§ Order for Second Reading read.927
§ MR. TREVELYAN
moved the second reading of the Bill. [Mr. HEALY: Oh!] The hon. Member seemed startled; but it was quite in accordance with the interests of hon. Members opposite that he made the Motion. He extremely regretted that they should be called upon on a Saturday afternoon to consider a matter which necessarily required discussion. In the preliminary Committee he had made the speech he should have made upon the second reading, and he had no more observations to make He should, therefore, reserve further remarks until he heard the criticisms of hon. Members, and the points upon which explanation was required.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Trevelyan.)
§ MR. SEXTON
said, the right hon. Gentleman had added nothing to the comparatively full explanation of the operations—he could not say provisions—of the Motion of which this Bill was the result. So far as the officers were concerned whose position they anticipated would be improved under the Bill, they had no information. The measure, in fact, was not so much an enacting as an enabling measure; and so far as regarded the pay, the enactments were extremely simple, for they made the Lord Lieutenant supreme controller of the subject, inasmuch as he was left to do exactly what he thought proper. He complained of the exceedingly fragmentary character of the measure. When the Notice of the Bill first appeared on the Paper they were led to expect that there would be embodied in it such proposals as would be necessary to deal with the Irish Constabulary as a whole. What, however, did they find? The Bill only dealt with a body of 300 or 400 men out of a total of 13,000 or 14,000 men, and it was to such fragmentary measures as this that the Government desired the House to assent. In making those observations he could not refrain from the remark that the claim of persons whose position it was supposed would be improved under it were men whose conduct during the past year the Irish Members had been compelled, in the severest terms, to criticize. There was County Inspector Smith, of Clare, whose Circular invited his men to commit homicide or murder; Sub-In- 928 spector Ball, of Ballinrobe; Sub-Inspector Rogers, of Limerick, and many others who had been guilty of the greatest misconduct as regarded the use of the police against the popular rights of the people of Ireland. On every one of those cases hon. Members on that side of the House had put Questions, as they had done in numerous other eases; but in every instance had failed to obtain satisfaction, or that atonement for outraging public rights they were entitled to expect. Hon. Members were not so unreasonable as to suppose that, in consequence of this conduct, the whole class of County Inspectors and Sub-Inspector were to be discredited. At the same time, it was needful, even at this stage, that they should protest against the introduction of a measure in regard to the Constabulary Force in Ireland, professing, and professing only, to embrace that class amongst which were found those men whose conduct had provoked the gravest censure. He found that the increment would increase the public burden by£10,000,or something like that sum.
§ MR. TREVELYAN
I should state that the hon. Gentleman has calculated within £12 of the total increase.
§ MR. SEXTON
said, it was very singular, indeed, that the Government, in asking the House to deal with this matter, should have abstained from laying before them such proposals as they thought necessary and proper to make with regard to the general body. If they had no proposals to make, he did not wonder at their absence from the Government scheme; but they were told that the Government had, and they from Ireland were very curious and anxious to know what they were. He had a letter from Ireland, which stated that the proposal was to add 4 d. a-day to the allowance. The Government should know that if they were only to learn what the exact proposals were at the last moment, hon. Members would be unable to give that calm consideration and criticism which such a matter required. If this information was at once given to them, when the Estimates came on they should be the better enabled to consider mutually the proposals and their bearings one 929 upon the other. Besides, the state of affairs in the Constabulary itself rendered it extremely desirable that the Government should not delay giving information to the House. Two or three evenings ago, in reply to Questions, they were told that the reports as to the Irish Constabulary were exaggerated; but matters had since transpired which demanded their immediate attention. He had received numerous telegrams upon the subject, but the names of the senders were obviously withheld; but, still, they gave very important information as bearing upon the feeling amongst the Force. He was aware that in Limerick the men had met, had passed resolutions, and had appointed a committee to take care of their