HC Deb 05 June 1894 vol 25 cc424-5

On behalf of the hon. Member for North Louth, I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury if his attention has been called to the published letter of the Hon. Sec. of the Dublin Workmen's Cricket League as to the allegation that the Board of Works have prepared in the Phoenix Park a cricket ground for general use, on which at least four matches can be played, in which he asserts that its state is such that not even one match can be played on it; is it the case that cattle can graze over this ground, and that if a ball goes over into the railed-in ground of the Garrison Club it is a "trespass" to follow it; will the Government consider the advisability of requiring rich clubs like the Phoenix Club to rent ground for themselves and leaving the park to the clubs of the working classes who cannot afford to hire private grounds; whether the Phoenix Club are now prosecuting, with the assent and assistance of the Government, members of the Working Men's Club for playing on their crease in the park; are the Government determined to sustain this prosecution; and, if so, will the Board of Works provide adequate accommodation in the park for the general body of cricketers; is he aware that the Constabulary Club is now dead and their ground is in disuse and disrepair; and what use will be made of this plot?


I am informed, as regards the area of ground intended for the general use of persons not belonging to cricket clubs in the Phœnix Park, that nearly all the eastern portion can now be, and is frequently, used by six or more sets of players. Though unrolled, the ground is sufficiently level, and the sward good. The western portion having been cleared and levelled within the last six months, the sward has not got into a sufficiently good state, but as time goes on should be quite satisfactory. There will then be additional room for seven or eight more matches on this portion. Cattle can no doubt graze over this as on other unfenced portions of the park, but as the park is so extensive the inconvenience could scarcely be serious. There is no reason to think that any case of trespass would arise under the circumstances stated. The cricket clubs have spent a good deal of money in enclosing, levelling, and otherwise adapting the grounds for cricket, besides erecting pavilions for the members. To deprive them now of these grounds would, I think, in view of the vast extent of the park, require grave consideration. One of the clubs to which grounds were assigned was the Working Men's Club. The members of the Phoenix Cricket Club have not been prosecuting members of the Working Men's Club, but trespassers committing wilful mischief who, on being challenged by the police, all gave false names and addresses, as stated by the Magistrate at the trial. The Constabulary Cricket Ground has not been much used by that body, and the question of what should be done with it is now before the Board of Works.