HC Deb 01 August 1873 vol 217 cc1429-30

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Whether, considering the freedom from crime which in the words of Mr. Justice Lawson "places Louth in the first rank as a model county," the Government will any longer retain in that county an extra police force, and exact payment there for from the payers of county cess, without at least giving them an opportunity of expressing, in some official or authoritative manner, their opinion as to the necessity under existing circumstances of burthening the rates with increased taxation for the maintenance of an extra police force?


Sir, last year the free force of Louth was reduced from 184 to 159 men. The constabulary reported that 174 would be required if the present number of stations were to be maintained, and that 170 was the lowest minimum, after allowing for abolition of some of the stations. The Government communicated with the magistrates, through the Lord Lieutenant of the county, and pointed out to them that if they wanted to maintain the existing number of stations they should apply for an increase to the county force of 15 men—half the cost to be paid by the county; and that if they did not do so, the Government would be obliged to abolish three stations, it being far better to have a small number of strong police stations than a large number of feeble ones. Twenty magistrates met, and they unanimously decided to apply for 15 extra men, in order to maintain the existing stations. It is to be borne in mind that Louth, although paying for 15 extra men, is in an exceptionally favourable condition, as its present free quota is 43 over the number to which it is entitled, according to area and population. The magistrates are responsible for the peace of the county; and however anxious the Government may be to consult the convenience of the cesspayers, they must be mainly guided by the opinion of the magistrates. If the cesspayers of the county object to the extra police force tax, it is quite competent for them to make a representation to Government upon the subject, and such representation, if made, shall be duly considered.