interests. They had forwarded a Petition to the Government upon the subject, and had issued a Circular to the Force in Ireland, stating their requirements, which were—More rapid promotion from the ranks, increase of pay, equalization of pensions, compulsory retirement at the end of 30 years' service, optional retirement at 25 years' service, and an allowance for lodgings at a higher rate than now. He thought that, considering this expression of opinion, every consideration should be given to this matter. It was a somewhat extraordinary proceeding to endeavour to force upon the House proposals dealing with the officer part of the Force only, whilst they ignored entirely for the present a vast body of men and their grievances; and more particularly must this be considered so when the Government selected as the proper time for dealing with the subject in such a piecemeal way the very moment when the men were pressing forward their grievances. There was, moreover, a striking incongruity in the provisions of this Bill. It dealt with the pay and also with the pensions of the officers. It specified the rate of pension to be given; but as to pay it proposed that the Lord Lieutenant, with the assent of the Treasury, should have absolute power to fix all the salaries of those officers. That involved a departure from the invariable rule heretofore followed in that matter, under which limits had been imposed on the discretion of the Lord Lieutenant, and precise figures and amounts had been laid down, beyond which the pay of those officers should not be allowed to go. Even in a Coer- 930 cion Bill it was injurious and offensive to give despotic power to the Lord Lieutenant; but surely there could be no excuse for investing His Excellency with arbitrary authority in a measure of the present description. Unless provisions were inserted in this Bill limiting the discretion of the Lord Lieutenant in fixing the pay of the officers, the military character of the Irish Constabulary would be intensified, and the Force would lose all semblance of a Civil organization.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
thought that a Bill of that kind, which was intended to raise the pay of a public service in which strikes and combinations were threatened, required great watching. The hon. Member for Sligo was not satisfied with the measure, because it was not large enough, and wished to make it larger by taking into consideration the demands for increased pay put forward by a body, part of which appeared to be in a state of semi-mutiny. [Mr. SEXTON dissented.] He (Sir George Campbell), for one, would not grudge any sum which might be granted in order to increase the efficiency of the Irish Constabulary as a police body, and especially for detective purposes; but he was sorry to say the Constabulary were in no degree effective at this time for that purpose, and it seemed to him they were very dear for the money they cost the nation. He looked upon this proposal to increase the pay of the Inspectors with some jealousy, because the way in which they were officered was altogether inconsistent with efficiency. He knew no Department which more entirely depended upon special knowledge and experience, and special and peculiar fitness, than the Police Department; and if there was a Department in the Public Service which should be officered by men who had acquired experience, and gained credit and shown fitness in the lower ranks, it was this Department of the police. He understood that the opposite was the course followed. He understood that there was scarcely any promotion from the ranks. He understood that the superior ranks were filled by the appointment of young Irish gentlemen—[Mr. HEALY: English.]—or young gentlemen in Ireland. He need not remind the House that whatever Government might be in power, even if the Chief Secretary were an 931 angel from Heaven, it was scarcely possible to avoid continual jobbing when the appointments were open to young gentlemen without any particular qualification. He believed that the present Chief Secretary was as near an angel from Heaven as they could get; but it must be remembered that the great mass of these officers were appointed under previous Administrations and under former Chief Secretaries—some of whom did not at all approach the character of an angel from Heaven. He believed that by far the greater number of the officers of these police were appointed under a system of jobbery and, to a certain extent, of despotism. They were not appointed under any system of selection from the ranks of men specially fitted for those duties. Before there was any increase granted to these officers there should be a complete re-organization of the Force, such as would insure that the officers would be promoted from men who had shown special aptitude for police duties, and especially for detective duties. It was only under these circumstances that he should think money well spent in increasing the pay of the officers.
