HL Deb 10 March 1865 vol 177 cc1462-3

said, he wished to put a Question to his noble Friend the Secretary for War, with reference to a rumour which prevailed that it was proposed by the Government to sell some of the smaller barracks in different parts of Ireland. He had no objection to a measure of that kind being carried out within reasonable limits and with discretion. There were in Ireland some barracks which it would no doubt be good economy to dispense with; but there were others with respect to which he did not think it desirable that that course should be taken. Among the latter he would instance the barracks in the town of Galway, which he trusted would not be abandoned as a military station. He thought he might add that it would be well, whenever opportunity presented itself, that the troops should be distributed to some extent throughout Ireland, and not be kept always at the Curragh. But the Question he rose to ask his noble Friend was, Whether he would lay on the table a list of the barracks which it was intended to abolish?


replied that it had been in contemplation to do away with some of the barracks in Ireland for many years. Indeed, he believed the late Duke of Wellington had under his notice a plan for the purpose, and in 1860 it was proposed that thirty-seven barracks should be disposed of. The list, however, had since been carefully gone through and revised, and the Government had it now in contemplation, through the agency of the Landed Estates Court, to sell nineteen barracks in Ireland. He held the list of those barracks in his hand, and would read it to their Lordships, but that he did not feel quite sure that he could pronounce some of the names which it contained. He would, however, lay it on the table if his noble Friend desired he should do so. He was happy to assure his noble Friend that it did not include the barracks in Galway.


hoped the War Office would not listen to the advice of the noble Marquess with regard to the dispersion of troops throughout the country, for nothing would, he believed, tend more to demoralize the army in Ireland than cutting it down into small detachments, and scattering them in all directions. They had now got to a better state of things both in Ireland and England, and he hoped his noble Friend would not listen to any suggestion to revert to the old system.


said, he agreed as to the impolicy of separating the regiments into small detachments, and it was on that account that he concurred in the expediency of doing away with some of the small barracks.


also quite concurred with the noble Earl (the Earl of Dalhousie) in deeming it essential to the efficiency of the army that the various battalions should be kept together, and in that respect he could assure him the Government did not intend to make any charge.


hoped the Government would not dispose of such of these barracks as did not cost much to keep up, and sell, as would probably happen, for a mere song. The artillery barracks at Christchurch, which could not have been built for less than £15,000 or £20.000, were once very nearly being sold for £1,700. It was not for him as a civilian to criticize the new arrangements of the army, but he had heard many complaints that the formation of large permanent camps had withdrawn from different counties regiments which might have been maintained there in good discipline during the winter months, and the presence of which was very welcome to the districts in which they were quartered. More than that, however great the benefits of the new scheme might be, it could not be denied that it deprived the officers of the line of the advantages of society which they used to enjoy when they were quartered in towns in various parts of the country.

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