asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If the public lunatic asylum system in Ireland is in a high state of efficiency; whether that state has been arrived at through the action of the inspectors and the department under their control; whether the cost of the department is proportionately far below the English and Scotch departments; and, why it is proposed to abolish a department?
While admitting the efficiency of the lunatic asylums system, the Government are of opinion that it is capable of undergoing changes for the better, some of which could not be carried out without the proposed change of control. I need not refer the hon. Member to the Report of the Commission, which he knows so well; but that Report is an authoritative document, and it proves that the opinion of the Government is shared by others. With regard to the relative costs of the Irish and other Departments, I am not prepared at present to enter upon any analysis of the subject; and I do think that a mere comparison of the number of persons employed in the respective Departments, and of the amount of salary paid to them, would be a sufficient basis upon which to form a sound opinion. I stated yesterday, in reply to a Question put by the hon. Member for Clonmel (Mr. A. Moore), that whenever the Bill which is already under consideration in "another place"—Lunatic Poor (Ireland) Bill—comes before this House, I will explain fully the policy of the proposed change; but I do not think I can satisfactorily do so in reply to a Question.