§ MR. LEWIS
was exceedingly surprised at the opposition of the hon. Member for Sligo, for if he knew anything of his views and inclinations they were in favour of insisting on an increase rather than a reduction of salaries of this kind. All who were acquainted with the way in which the officers of the Irish Constabulary performed their duties would, he was convinced, confirm him when he said that they were a class of men of whom Ireland and the Government might be justly proud. He trusted that the Government would consider a subject which had been frequently brought before that House—namely, the position of the officers who retired previous to 1874; and unless that was done he should move the insertion of a clause placing persons to whom pensions were granted before the Act of 1874 in the same position as to right of pension and the rate as those who retired immediately afterwards. The difference of a day in this matter had made in more than one instance the difference of 100 per cent in the rate of pension.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
said, the hon. Member (Sir George Campbell) was mistaken in supposing that the Inspectors 932 and Sub-Inspectors were appointed by the Executive for the time being in the manner he had suggested; but the vacancies were filled up by public Civil Service examinations, and he would have been perfectly correct in objecting to the manner in which the appointments took place even under this system. These officers ought to be recruited from the ranks, so that it might be certain that the experience and skill there shown would enable them to perform their duties satisfactorily. But, under the present system, these men were required to pass examinations in French, German, and. other languages; and if they could throw one or two dead languages in so much the more fitted were they imagined to be to detect crime. What connection there possibly could be between Latin, Greek, French, or German and the duties of Inspectors and Sub-Inspectors was more than he could find out, and equally in doubt was he as to the total being made up of figures and their affinity with the detection of offences which these officers did not succeed in finding out. In Ireland at that moment they were in this position. They had open and fierce dissatisfaction on the part of the members of the Force; but, as far as the officers were concerned, the dissatisfaction rested upon the statement of the Chief Secretary. In the one case there was open, well-known, and active dissatisfaction; but in the other only tacit and negative dissatisfaction. The Government appeared willing to brave the mutinous dissatisfaction of 12,000 or 13,000 men, and, in fact, to add to that dissatisfaction, and allow it to grow until it became dangerous to the peace and tranquillity of the whole Force; whilst they did their utmost to appease the dissatisfaction of the officers, which only found its expression in Dublin Castle. It was not for him to dictate to the Chief Secretary as to the manner in which he should conduct his duties; but, nevertheless, it appeared to him that there never was a more absurd, more irrational, or a proposal more certain to defeat its own ends than that the dissatisfaction of 13,000 men should be allowed to ripen into mutiny before their grievances should be adjusted, rather than that a few officers should be required to wait. As to the officers, up to a month ago—or, he might say, within the last five weeks—had the Government any definite 933 intention of introducing such a measure as this? Such a Bill was not mentioned in the Queen's Speech, or in any speech made up to a fortnight ago. It was only within the last fortnight that the Government had given effect to what they had heard from one side. The House would recollect that it was only within that time that the late Attorney General for Ireland, the Member for Dublin University (Mr. Gibson), put a Question to the Government as to what they intended to do for these officers. Thus was the mind of the Chief Secretary and the action of the Irish Executive stimulated to a consideration of this question. And until then the Executive of Dublin Castle never thought of dealing with this matter at all. What would the men say when they saw the success which had attended the active, energetic, and persistent efforts of the friends of the officers in that House? These officers, generally, were inclined to Conservative opinions; and what would the men say when they saw the demand for a consideration of the grievances of the officers conceded, whilst their own complaints were forgotten? Could there be anything more prejudicial to order in the Force, or a stronger or more serious reason for adding force to the dissatisfaction of the men? The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary had given some inkling as to what the proposal of the Government would be; but beyond this they had no information whatever of what the intentions of the Government were. He was not going to attempt to judge of that which he had not officially heard of; but what he was justified in saying was that the subject should be dealt with in its entirety, or not at all. To attempt to deal with it piecemeal was to deal with it in a most objectionable and dangerous manner, and in a way which would give the men cause for increased dissatisfaction. In speaking against the police in Ireland it should be understood that their comments were not, nor never had been, directed against the men themselves, but only against the action and conduct of the officers. Often had he joined in those complaints; but in every instance the main complaints were against the officers, and not against the men. The Chief Secretary had frequently shown a disposition to meet the wishes of hon. Members on that side, which they desired to acknowledge in all sincerity; 934 but he had departed from his rule entirely in this matter in taking up the case of the officers and neglecting that of the men. So strongly did he feel upon this subject that if the conduct of the Government was challenged he should vote against them.
