§ MR. HAYDEN (Leitrim, S.)
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether information has reached him that, on the 24th of July last, a large rick of turf, the property of James Fitzpatrick, of Trillick, near Longford, was destroyed by fire; whether, on the two days preceding the fire, the police were engaged in musketry practice adjacent to where the rick of turf stood; whether, on the day the fire broke out, the Militia were similarly engaged on the ground; whether, in reply to a Memorial addressed to Dublin Castle on the subject, Sir Redvers Buller admitted that the turf had been accidentally burned at the rifle range on the day in question, and gave, as a ground for the Irish Government not giving compensation, that the fire did not take place on either of the days the Constabulary were engaged in practising; whether, from this admission, and for other reasons, there is reason to believe that the accidental fire was due to the pre- 480 sence of the Militia; and, whether, under all the circumstances, the Government will take into consideration the question of making compensation to this poor man for the loss of his winter's fuel?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR) (Manchester, E.)
The answer to the first four paragraphs is in the affirmative. As regards the latter portion of the Question, I cannot express an opinion as to the origin of the fire, and can only adhere to the reply given to the Memorial, to the effect that the Irish Government have no responsibility in the matter.
§ MR. HAYDEN
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the presence of the Militia had anything to do with the fire.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Even if it were true that the Militia caused the fire, the Irish Government have no responsibility in the matter. It is entirely a matter for the War Office.