HL Deb 07 March 1872 vol 209 cc1519-21

, in moving an Address for Return of—

  1. (1.) The establishments of the regiments of Irish Militia:
  2. (2.) Numbers present at the last training of each regiment:
  3. (3.) Numbers on the roll of each regiment on the 1st March 1872:
  4. (4.) Number in each regiment enrolled in the Militia Reserve on the 1st March 1872,
said, that as the Irish Militia had not been called out during a period of six years, and were called out last year, he thought the Returns asked for would supply very desirable information.


said, that last year, when the Militia were called out for the first time, it was found very advantageous to place them in permanent or temporary barracks, instead of billeting them out; but in order to make room for them the regular troops were, in many cases, placed in tents. He desired, therefore, to urge on the Government the further use of Irish workhouses for the accommodation of the Militia when out for training. The billeting system was attended with much inconvenience, both to the men and the inhabitants, and therefore it was desirable that whenever it was possible there should be barrack accommodation for soldiers and militiamen who had to be lodged. Last year some of the workhouses had been used, and the experiment might, with advantage, be carried still further.


said, there was no objection to the Returns moved for by the noble Earl (the Earl of Limerick). He was glad to be able to take this opportunity of saying that the calling out of the Irish Militia last year had been attended with very satisfactory results. Recruiting had gone on to the fullest extent expected, and there was reason to believe that next year the force would be brought up to the full establishment strength. In the next place, the Inspector General of Militia in Ireland reported that the officers and men had shown the greatest possible zeal in learning their duties, though they had come together under the great disadvantages arising from a great number of troops having to form new battalions. The Inspector General further stated that there had been no disturbance of any serious character between the people and the Militia, and that no case of Fenianism or other disloyalty had been established against any man of the force. He was entitled to say, therefore, that the results of calling out the Irish Militia had been satisfactory. As regarded what had been said about billeting, the evils of that system had been fully recognized. In Ireland those evils were remedied to some extent last year by, as the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Longford) had said, some inconvenience to the Army; but that was an inconvenience which to he was sure the officers and men had willingly submitted in consideration of the enormous advantages which had resulted from it. The workhouses, for the first time, were made use of for some regiments of Militia, and he was happy to learn that no feeling had been exhibited by the men against that arrangement, which would probably be carried out to a larger extent hereafter. With regard to billeting for the Militia generally, he would remind their Lordships that by the scheme for the re-organization of the Army it was intended to provide for the training of the Militia in barracks or camps, and he trusted the scheme would permanently and completely remedy the evils of billeting which were so justly condemned by all who had at heart the interests not only of the Militia, but of the population in the midst of which they were assembled.


said, it did not speak well for the economy of the War Department that barracks in Ireland which had been condemned and others, which were too small for the proper accommodation of troops, were allowed to stand, though money could be obtained for them.

Motion agreed to:—Returns ordered.