HC Deb 04 March 1886 vol 302 cc1907-8

asked the Secretary to the Treasury, Whether, as it is admitted that nearly one-fourth of the area of the Phoenix Park, Dublin, has been withdrawn from public use and is enclosed for official purposes, he will suspend further expenditure on the proposed barracks for married policemen now about to be erected therein, pending the sanction of this House, and give orders that the hewing down of trees to make room for it be meantime stopped; also, can he give the name of the official responsible for the proposed encroachment?


also asked the hon. Gentleman, whether the entire acreage of the following London parks: —St. James's, Green Park, Hyde Park, and Kensington Gardens, Victoria, Regent's, Battersea, and Greenwich Parks —was only slightly in excess of that of the Phoenix Park; and, whether, in his opinion, considering the vast difference in the population of the two cities, an area of 1,339 acres, available for all purposes in the Phœnix Park, did not afford ample scope for the enjoyment of those who neither cared to take part in, or look on at games of polo and cricket?


The Viceregal demesne and other enclosures in the Phoenix Park occupied for public purposes, and containing in all 379 acres, have been enclosed since the Park was purchased by the Crown in the middle of the 17th century, and, though within the Park boundary, there are no records showing that the public had access to them at any time. It is, therefore, scarcely correct to say that they have been withdrawn from public use. The other enclosures, including the 19 acres of the Zoological Gardens, to which the public are admitted on payment, cover in all 34 acres. The proposed married constables' quarters will cover only an acre and a-half, thus leaving more than 1,330 acres open to the public. No more trees will require to be felled. As regards the suspension of building operations, I have to state that a contract has been entered into for building the barracks, and the preparation of the foundations has been proceeded with. The necessity for the barracks was urged by the Constabulary Department and admitted by the Irish Government; and as there was no other site available, the Treasury, on the recommendation of the Board of Works, agreed to the appropriation of this space of an acre and a-half for the purpose. In reply to the Question of the hon. and gallant Member for East Antrim, of which he has given me private Notice, I have to state that the total acreage of the London Parks he mentions is 1,702 acres, the Phoenix Park containing altogether 1,752 acres, of which, as I have said, more than 1,330 acres are open to the public. The second part of the hon. and gallant Member's Question is rather matter of argument.


Will the hon. Gentleman state whether, before proceeding with the work, he will await the opportunity being given for discussing the question, and affording the House an opportunity of expressing an opinion on it?


That is a very proper Question, and I shall make inquiry; and if no serious public injury is done, the work will be suspended until the Vote for the purpose comes before the House.