HC Deb 23 June 1881 vol 262 cc1100-1

asked the Secretary of State for War, If his attention has been called to a report of the proceedings of the Board of Guardians of the Mountmellick Union, published in the "Leinster Leader," of Saturday the 18th June, in which the following passage occurs with reference to the removal of Stephen Whelan, an insane soldier, from Netley, a few days ago, to the Mountmellick Poor House:— They first take this man away to fight the battles of the Empire, and then, when he is, after fighting for nothing, they send him back from rich England to poor and needy Ireland. It is a most unjust Law that gives them power to do that, and we cannot send a single Englishman back out of this Country. It is simply shameful; whether it is a fact that this man enlisted on the 25th July 1860, and has, therefore, been twenty-one years in the British Army; whether, at the time Stephen Whelan enlisted, the residence of his immediate relatives was not stated to be at Bradford, in Yorkshire; whether it was by his authority that the removal of the lunatic took place; and, if so, whether he will take into consideration the propriety of making some arrangement by which Irish soldiers, who have served in the Army for the best part of their lives, and who have, while in the Service, become incapacitated by mental or bodily disease from earning their bread, shall be maintained at the expense of the Crown instead of throwing them on the local rates; and, whether Stephen Whelan was discharged without pension; and, if so, why?


No, Sir; I am sorry to say that The Leinster Herald is not one of the Irish newspapers sent to the War Office; and, as the Guardians of the Mountmellick Union have made no representation to me, the first I heard of the case was in the hon. Member's Questions. Stephen Whelan enlisted at Mountmellick on the 25th of July, 1860, and stated that he was born at Rosenallis, near Mountmellick. No mention was made when he enlisted of his Yorkshire relations. He is not entitled to a pension, having forfeited eight years of his service on account of conviction for theft; but Her Majesty has been advised to restore these eight years, and he will then receive a pension, in which case what is necessary for his support will be credited out of it to the Union authorities.