§ MR. HEALY
said, he had hoped that when this Bill was introduced some reasons would have been given for its being pressed forward, and he was somewhat surprised that when a measure originating with the late Attorney General for Ireland (Mr. Gibson) was brought forward he should have thought it necessary to be conspicuous by his absence. The Government had placed on the Estimates a Vote of £180,000 to meet the extra pay of the men. Immediately that this was done the right hon. and learned Gentleman cast about him to see what he could get for the officers, and he asked what was to become of them, and were they to get nothing of the plunder? The Chief Secretary evidently thought that it would not do to put a further sum on the Estimates, and so he endeavoured to blind the eyes of the people of Ireland by giving the Lord Lieutenant the whole of the discretion as to the increase. They ought to have the total placed on the Estimates. They ought to show how much the taxpayer would have to dip into his pocket for. The £180,000 for the men was to be only for three years; but this increase of the officers was to be for all time. Because the officers got none of the swag this Bill was to be introduced to give them an increase in their salary for all time. His hon. Friend (Mr. T. P. O'Connor) had complained that these men were appointed by competitive examination, and also that they should be required to speak foreign languages; but he was not aware that this was for the purpose of keeping these officers as a kind of paddock in which the sons of the upper classes could trot about. The Government deprived the lower class of an academic education; they refused to provide for the Catholic class University education, in order that this might act as a bar to the advantage of the aristocrats of the country. In other words, the people who bore the burden and heat of the day were never promoted; but the offices were kept for young English gentlemen who were ground in London, or striped, or what they called it, and 935 who were sent over full-fledged bantlings capable for duty because they could get so many marks. These were all the thief-catching abilities that these young gentlemen were expected to possess; but, of course, they must have plenty of suspicion, and that they had to use with great liberality, in order further to keep out Catholics. That applied alike to men and officers, for the Government professed to have special horror of secret societies; and, in order still further to wound the feelings of the Catholics, every man upon entering the Force was made to swear an oath, which was a distinct insult to the Catholic religion, that he would belong to no secret society, with the exception of Freemasonry. It was well known that the Catholic Church held Freemasonry in the greatest abhorrence. That was another instance of the extraordinary way in which the Government managed this body, and that being so they had good reason for objecting. These young gentlemen, whose marks for Latin and French so well fitted them for the offices of Inspector and Sub-Inspector, were put through a little drill in Phoenix Park and were then sent down to some country district, where they spent their time, he was creditably informed, indulging in nips of whiskey over the counter. He did not blame them very much for that. What were they to do? Here were these young gentlemen tossed off from society to mix with people who were, in their estimation, far below them, and what could they do? He was told that there was usually set up in those districts three grades of society—the first was that of the estate agents; the next that of the bank clerks; and the third of the Sub-Inspectors. Those were the three main elements forming the ton. They claimed to represent the proper feelings of the district, and it was certain that they could set the Government in motion in whatever direction they thought fit. They were the triumvirate of the society who manipulated whatever there was of local government in Ireland, and so controlled popular feeling, so-called, that they could compel the Executive to act in any direction they chose. Even if a Board of Guardians ventured to have an opinion upon political matters, the Chief Secretary sent his orders for a dissolution. He would invite the Chief Secretary to go 936 into the districts and see for himself. In the first place, the dress of the young gentlemen was something ridiculous. There were the spiked helmets invented by Bismarck, or Moltke, or some of those people. They wore these spiked caps, perhaps, as symbolical of their military character; whilst in Court they took very great care that everyone else removed his hat. These Inspectors and Sub-Inspectors strutted about giving their orders right and left in their helmets, and played "such pranks before high Heaven as would make the angels weep "—if angels could be supposed to take any interest whatever in such a body as the Royal Irish Constabulary. In their districts these young gentlemen constantly interfered with the amusement of the small boys, and should the village band appear at once they issued orders to charge, and gave their men carte blanche to break the heads of the people who could not get out of their way. Their orders to fire on the people were issued as suited their intelligence. Questions were continually being put in that House of the way those men conducted themselves; but the gentlemen of Latin and French were in the right—it was always the people who gave the provocation. He could not help thinking that at this late period of the Session the House might have been occupying itself upon much more important matters than upon a Bill of this kind. There were many much more important measures awaiting their attention, whilst others had been abandoned altogether—Bills which had been mentioned in the Queen's Speech; but