HC Deb 23 February 1871 vol 204 c755

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Whether the Irish Constabulary Force so particularly referred to in the wording of the enactment will be employed in carrying out the provisions of the Gun Licences Act, passed in the last Session of Parliament; and, whether he is aware that there is a strong opinion among the local magistracy in several districts of Ireland that without the co-operation of the police force the Act will remain ineffectual and useless both for the purposes of Revenue and of social protection?


said, in reply, that the provisions of the Gun Licences Act, as regarded the constabulary, were permissive and not obligatory. The action of the constabulary under that Act was confined to the power of arrest of a person using or carrying a gun without a licence who further refused to give his name and address. In the event of the person giving his name and address the constable could only give information of the fact to the Excise officer. There were serious objections to impose upon the constabulary fresh duties not immediately connected with the preservation of the public peace or the detection of crime, and still more to impose upon them duties calculated to cause them to be regarded as common informers in the estimation of the public. He was aware that in certain rural districts the local magistrates had requested the co-operation of the constabulary in enforcing the provisions of the Act.