HC Deb 21 July 1881 vol 263 c1459

asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether he can now inform the House of the result of the inquiry ordered by Sir Thomas Steele, K.C.B., Commander of the Forces in Ireland, into the conduct and management of the Royal Hibernian Military School, and more particularly with reference to the undue severities alleged to have been inflicted on the boys since the appointment of the present Commandant; whether it is proposed to make any changes in the staff of the institution; and, whether he will lay the Papers relating to the inquiry upon the Table of the House?


Yes, Sir; I have now received and considered the Report of the Governors of the Royal Hibernian School upon the result of the inquiry by the committee appointed by Sir Thomas Steele into the discipline of the school. The Governors adopt the Report of the committee, which strongly deprecated the great severity of the punishments in the school; but they, at the same time, say that the school has so materially improved in many respects under the care and in consequence of the exertions of Colonel Cotton that, while they have altered the system of punishments, notably abolishing cells and bread and water, they express their unanimous opinion, shared by the members of the original committee, that it would not be in the in of the institution to remove Colonel Cotton. I have, therefore, though I confess with some hesitation, sanctioned the continuance of Colonel Cotton's employment as commandant for the present. The adjutant is on the point of retiring, and a fresh appointment will be made shortly. I do not see any occasion to lay the Reports before Parliament; that of the committee is of great length.