this measure had been sprung on the House at the fag-end of the Session, when many Irish Members were away; and here they were called upon at 5 o'clock on Saturday afternoon to enter into a full discussion of the subject. Why, he asked, had not the Poor Law Guardians (Ireland) Bill been put down to-day? On the two occasions on which it had appeared on the Notice Paper the Government moved the adjournment of the House, and the Irish Members knew how useless it was to fight against the battalions of the Government. That Bill would not have taken a minute to pass; but while the Chief Secretary had refused a stage to that useful and excellent measure, he did not scruple to bring them down to waste their time upon this 937 Bill dealing with the Constabulary in Ireland. Then he would point out that there was another measure before the House dealing with the pay of that important body which the Government appeared to be inclined to leave out in the cold. The hon. Member for Leeds (Mr. Herbert Gladstone) brought in with a great flourish of trumpets early in the Session a measure dealing with the superannuation allowances of a very important Irish body much larger than this. That Bill was dropped, no facilities having been given for taking it. He (Mr. Healy) would give the House some idea of the character of the gentlemen whose pay it was proposed to increase. The district of Millstreet was for a very long time in a very disturbed state under the régime of the late Chief Secretary, and there was a Sub-Inspector there named Starkey. For nine months before the Government got the Coercion Act a ruffian named Connell went about ranging from one end of the country to the other, and disturbing the peace. He shot a man named Leary in a cool, brutal, and most cold-blooded manner. The police, in his (Mr. Healy's) opinion, knew very well who fired the shot; at all events, they knew now. Did not Sub-Inspector Starkey arrest this ruffian? No; he did nothing of the kind; but as soon as this ruffian and assassin turned Queen's evidence, Mr. Starkey brought him out dressed as a policeman to the Millstreet district. Having ascertained the names of all the best football players in the district, he took them down and indiscriminately handed them over to the police and swore against them, and Sub-Inspector Starkey—this young gentleman of five or six and twenty, very well up in his geometry and trigonometry—swept the district of Millstreet of all these young men, and they had been kept in Cork Gaol for the last nine months. Sub-Inspector Star-key imprisoned 65 men, and after keeping them in gaol for nine months in solitary confinement, in a cell 6 feet by 4, for 22 hours out of the 24, denying them the pleasure and solace of their own association, they were dismissed on their own recognizances and refused a trial. That was the discretion of Sub-Inspectors of the Irish police. It was the zeal of men like Sub-Inspector Starkey that this Bill proposed to reward. When measures of this kind 938 were brought in they should have regard to the class of persons whose pay it was proposed to increase. The main body of the Irish police were entirely neglected by the Bill. He was not a particular admirer of the acts and conduct of the Irish police; but he did complain that a measure of this kind was brought forward dealing with the aristocratic section of the body. While the unfortunate men—Dan, Jack, Bill, and Harry—were denied any solid or permanent increase at all, the Alphonses, the Georges, and the Alberts, who had been brought over from England, were getting a solid increase of pay at the cost of the ratepayers. He would say nothing of the increase of the pay of either party—he should vote against both; but when measures were brought in for dealing with the aristocratic portion of the Force, it was too bad that the unfortunate rank-and-file should be left out in the cold. Seeing this Bill had been brought in at a time like the present, and upon a Saturday, he thought further time should be allowed for its discussion. They should not be asked to deal with this question piecemeal; and until they knew what it was that the Government were going to do for the police at large this measure should not be passed. On that account he begged to move that the debate be now adjourned.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Mr. Healy.)
§ MR. CALLAN
said, that during his 15 years' experience of the House he had never heard of a Bill being introduced under more misleading pretences than this one. When the Chief Secretary gave Notice to introduce a Bill for the Royal Irish Constabulary, he (Mr. Callan) anticipated that it was a Bill which dealt with the Royal Irish Constabulary. So satisfied was he of that, that he did not read the Bill until today. He differed, and had differed on all occasions, with that Party with which he had acted for the last two years with reference to the Royal Irish Constabulary. He had known them in almost every part of Ireland, and he knew them to be the sons of respectable labourers and of the smaller class of farmers. They were well educated for their rank in life, and they were a well- 939 conducted class of men whom, physically and morally, he believed to be a credit to his country. He had never had occasion to bring the conduct of any member of the rank-and-file of the Constabulary before that House; but he could not say the same with regard to the officers. On looking at the Orders of the Day to introduce this Bill, he found that it did not exactly define the Bill as printed. It was a Bill to regulate the pay of certain officials, and for other purposes; but it was a Bill confined exclusively to the County and Sub-Inspectors. Yesterday, when he asked a Question of the Chief Secretary, and when, naturally irritated by the answer he received, which was not in consonance with the usual courtesy and his character of abstaining from imputing motives—
