HC Deb 09 May 1861 vol 162 cc1825-9

Order for Second Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That the Bill be now read a second time."


rose to move that the Bill be read a second time this day six months, The object of the Bill was briefly this, to enable the Grand Jury of the county of Cork, in whom the property in the County Infirmary was not vested, and who did not subscribe a shilling towards it, to take that property, which was vested in a set of gentlemen who did own it, who did subscribe to it and pay for it, and dispose of that property by sale, and transfer it to the city of Cork, which was represented, and ably and efficiently represented, on this occasion by the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Beamish). The House would now at once perceive why he (Mr. Long-field) who represented the borough of Mallow, where the infirmary was situated, should be rather inclined to resist that trifling transfer proposed by the Bill, and which, if it were Parliamentary language, he would designate by the term of civic job—a civic job of bis hon. Friend, for the object was simply to benefit the city of Cork, which he represented, at the expense of the borough of Mallow, which he (Mr. Longfield) bad the honour to represent, and enable the Cork Grand Jury further to benefit that city—that beautiful city of Cork—by empowering them to subscribe the sum which they ought to pay to the Mallow County Infirmary, over to the City Infirmary which they are anxious to establish, and a sum of £2,000 in addition. That might be a reasonable proposition; but his hon. Friend will pardon him if he was not exactly acute enough to understand the particular benefit which was to be conferred upon the borough of Mallow by this transaction; or to understand the particular reasons why the County Grand Jury—who were bound to pay £100 a year to the Mallow County Infirmary, but have not done so for seventeen years should now, in consequence he supposed of their unwillingness to discharge the duty imposed upon them by law have powers entrusted to them for effecting a summary transfer of the property to themselves, and the county infirmary to the city of Cork. Nor can he see the reason why the surgeon of the infirmary was to be allowed £100 a year, without performing any correlative duties, excepting this, that he happened to have a vote for Mallow, which he did not give to him (Mr. Longfield). and happened to have a vote for the city of Cork, which it was just possible he might give to his hon. Friend, and also to possess considerable influence in the county.

It is, therefore, the benevolent design of my hon. Friend to allow this gentleman during the residue of his natural life, to enjoy his otium cum dignitate with a nice little salary and nothing to do, and constitute him one of that greatly aggrieved class, gentlemen superannuated in the prime of life, ready, of course, to do good to the extent of his salary, but prohibited from doing so by the Bill of my hon. Friend, which does not transfer his valuable services to the city of Cork.

Amendment proposed to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."

Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."


said, that the establishment at Mallow was utterly useless as an infirmary for the county of Cork, and in consequence the Grand Jury had, during the last sixteen years, refused to contribute anything towards it, excepting on one occasion, about ten years ago, when they gave it a small sum as a dispensary. It was most inconveniently situated, being in reality at one end of the county and much further from the centre than the city of Cork. Moreover, during the last four years the Grand Jury had come to repeated resolutions by their unanimous votes in favour of the removal of the County Infirmary to the city of Cork. There was no intention on his part, or the city of Cork, or the Grand Jury, to deprive the town of Mallow of an institution that might be useful to them as a dispensary, for in that light only had it been regarded for years past. He hoped the House would allow the Bill to be read a second time, and so enable the great county of Cork to have an infirmary which would be more efficient and useful than the present, where the patients would find an adequate medical staff to treat them, and which, although he admitted was not in the best situation, was, undoubtedly, more favourably placed than the town of Mallow.


said, that at the present moment the county of Cork had no county infirmary, simply because an old Act of Parliament directed that it should be in a place that was altogether out of the way. The result was that the Grand Jury declined, and properly so, to assist in its support; and the feeling was general that it ought to be transferred to the city of Cork.


said, the hon. Mem- ber for Cork says the Grand Jury of the county wished to remove the institution to the city of Cork. But, surely, there were gentlemen in that city wealthy enough to provide themselves with an infirmary if they wanted one, and he did not see why they should remove the one in existence at Mallow, simply because the Cork Grand Jury, the hon. Member for Cork, and the people of that city wished them to do so.


said, the real object of this Bill was not to sell the infirmary, whether it was the property of the county or of anybody else; the main object was to enable the county of Cork, speaking through their authorized organ, the Grand Jury of the county, to do that which the wisdom of the Irish Parliament enabled them to do—namely, to contribute to the funds of the County Infirmary. For sixteen years the Grand Jury had refused to contribute to the infirmary at Mallow, because they thought it was not so situated in a place where its influence was most beneficially felt by the county, as to justify them in making it a charge upon the county funds. They wanted to contribute to the formation of an infirmary in Cork. That was their real object, and they had come to an agreement with the city that it also shall contribute, and that a portion of the benefit should be given to the county and city in proportion to the amount they respectively contribute. The object of the Bill, then, was not to sell the building, but to enable the authorities of the city in contributing money for the good of that community to contribute it to an institution of which they approved, and to withdraw it from an institution of which they did not approve. The hon. Member proceeded to explain that about a century since the Government of that day proposed to establish infirmaries throughout Ireland, which generally were to be placed in county towns. In some cases, however, the county towns were either not of sufficient importance compared with others in the same county, or were not centrally situated with reference to the surrounding districts. The city of Cork was one of the latter description, being situated at the southern extremity of the county; whereas Mallow was most conveniently placed, and was, moreover, a flourishing town, and the capital of the eastern division of the county. The Legislature, therefore, enacted that the infirmary for Cork county should be placed at Mallow. With reference to the question of convenience the hon. Member said that Mallow had fully retained that advantage, inasmuch as the three great railways of the South of Ireland met within a quarter of a mile of the infirmary. The hon. Member further said that if it were indispensable that there should an infirmary in the city of Cork, it was equally desirable that that of Mallow should be retained, and that the wealth, population, and convenience of the county justified the maintenance of two such establishments. The hon. Member concluded by moving that the Bill be read a second time that day six months.


suggested, that the hon. Member for Cork should withdraw the present Bill, and introduce another by which provision should be made for transferring the institution to Cork, but leaving the building at Mallow, with the old doctor and the old matron, to be used as a dispensary, in which character it was really beneficial to a very extensive district.


said, that in Cork itself opinions were very much divided on this subject. The removal of the infirmary from Mallow to Cork would leave the country without hospital accommodation, and, as far as he could learn, the Bill was opposed to the wishes, not only of the inhabitants of Mallow, but of the majority of the inhabitants of the county, The matter required further inquiry, and he moved that the debate be adjourned.

Debate arising.

Motion made, and Question, "That the Debate be now adjourned."

Put, and negatived.

Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."

The House divided: —Ayes 50; Noes 31: Majority 19.

Main Question put, and agreed to,

Bill read 2o, and committed for Thursday next.

House adjourned at a quarter before Two o'clock.