HC Deb 27 March 1906 vol 154 cc1058-9
MR. POWER (Waterford, E.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War when the cases of epizootic lymphangitis first appeared among the Army horses in the Waterford barracks; can he state how many cases occurred in the barracks before February 7th, 1905, when the first case among civilian horses was reported; were horses that had been stabled at the barracks allowed out to grass, and were these horses subsequently destroyed as being affected with the disease; and whether, seeing that the Chief Secretary on July 5th, 1905,† said that the disease appeared to have been introduced through the medium of Army horses, he will order a public inquiry to be held at Waterford into the matter, and give the Waterford County Council, as representing the ratepayers, an opportunity of being represented at the inquiry and offering evidence.


This disease first appeared among Army horses in Waterford barracks in October, 1903. Up to February 7th, 1905, seventeen cases occurred, twelve being troop horses and five officers' private horses. No case has † See (4) Debates, cxlviii., 1135. occurred since at Waterford. No troop horses were sent to grass, but among some officers' horses which were run at grass at Williamstown was one which had been stabled at the barracks; the disease appeared among these horses while at grass, and they were destroyed. The Chief Secretary stated on June 29th last that he did not consider a formal investigation of this matter necessary, and in this view I concur.


Seeing that the right hon. Gentleman says that the War Office is not responsible, and yet Lord Onslow on July 11th last † said the disease has been almost wholly imported into Ireland by Army horses, and that Lord Spencer had stated that a distinguished officer had warned the War Office against bringing back any horses, will he grant full compensation to the owners of horses slaughtered?


I cannot accept the responsibility. We have looked into the matter and I have announced the conclusion we have arrived at.


On the first possible occasion I will draw attention to this matter.

MR. JOYCE (Limerick)

Is this one of the blessings of the war?