HC Deb 26 August 1889 vol 340 cc475-6

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War if it is the case that, between the first week in July and the present date, the number of cases of enteric fever in the Dublin Barracks has increased 300 per cent; and, if so, what measures it is proposed to adopt to remove the troops from such insanitary quarters?

THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. E. STANHOPE,) Lincolnshire, Horncastle

Up to the end of June in the present year the number of cases of enteric fever, both in the Royal and in the Richmond Barracks, fell far below the number last year, and especially in the former. In July there was a fresh outbreak, I am sorry to say. My hon. and gallant Friend asks what measures it is proposed to adopt. He must surely be aware that the whole of Richmond Barracks and Royal and Palatine Squares in the Royal Barracks have been evacuated. Will the House forgive me if in the shortest form I enumerate the principal measures taken? It appeared probable that some of the cases arose, not in any barracks, but in the guardrooms at the Bank, the Castle, and Mountjoy Prison. These are not under the War Office; but measures have now been taken to remedy the serious sanitary defects which were found there. At the Royal Barracks, Mr. Field's Report was generally favourable to the sewerage system. But it has been decided to give up Royal Square as a barrack, and to utilise it for stores only. Palatine Square, where great want of ventilation existed, has been improved by demolition of part of the buildings, and by sanitary improvements over the whole. Certain improvements have also been effected in Cavalry Square, though there has been no recent case there. At Richmond Barracks the drains have been reported as somewhat old-fashioned, and, in part, defective; but it was not possible to say whether typhoid fever could be attributed to them. The works of improvement are being actively carried on, as well as the subsoil drainage which was recommended. Other improvements have taken place in Ship Street and other barracks, and the water supply in all eases has received very careful attention. The House, therefore, will see that much has been done, and although, owing to the state of the river, I despair of eradicating enteric fever altogether at present, I can assure it that I will spare no pains in taking the necessary precautions.


As the right hon. Gentleman has attributed the prevalence of fever to the state of the river, I desire to ask whether he will use his influence with the Government to obtain for the Corporation of Dublin a drainage loan?


I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that I shall be very glad, as far as lies in my power to co-operate with him in any way to produce a better state of things there.


Are not the troops at present under canvas in Phoenix Park under circumstances of great discomfort, and ought they not to be properly housed?


It is the first time I have heard that in the summer months troops have found it disagreeable to be under canvas.