(2.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £745,037, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1876, for the Constabulary Force in Ireland.
§ MR. ERRINGTON
hoped the Chief Secretary for Ireland would take into consideration the claims of those members of the Constabulary Force in Ireland who retired compulsorily or voluntarily between 1873 and the end of 1874, in the interval between the passing of two Acts for granting increased pensions to those who retired, and who were thus deprived of the extra benefits secured by the latter Act.
§ MR. WHALLEY
demanded to know why, in the name of common sense, they paid £1,000,000 a-year for police in Ire- 285 land, and yet trifled with the earnest warning of the German Ambassador. [Cries of "Oh!"] Further, the Prime Minister had ignored altogether the statement of the Lord Chief Justice, who stated that the Queen did not reign in Ireland; it was the Pope. ["Oh, oh!"] He called upon the Chief Secretary for Ireland to explain what the Vote was for, if it were not to counteract the foreign power of the Pope in Ireland. [Cries of "Agreed!"] In consequence of the determined interruption he would not pursue the subject further; he had liberated his conscience.
§ MR. MELLOR
objected to the large sum paid away in pensions, and asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland to explain the principle on which superannuations were granted.
§ MR. MELDON
called attention to what he regarded as an injustice in the giving of pensions. The pensions for the Irish Constabulary were calculated on the rate of pay when they entered the service, while the pensions of the metropolitan police were calculated on the rate of pay they received at the time they retired. The pensions in the latter case would be much higher. Both bodies were appointed under the same Act; then why should this difference exist as to the mode of calculating their pensions?
§ MR. MITCHELL HENRY
reminded the Committee that the constables for whom this money was voted would be more properly denominated a military force. He should always consider it a standing disgrace to this country that it was necessary that this enormous sum should be voted for the purpose of keeping up such a force for Ireland; and he believed that it would be entirely unnecessary if they would concede to the Irish people their just rights.
§ MR. WHITWELL
wished to know whether the right hon. Gentleman's attention had been directed to the high rents of police barracks?
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS - BEACH
said, his attention had been called to the cost of barracks for the Constabulary, but the matter was more difficult than it seemed to be at first sight. It was desirable when the circumstances were favourable that the barracks should be public property. As to the remark of the hon. Member for Galway (Mr. Mitchell Henry) he believed that whatever might be the armament or drill of 286 the Irish Constabulary, the present state of Ireland bore no slight testimony to their efficiency as a police force. As to the pension list, if they found, on the one hand, that it was objected to as too large, and on the other as too small, they might fairly conclude that it was about what it ought be. All the pensions were computed upon Acts of Parliament open to the inspection of the hon. Member for Ashton-under-Lyne (Mr. Mellor.) It should be remembered that the constables in this force were picked men, and that Ireland having a healthy climate, pensioners possibly lived there longer than they did in other countries. In reply to the hon. Members for Kildare (Mr. Meldon) and Longford (Mr. Errington), he wished to say that although he felt unable to comply with the desires expressed in the memorials hitherto sent in, he was ready to take any fresh point into consideration, and to make the proper recommendations with regard to it.
§ MR. RONAYNE
contended that the police of Ireland were a well-organized military force, and were not good as detective or as ordinary police constables. Its members were to be found even at flower shows with rifles on their shoulders and swords by their sides. Their conduct, however, he must admit, was unimpeachable, and they acted with great consideration towards the people, considering the large powers which they possessed under certain Acts of Parliament.
§ MR. CHARLES LEWIS
moved that Progress should be reported. Hon. Members had been 10 hours in that House, and three distinguished Members—those for Taunton, Rochester, and Carlisle—were already fast asleep. The House had been sitting for 10 hours, and it was desirable that they should know to what extent the endurance of private Members was to be called upon at that period of the Session.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Mr. Charles Lewis.)
§ MR. BERESFORD HOPE
believed that if the hon. Member for Londonderry wished to go homo to bed, they would all wish him a very good night.
§ MR. R. POWER
said, there were more than 90 Members in the House, and as 287 only three were asleep, there could be no objection to their going on. On the Treasury Bench they were particularly wide awake.
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
hoped that the Motion for reporting Progress would not be pressed at that early hour. The three hon. Members who had been referred to as being asleep were always found very particularly wide awake when any subject they were interested in was being discussed, and it was a privilege of that House, which he hoped would always continue, that hon. Members might go to sleep when they did not wish to listen to what was being said.
§ MR. M'CARTHY DOWNING
bore testimony to the excellence and efficiency of the police force in Ireland.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ (3.) £52,366, to complete the sum for Miscellaneous Legal Charges, Ireland.