HC Deb 08 August 1890 vol 348 c265

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether during the training of the 3rd battalion of the Royal Irish Fusiliers at Holywood two Catholic bandsmen were required every Sunday to play in the regimental band to and from the Protestant Episcopal Church at the very time that the Catholic service for the soldiers was taking place, and were thus prevented from being present at their own place of worship; and whether, in view of the fact that the Catholics in the battalion out-number any of the other religious denominations, and largely contribute to the profits of the canteen, which bears most of the expenses of the regimental band, it can be arranged that the Catholics of the regiment may have the band to their church on alternate Sundays?


In the battalion referred to the majority of the men are Protestant Episcopalians and Roman Catholics, who are almost equal in number, though the latter slightly preponderate. During last training two Catholic drummers played, at their own request, in the band when the Protestant Episcopalians marched to church. They had ample time to attend their own place of worship. There were difficulties in the band playing the Roman Catholics to church on alternate Sundays, one of which lies in the fact that their service begins a quarter of an hour after the Protestant service, so that the bandsmen (of whom only three are Catholics) would miss their own service. The band is maintained by the officers, not by the canteen.