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Lunatic Asylums (Ireland)

Volume 229: debated on Thursday 25 May 1876

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Question

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland, If it is true that the Lord Lieutenant and Privy Council of Ireland have issued an Order declaring—

"That on any ex-officio governor and director of a district lunatic asylum ceasing to hold the office by virtue of which he acts as such, he shall cease to be a governor and director, and his successor in the office aforesaid shall not be entitled to act as an ex-officio governor and director of a district lunatic asylum;"
whether said Order is intended to apply to all lunatic asylums in Ireland; and, if he would explain to the House why such Order has been issued?

Such an Order was issued by the Irish Privy Council on the 26th of January last. Technically, it applies to all lunatic asylums; practically, only to eight, for in that number only does it appear that ex-officio governors exist. These ex-officio governors consist of High Sheriffs, Members of Parliament for counties and boroughs, dignitaries of the disestablished Church, and, in some cases, the mayor of the city or borough where the lunatic asylum is situated. It appeared from inquiries made in connection with the subject that the legality of these appointments was very doubtful; and, as difficulties were likely to arise from this, the Privy Council considered it advisable, while confirming all existing appointments, to direct that no gentleman should in future hold the appointment of governor solely in virtue of the office or position which he might temporarily occupy.