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Distress In Mayo

Volume 48: debated on Friday 5 July 1839

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, not seeing the noble Lord the Secretary for Ireland in his place, begged to ask the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer a question on a subject of considerable importance. It had reference to the distress at present existing in the county Mayo. He wished to know whether Government had it in contemplation to do anything, or had done anything to put an end to the existing distress in the county Mayo, described in a letter, which he held in his hand, from a highly respectable Catholic clergyman of Newport in that county?

wished that the hon. and gallant Member had put the Government in possession of the letter he referred to beforehand, in order that his noble Friend might have been prepared to answer his question. He could not help observing to the hon. and gallant Gentleman, that the less there was of discussion about such cases in such a manner in that House the better for all parties. He doubted whether the course taken by the hon. and gallant Member might not have a tendency rather to increase than to diminish the distress he alluded to.

would be quite ready to take any course pointed out to him as likely to put an end to the dreadful distress he referred to. At the same time he scarcely thought he was open to the lecture he had received from the right hon. Gentleman. In a case of such crying distress he could not let a day pass without endeavouring to ascertain the intentions of Government. It was actually stated that in the town and neighbourhood of Newport, to which the letter he had read particularly referred, hundreds of persons were endeavouring to live on one meal a-day, composed of "lumpers," the worst kind of potatoes, aided by wild spinach. Surely such a state of things as was confessedly existing in this county called for the immediate intervention of Government.

protested against the assumption by the right hon. Gentleman that any discussion either in or out of that House could increase the misery now existing on the western coast of Ireland, particularly in the County Kerry and County Mayo. The second crop of potatoes had failed, and it was of the utmost importance that something should be immediately done to alleviate the misery produced by this and other causes.

could also speak to the misery existing on the south-western coast of Ireland, in Cork and Kerry particularly. He had received four letters from the neighbourhood of Bandon, which stated that in a district, where the population was 7,000, there were 3,000 persons bordering on starvation, and 1,000 in a state of destitution. A very small extent of relief on the part of the Government would save these unfortunate people from perishing.