HC Deb 02 March 1886 vol 302 cc1756-7

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Is it the fact that further encroachments are taking place in the Phœnix Park, Dublin, by reason of the proposed erection of barracks for married constables of the Royal Irish Constabulary; who sanctioned those buildings; what will they cost; when the Estimate will be laid upon the Table; how many trees were cut down in the park to clear a space for them; what area will the new barracks cover; from how many acres of the park will the general public now be excluded; how many acres does the park contain altogether; and, what area is occupied in any of the London parks by barracks, powder magazines, soldiers' schools, official residences, enclosed cricket grounds, and polo grounds, for the use of civil servants and officers?


The works referred to by the hon. Member were sanctioned by the Treasury, on the application of the Irish Government, the estimated cost being £3,750. A Vote of £1,400 on account was taken in the Estimates of 1885–6, and a sum of £2,400 has been inserted in the Estimates for 1886–7, which I hope will be circulated to-morrow. Seven or eight trees have been cut down in preparing the ground for the barracks. The building, with its approaches and yards, will occupy portions of an irregular angle of ground, containing 1½ acre, lying between the back of the stables of the Constabulary depôt and the North Circular Road gate. The building will occupy about two-thirds of that space. The Viceregal demesne and other in-closures occupied for Governmental purposes contain 379 acres, 0 roods, 4 perches, the zoological garden 19 acres, 1 rood, 5 perches, five cricket grounds about 15 acres—total, 413 acres, 1 rood, 9 perches. The Park contains 1,752 acres, 3 roods, 21 perches. The area occupied in the London Parks by barracks, powder magazines, and official residences, is as follows:—namely, St. James's, the Green, and Hyde Parks, and Kensington Gardens, about 4¾ acres; Victoria Park, one-third of an acre; Greenwich Park, 19 acres; Regent's Park, about three-quarters of an acre; Battersea Park, about 1½ acre; Kennington Park, about 1–16th of an acre. There are no soldiers' barracks, inclosed cricket grounds, or polo grounds.


I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, Whether, considering the fact that more than one-quarter of the Phœnix Park, Dublin, has been purloined from the public for the purpose of building official residences, and that it is now proposed to take five acres more, upon which it is proposed to erect residences for married police officers, and for this purpose is to be devoted £3,000 or £4,000 of the taxpayers' money, which would be expended in shutting out the public from one of the chief portions of the park, he will give orders that such erections shall not be proceeded with until a discussion has taken place upon it?


said, he had had no opportunity of giving attention to the question, and was not prepared to give an answer at present. His impression, however, on hearing the case, was that attention ought to be given to it. Beyond that he could not go at present; he would, however, confer with the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary upon the matter.


There has been already an enormous amount of expenditure of money upon the Royal Irish. Constabulary Force, and now it is proposed that there should be a further outlay and further taking up of ground in the Park. I will, therefore, at the first opportunity, move that the Irish Government be directed to give orders to suspend the further cutting down of trees pending the decision of the House on the subject. The Royal Irish Constabulary never wanted these residences for half-a-century before, and the Irish Members will oppose their erection now.