§ LORD ASHBOURNE
I beg to ask whether there are now in the Richmond Lunatic Asylum, Dublin, nearly 400 inmates in excess of the nominal limits of legitimate accommodation; whether it has been arranged to build a new asylum at Portrame, which will accommodate about half the inmates now at Richmond; if it is under consideration to provide for the residue of the inmates, either by altering and re-constructing 528 the existing asylum, or seeking a new site; what has been the medical history of the existing asylum; is the soil in a healthy state; are the grounds sufficient for the needs of an asylum; and what would be the estimated cost of altering or re-constructing the existing asylum, so as to satisfy modern requirements?
§ LORD RIBBLESDALE
It is, substantially, as the noble Lord states in his first question. The number of patients at present resident in Richmond Asylum is 1486. There is provision in the permanent buildings for about 1100. Arrangements have been made to provide commodious and suitable temporary buildings for the residue. Portions of these buildings have been completed, and are in occupation, and the remaining portions will be handed over immediately. It has been decided to build a new asylum at Portrane for at least 1,000 patients. This will provide accommodation for about half the insane of the district. It has been decided to re-model, improve, and enlarge the existing buildings at Richmond so as to accommodate the residue of the insane population. Owing to overcrowding, the medical history of the existing asylum has not been favourable. It has been unfavourably reported four times, in 1887, 1888, 1890, and 1891. There is no reason, however, to suppose that the soil is in an unhealthy state, except to a very limited extent in the immediate vicinity of old sewers, and this it is proposed to remedy by execution of suitable, works. The grounds are not at present sufficient in extent for the needs of the asylum, but it is contemplated to increase the area by the purchase of additional land. The estimated cost of altering and re-modelling the existing asylum, so as to satisfy modern requirements, is about £60,000.
§ THE EARL OF ERNE
said, it was a matter of notoriety that the asylum was built on an extremely unhealthy site, which was saturated with sewage, and he would put it to the Government whether it would not be better and cheaper in the long run to abandon the site altogether, and to build a new asylum on a more healthy site.
§ House adjourned at Fifteen Minutes to Five o'clock.