HC Deb 27 June 1889 vol 337 cc878-9
MR. MAC NEILL (Donegal, S.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether it is the fact that the Catholic parochial clergy invariably minister to Catholic troops stationed in their several parishes and districts in Ireland; why does not the same rule prevail that Irish Protestant clergy should similarly minister to troops of the Protestant faith in their various districts and parishes, and why are English Army Commissioned Protestant Chaplains brought over at great expense to discharge duties which would be quite as efficiently discharged by the local clergy at a small stipend, add which duties the local clergy are ready and willing to discharge; would he have any objection to direct a Return of the number of the various stations in Ireland at which Commissioned Army Protestant Chaplains and clergymen of the Irish Protestant Church minister to troops, stating in each case the cost of providing for such ministrations; whether it is a fact that six out of the nine barracks in Dublin are ministered to by the local Protestant clergy at a less expense than the remaining three, which are ministered to by Army Commissioned Chaplains; and, will he take any steps to equalize the condition of the Catholic and Protestant clergy and to save the public money?


It is the fact that the local clergy minister to the Roman Catholic troops in Ireland at the express wish of the Episcopal Authorities there. The same rule applies as regards Protestant denominations when the number of troops are small; but where the number is large it is considered more advantageous to have a commissioned chaplain, who can give his whole time to the men and their families. There are three stations at which commissioned chaplains are serving—Dublin, Cork, and the Curragh. All the Dublin barracks, except Pigeonhouse Fort, are attended by commissioned chaplains. Having regard to all the circumstances, the existing arrangements are considered the most efficient and economical.