§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Sir Robert Peel.)
§ MR. BAGWELL
said, that the effect of the Bill would be entirely to change the allocation of the police force as fixed by the Act 20 & 21 Vict. c. 17. Under that Act the county of Tipperary was allowed 1,030 men, and that number had been found so insufficient to preserve the peace of the county that a further large number had been paid out of the county rates. Notwithstanding that, it was proposed by this Bill to take away from them 246 men. He could not admit that the occurrence of riots in Belfast was a sufficient reason for disturbing the police arrangements throughout Ireland. It was strange, too, that all the proposed additions to the force would take place in Protestant counties, which it had always been said were settled, quiet, and contented. The county of Waterford had now 149 1513 police, and no more had been asked for by the authorities, but the Government were going to give it 219, taking 246 away from the county of Tipperary, which already had to pay extra constables. He should like to know whether the opinion of either the Lord Lieutenant, the high sheriff, or the grand jury had been asked upon the question of that withdrawal.
§ COLONEL FRENCH
said, he had to complain that the police force in Roscommon was to be reduced from 347 to 337 men. There was the less reason for such a change inasmuch as by the Act passed a few years ago the force in that county had been reduced from 437 men to 347: and the county had at present an additional body of fifty men to maintain at its own cost.
§ SIR ROBERT PEEL
said, he had made a full statement of the provisions of the Bill the other evening. The object of the Bill was to provide for the establishment in Belfast of a police force which would not be under the control of the municipal authorities. Recent events had proved the necessity of such a measure, recommended, as it had been, by the Report of the Commissioners specially appointed to investigate the subject, and he believed it met with general approval. The hon. and learned Member for Belfast (Sir Hugh Cairns), who was unable to be present upon that occasion, had assured him that he had no opposition to offer to the Motion for the second reading of the Bill. It was proposed that 130 of the police force already in Ireland should be stationed in Belfast, and of that number fifty-nine would be taken from the county of Antrim, and fourteen from the county of Down; but the fact was, that as Belfast occupied portions of each of these two counties, they already supplied it with those men. The remainder of the 130 men would be taken from various counties; but he had to inform the hon. Member for Limerick and the hon. Member for Clonmel that there would be none removed from Limerick or Tipperary. He hoped the House would then assent to the second reading of the Bill, and they could afterwards consider its details in Committee. He proposed to introduce in the fourth clause an Amendment, which would leave undetermined the number of men to be added to the 130 at Belfast, so that the Lord Lieutenant could exercise a discretion in the matter. He would only further observe, that the present police force in Ireland had been established to meet the requirements of a 1514 larger population than that which the country at present contained.
§ MR. BAGWELL
said, that the Government Returns gave the number of policemen in Tipperary at 1,032, while the number was set down in the Bill at 784; and it therefore appeared that there was to be in that case a reduction of 248 men.
§ SIR ROBERT PEEL
said, that the Bill would only take 130 men from all the Irish counties, and it was manifest therefore that it would not remove 248 men from Tipperary.
§ LORD JOHN BROWNE
said, he believed his hon. Friend the Member for Clonmel must be mistaken in reference to the Return from which he had quoted. It appeared to him that the distribution of the force proposed in the Bill was better than that which at present existed.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Bill read 2°, and committed for Thursday next.