HC Deb 17 July 1913 vol 55 cc1410-1

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland if his attention has been directed to the authorised statement made by the Countess of Aberdeen at the meeting of the managing committee of the Peamount Sanatorium, on the 27th June, that the ideal senior medical superintendent a Peamount Sanatorium should be an Irishman and a Catholic; if his attention has been directed to the statement of the chairman of the South Tipperary County Council that the Women's National Health Association had decided that no candidates for the post would be considered except they were Irishmen and Roman Catholics; and if he will take steps to prevent the Peamount Sanatorium being conducted on sectarian lines?


My attention has been called to the speech and statement referred to. I am quite sure that this institution will not be conducted on sectarian lines, and that all denominations will receive equal treatment. Chaplains of the three principal denominations in Ireland have been appointed and a Protestant as well as a Catholic chapel has been erected in the premises. When a managing committee of an institution like Peamount are considering the appointment of a resident medical superintendent it is not unreasonable to take into consideration the religious belief of the great majority of the patients.


asked the Chief Secretary if the committee of management of the Peamount Sanatorium, by a majority consisting of representatives of county councils, appointed Dr. McGrath to the position of medical superintendent, subject to the approval of the Local Government Board; if the Local Government Board withheld their approval; and upon whose representations and upon what grounds was the appointment overruled?


The approval of the appointment of resident medical superintendent of the Peamount Sanatorium by the Local Government Board is not necessary; but, unless the Board is satisfied that the person so appointed is in every respect suitable, it would be the duty of the Board to withhold its sanction to the admission of patients to the sanatorium. Dr. McGrath was selected for the post of resident medical superintendent by a majority of the managing committee of the institution, which included certain representatives of county councils which had taken beds in the sanatorium, as well as members of the Women's National Health Association. It was pointed out, however, that Dr. McGrath, while possessing the requisite medical qualifications, had not had the experience in the management of a sanatorium, and the Local Government Board have therefore intimated to the Women's National Health Association that, unless the Board were satisfied that the resident medical superintendent was a suitable person in every respect, the Board would be obliged to consider the propriety of withholding their approval to further admissions to the institution.


Is it not the fact that Dr. McGrath possessed the necessary qualifications to entitle him to be appointed to this position; and if that is so, how is it that his appointment cannot be sanctioned after he was elected by a large majority?


It is quite true that Dr. McGrath possesses the necessary medical qualifications, but one of the conditions of the appointment was that the person to be appointed head of the institution should have some prior experience of the management of sanatorium institutions. Inasmuch as he had not, there is where the difficulty has arisen. It is not simply a question of medical qualifications.