of sixteen articles of Irish manufacture is confined to one mill in county Fermanagh, and that intended suppliers are compelled to contract for the goods manufactured by the mill referred to and at whatever price they choose to quote them; and whether, seeing that this system gives an undue preference, to the exclusion of county Antrim and other woollen manufacturers, what stops he will take to have the contract opened to competition.
(Answered by Mr. Bryce.) The decision of all questions relating to tenders and contracts is vested in the committee of management of the asylum, and there is no power to interfere with their discretion in the matter. It has, however, been ascertained from the resident medical superintendent that it is open to any manufacturer to compete for the supply of clothing materials and to submit samples for selection by the committee of management, and the committee, in the exercise of their right, select standard samples for inclusion in 525 the form upon which intending contractors send in their tenders. For the present year samples from twenty-eight well-known manufacturing firms have been selected, and these include a firm in county Fermanagh and six in Belfast and county Antrim. The county Fermanagh firm referred to manufactures goods specially suitable for use in asylums.