HC Deb 30 April 1885 vol 297 cc1107-8

asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether he is aware that the Catholic clergy of Downpatrick strongly object to the arrangement by which one hundred and ninety men, recruits of the 5th battalion Royal Irish Rifles, now billeted upon the licensed vintners of the town, are lodged in a number of houses, some of them not certified lodging houses, and as to the sufficiency of the sleeping accommodation of which there is considerable doubt; whether there is a number of unoccupied houses in the town, one of them large enough to accommodate eighty men; whether the Government lately paid £1,000 for the tenant right of a piece of land adjacent to the town, to be occupied by the whole battalion when it assembles; and, whether for economy, and for other reasons, the Government, instead of continuing to pay 4d. a-night for each man, will make use for their accommodation of the ground it has bought, or of the unoccupied houses?


I have made inquiries of the General Officer Commanding at Belfast, with the following result:—No complaints have been made by the Catholic clergy. The billeting arrangements are satisfactory. There is not sufficient accommodation in unoccupied houses in Downpatrick for 190 men, nor is there any single unoccupied house which would accommodate 80 men. There is a camping ground at Downpatrick, and after to-day it will be used. It is not customary to encamp troops at an earlier date than the 1st of May.