HC Deb 14 July 1904 vol 138 cc30-1
MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)

To ask the Secretary of State for War whether the Government provide vestments or robes for chaplains of all the denominations officiating in Dublin at the Royal Hospital, Royal Hibernian School, Mount-joy Prison, Kilmainhann Prison, and to the Protestant and Presbyterian chaplains at Arbor Hill Military Prison; whether the vestments in use by the Catholic priest in Arbor Hill Prison have been in use for over fifty years, and ware condemned by the Board of Inspection two years ago; and, if so, when will the Catholic chaplains be placed on the same footing as the chaplains of other denominations as to the supply of necessaries for conducting religious worship, seeing that the expense involved would not be much more than £10.

(Answered by Mr. Secre'ary Arnold-Forster.) Under existing regulations vestments are only supplied to Protestant commissioned chaplains in the shape of surplices; they are not supplied to Roman Catholic priests, as owing to the religious consecration connected with them, they cannot be treated as Government stores; but in all the cases mentioned in the Question the necessary Roman Catholic garments are already in existence. Under no circumstances would vestments of any description be now supplied to a clergyman other than a commissioned chaplain. The vestments in Arbor Hill Military Prison have been there for over fifty years, and have been condemned by the Board of Inspection. There is no record to show from what source they were originally provided. I am, however, making further inquiries into this matter.