HC Deb 25 April 1907 vol 173 c287

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the high death rate in Belfast from pulmonary consumption, and to the fact that the death rate is highest amongst mill and factory workers, the vast majority of whom are females; whether there is any female factory inspector in Belfast; and, if not, whether, in view of the number of women and young girls employed in mills and factories in Belfast, he will consider the advisability of appointing a female inspector for that city and the North of Ireland generally.


The figures given in the Report of the Registrar-General for Ireland for the year 1905 do not appear to mo to show any necessary connection between the death rate in Belfast from tubercular disease, and employment in the linen factories. I may point out, however, that the conditions obtaining in flax and linen mills have been made the subject of a special inquiry by Sir Hamilton Freer-Smith, to whose Report I have just alluded, and that, as the result, new regulations for the industry have just been established dealing with the removal of dust, humidity in the air, steam, wet, etc., which should do much to improve the health of the workers. I shall be happy to send the hon. Member a copy. With regard to the last part of the Question, one of the lady inspectors resides in Belfast for two-thirds of each year, devoting her time chiefly to inspection in that city. Others of the lady inspectors also visit Ireland occasionally.