§ MR. J. L. CAREW (Dublin, College Green)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to the present alarming condition of the Richmond Lunatic Asylum in Dublin; whether he is aware that, with accommodation available for only 1,000 patients, 1,714 were housed there in October last; and that, in consequence of this overcrowding, beri-beri, a loathsome disease hitherto confined to the densely and filthy quarters of Chinese and other Eastern cities, has appeared, and of 113 patients attacked last year, seven died up to December last; will he explain why, notwithstanding the repeated protests of two of the members of the Board of Control against overcrowding, no practical steps have been taken by that body to stamp out the disease; and whether, in the circumstances, the Government will see that immediate precautions are taken to prevent its spreading.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
The Irish Government has been giving close and constant attention to the accommodation at the Richmond District Asylum and the outbreak of the beri-beri there. The number of patients on the asylum register at the end of 1896 was 1,728, of whom, 29 were at Portrane. The present accommodation of the Richmond Asylum is for 1,398 patients, in addition to which provision has been made for 80 patients at Portrane, and for 40 in the residence of the resident medical superintendent (surrendered for that purpose), thus bringing up the present accommodation to 1,518. Further temporary accommodation for 220 patients is now being provided at Portrane. The number of deaths at Richmond from beri-beri during 1896 was eight, as against 123 deaths from various other causes. I may observe that the general death rates in this asylum for 1895 and 1896 were the lowest recorded since the opening of the asylum. In 1895 the percentage of deaths from all causes was only 7.1, and in 1896, 7.8, and, comparing these rates with the death rates in the principal English asylums during 1896, I find that with two exceptions the rates in the English asylums were much higher than 944 at Richmond. Every effort has been and is being made by the Board of Control to stamp out the disease known as beri-beri, and to provide adequate accommodation for the patients.
§ MR. CARSON
Is it proposed to make any permanent enlargement of the asylum? The right hon. Gentleman spoke of a "temporary arrangement."
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
I understand that a private Bill is in course of preparation or of being passed through the House for the purpose.