§ MR. MURPHY
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland, If the Government intend to proceed with the Prisons (Ireland) Bill this Session; and, whether they will be disposed to institute inquiries with the view of ascertaining the propriety or otherwise of assimilating the salaries of the officers of convict prisons in Ireland with those of a similar class of officers performing analogous duties in England?
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
The progress of the Irish Prisons Bill is at present stopped by a Notice of opposition on the part of the hon. Member for Dundalk (Mr. Callan), which, so far as I have been able to learn, is likely to receive the support of very few Irish Members on either side of the House. I hope that the hon. Member for Dundalk may be disposed so far to withdraw his opposition as to allow the Irish Bill to reach the same stage as the English 1965 Bill, so that if the latter should become law this year, the Irish Bill may share the same fortune; for I think it would be almost universally regretted by hon. Members from Ireland that their part of the United Kingdom should be a year later than England in obtaining the benefits from improved prison management and the relief from local taxation that may be anticipated from these measures. With regard to the second part of the hon. Member's Question, in 1873, a Departmental Committee inquired into the salaries of Irish convict prison officers, and recommended an improved scale, which is now in force. I think it would be premature to re-open this question unless the proposals of the Government for a general reform of the Irish prison system should be sanctioned by Parliament, in which case it might be very desirable that a fresh inquiry should be instituted into the pay of all prison officials in Ireland.