CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. - MENTAL HOSPITALS.

To ask the Minister for Local Government what legislation the Government propose to introduce to increase the capitation grant to Mental Hospitals; whether he is aware that during the British regime strong representations were made by conferences of the Governors of these institutions to secure increases in the grants which were fixed at a time when the cost of upkeep was considerably lower, and, even then, the grants were entirely inadequate; whether he is aware that most of the institutions referred to are at present in a serious financial position, and whether the Government propose immediately to do something to relieve the position of these very necessary and humane institutions?

The rate of the capitation grant to Mental Hospitals is relevant to a future revised basis of allocation of grants in aid of Local Taxation which will become necessary by reason of reforms in local administration, and the position of the Mental Hospitals will receive careful consideration.

I am informed that representations were frequently made to the British Authorities urging the inadequacy of the capitation grant. The financial position of some of the mental hospitals is undoubtedly serious. This arises mainly from non-payment of rates, a cause which, it is hoped, will shortly be removed by the steps to be taken against the defaulting ratepayers.