HC Deb 24 May 1906 vol 157 cc1435-6
MR. COGAN (Wicklow, E.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that the Board of Control prior to the year £9,000 had plans and specifications prepared involving an expenditure of about £9,000 for the alteration of certain buildings in the Richmond District Lunatic Asylum, to provide accommodation for private patients whose friends wished to have treated in that institution, and that the Joint Committee of Management on coming into office under The Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1898, continued the operations begun by the Board and the necessary alterations made; that under the powers given to them by the above-named Act the Joint Committee drew up regulations for the reception and management of private patients and submitted them to the Lord-Lieutenant for his sanction, and that His Excellency withheld his sanction thereby refusing to allow the Joint Committee to use the buildings; and will he say whether such refusal was based on the plea that there are a number of harmless pauper lunatics in workhouses in the district; and whether, pending the publication and consideration of the Report of the Poor Law Commission, the Lord-Lieutenant will allow these buildings to be used having regard to the sum of public money spent upon them.


I am informed that the plans and specifications referred to were prepared in 1900, not by the Board of Control, but by the Joint Committee of Management of the Richmond Asylum. The proposed works were for the purpose of providing further accommodation for the lunatic poor, and not for private patients, and Government approval was given to the scheme as for the first-named purpose. Upon the completion of the works the Committee drew up regulations for the reception and treatment of private patients in the new portion of the asylum. The Lord-Lieutenant's sanction was withheld upon the ground that it would be indefensible to permit asylum space to be appropriated for the benefit of the wealthier class of insane whoso relatives could pay for their maintenance in private asylums, while there were such large numbers of lunatic poor in workhouses of the district who ought to be provided for in asylums. I am informed that there are at present about 600 persons of unsound mind in workhouses in the Richmond Asylum District who stand urgently in need of asylum treatment. The reply to the concluding inquiry is in the negative. The Report of the Trish Poor Law Reform Commission may be expected shortly, but I am not aware that it will have any direct bearing on the Question.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are other institutions that can be utilised for the purpose of housing harmless lunatics?


The hon. Member may safely assume that the action taken by the Lord-Lieutenant is in the interest of these poor people.