§ MR. COGAN (Wicklow, E.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord- 1154 Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to the manner in which Sub-section (7) of Section 9 of The Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1898, has operated in regard to the apportionment of lunatic asylum expenses against contributing county councils on the basis of a triennial average; whether he is aware that in the case of the Richmond District Lunatic Asylum during the six years ended March;31st, 1905, the county councils of Dublin, Wicklow, and Louth have been charged with £4,552, £1,214, and £2,678, respectively, more, and the Corporation of Dublin with £8,444 less than the actual cost of their patients, and that this difference of charge would be greatly increased by the transfer of lunatics from the north and south Dublin union workhouses to the Richmond Asylum, which has been so repeatedly urged upon the Board of Guardians of those unions by the Local Government Board and the inspectors of lunatics; and, if so, whether he will consider the advisability of having the Act amended at the first opportunity by restoring the system in operation prior to 1899, viz., charging at the end of every year to each county council the actual cost of the maintenance of their patients.
I am informed that the facts are correctly stated in the Question. There is admittedly some inequality in the existing system, and this results from the proviso in the subsection quoted to the effect that the expenses in a joint asylum district shall be defrayed by the several counties in proportion to the number of lunatics from each county according to the average of the three local financial years which ended next before the last three annual elections of county councils. The Richmond Asylum district comprises the city of Dublin, and the counties of Dublin, Wicklow, and Louth. In compound districts such as this, in which the number of lunatics from the city increases continually at a much greater rate than those from the contributory counties, the city does not pay in proportion to the number of its lunatics owing to its quota being calculated on the basis of three antecedent years. The remedy suggested by the hon. Member would undoubtedly remove the inequality, but I am advised that it is not clear that the plan could be successfully carried out in 1155 practice. The matter, however, deserves to be further inquired into with the object of seeing whether any, and if so what, legislation could be undertaken at a convenient opportunity.