HC Deb 31 July 1851 vol 118 cc1801-4

Order for Committee read.

House in Committee.

Clause 1.


said, a more unjust measure than this was never proposed. The object was to abolish the office of paymaster of the constabulary in Ireland. So long as the salary was paid by Ireland, there was no thought of abolition; but when the expense was thrown on the Consolidated Fund, the Government contemplated reduction. There were eighteen persons in Ireland who held the office of paymaster of the police force, all of whom had broken up their establishments to accept it. One officer, who had been thirty years in the public service, was to be dismissed with 40l. a year, which was no compensation at all. He wished to see the Bill fall to the ground, and trusted that in the next Session justice would be done to the gentlemen who were to be dismissed. A great many cases of individual hardship might, in the meantime, be brought before the Treasury.


said, the officers in question were, in fact, never paid by the Irish counties, but always paid out of the Consolidated Fund, therefore the observation of his hon. Friend on that subject was without foundation. The Government had dealt with these officers as they dealt with public officers in England and Scotland; when they found that they could get their duties performed at a cheaper rate, they felt themselves at liberty to discontinue their services. He agreed that there ought to be some consideration for officers when they were dismissed; but that had been done in the present case which was done in all similar cases. Two or three years ago he offered to put these officers on the superannuation fund. They were unwilling to submit to the reduction—declined to be put on the superannuation fund, and, but for a Clause in the Bill, they would have no compensation at all. He did not know the particular cases, but the same principle would be applied to these officers as to others whose offices were abolished. Compensation would be awarded according to the length of service.


said, the Irish constabulary was paid out of the Consolidated Fund, while that of England was paid by the counties. It was, therefore, no question of justice to Ireland.


thought the officers were entitled to compensation. If they were military officers, they should not receive less than the half pay to which they were entitled before the Act passed. The Government were taking a wise course in abolishing the offices. With the reduced population of Ireland, there was no necessity for so great a number of stipen- diary magistrates as seventy paid out of the Consolidated Fund.


considered that the Lord Lieutenant ought to have the power of altering the numbers of the constabulary force in each county, city, or town. The population of Limerick and Water-ford had increased 2 to 3 per cent; that of Belfast, 32; and that of Gal way 43 per cent; while the population of the rural districts had decreased. Hence the necessity of augmenting the force in those districts where there had been an increase, and reducing it in others. Donegal, which was the sixth county in population, and the fourth in extent in Ireland, was the twenty-sixth in the number of its constabulary.


said, that the late Sir Robert Peel, in proposing the repeal of the corn laws, had promised that the people of Ireland should be relieved from all charge for the police; but this pledge had not been carried out. In Waterford and Donegal they were now paying for a portion of the police force. The amount was not large; but in the present impoverished condition of Ireland they ought to be relieved from it.


said, there were 1,220 police in the county of Tipperary, the cost of which was 53,000l. per annum. In the present state of quiet of the south of Ireland, a large reduction might safely be made. In Limerick, out of 320 police, 185 had been charged on the four baronies, 60 on the county at large, and only 75 out of the Consolidated Fund.


wished to know if the displaced paymasters would receive the same superannuation allowance as those who had subscribed to the superannuation fund.


said, he did not propose to put them on the same footing as those who had contributed to this fund; but he would give them precisely the same allowance as was made to the officers who had not so contributed.


considered that the clause inflicted a cruel hardship on the paymasters, and he should move an Amendment, in order to leave the question of compensation an open one to the Treasury.

Amendment proposed, "In page 2, line 9, to leave out from the word 'discontinued' to the word 'such,' in line 12."


said, he was treating the paymasters like all other officers of the same class. If the words were struck out, they would only be exciting hopes that he could not fulfil.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 39; Noes 6: Majority 33.

Clause agreed to; as were also Clauses 2 and 3. Clauses 4 and 5 struck out.

Clause 6 agreed to.

Preamble agreed to.

House resumed. Bill reported; as amended, to be considered To-morrow.

The House adjourned at a quarter before One o'clock.