§ MR. TREVELYAN
I imputed no motives whatever. I said—not referring to the hon. Gentleman—that the complaints had been made much more from the outside—
§ MR. CALLAN
I do not complain of the Chief Secretary, for I knew the source from which the insinuation—
§ MR. CALLAN
said, he considered it as such, and he at once fixed upon the party who he believed suggested it; and he would advise the Chief Secretary, just for peace and order in the House, as well as peace and order in Ireland, that the less he had to do with the right hon. Gentleman the better, for "evil communications corrupted good manners." ["Name, name!"] The right hon. Gentleman suggested that the Chief Secretary should not condescend to answer his Question, or answer it in a sneering tone. ["Name!"] It was the Home Secretary, of course. He desired to say that he never, either directly or indirectly, advised the Royal Irish Constabulary to strike. He had received a number of telegrams and letters since the Irish papers had circulated throughout the country districts from members of the Force, and they showed how keenly the Royal Irish Constabulary felt with respect to the injustice done them, and the favouritism—he could speak of it in no other manner—that was practised in that branch of the Service—the County and Sub-Inspectors. He desired the Irish Press to notice, this, as it would save him writing many letters— 940 that members of the Force should be very careful not merely in telegraphing, but in writing letters. He found that letters were delivered 12 hours out of the ordinary course. Whether they had been manipulated under the warrant of the Home Secretary he could not say; but he would advise the men of the Royal Irish Constabulary in writing to Members of that House to be most careful. He would read a telegram he had received from a sub-constable, but he would not give his name. It was as follows:—We heartily thank you for your kind advocacy of our claims, determined to stand up for them to a man; but for God's sake don't give our names.That had come through the telegraph office, and the poor sub-constable's name was already in the hands of the Inspector General, or would be in a very short time. It was, he thought, a very humiliating thing for Irish Members that when any question affecting Ireland came forward their letters were tampered with. Having spoken of the conduct of Sub-Inspector O'Callaghan, the hon. Member proceeded to say that there was no promotion from the ranks. There was no body so admirable as the Dublin Metropolitan Police, and they were well officered, exclusively by members from the ranks. The Royal Irish Constabulary were officered, he might say, almost exclusively by young men who were not fit for anything else, and who had, in addition, to wear a uniform. By this Bill they were asked to increase the pay of Inspectors and Sub-Inspectors. What was the reason of that? Constables and sub-constables found it much more difficult now to live on their pay than they did five or ten years ago. It was not too late for the Chief Secretary to introduce a Bill dealing with the head-constables and constables in the same spirit that this Bill dealt with County and Sub-Inspectors. Such a measure would tend materially to do away with the strong feeling of dissatisfaction which existed in Ireland. Even if made now, at the eleventh hour, he believed it would be accepted. If the police asked his advice, he would advise them not to strike; but he would advise them to adopt strong measures, although by doing so he might place himself under the bann and even subject to the insolence of other officials.
§ MR. TREVELYAN
said, it was necessary that he should say two or three words on this very important matter after the speeches that had been made from the Opposition Benches, because those speeches in some respects were made, he thought, under a misunderstanding, and they gave colour to a measure which was not a political, but a strictly administrative one. The general burden of the speeches from the Opposition Benches was to the effect that there were two great classes among the Irish Constabulary. One class, whose position it was proposed to improve by this Bill, was the officers; whereas, on the other hand, the larger class of men were entirely excluded from the benefits of the Bill. Now, some of the statements made were very important statements, which, so far as the Bill was concerned, were perfectly true; but he was bound to say that if the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Callan) had been present on Wednesday he would have seen that the Bill was only part of a great scheme for the purpose of rewarding the Royal Irish Constabulary officers and men for the extra exertions, and losses, and hardships which they had endured during the last three years, and for the purpose likewise of improving their position permanently. The measure was far too sweeping to call a thing unconstitutional which held good in the Army, the Navy, and the Civil Departments of the State. The Queen in Council could alter the pay of all classes in the Army and Navy at her pleasure. It was estimated that the yearly increase of pay to the officers would be—County Inspectors, £420; Sub-Inspectors, £3,125; other officers, £3,443; total, £9,988. With regard to the men, they would get in aid of marching money £3,500 more than now, under the head of extra pay when absent from their stations £3,800 more, which would be distributed like marching money, exactly as the men had extra hours of duty. In allowances to constables in charge of stations £4,600 more, for repair of certain articles £3,000, or stationery £1,000,and for other items £1,100 a-year. That was to say, while the annual advantages to officers would amount to, he might call it, £10,000 a-year, the annual advantage to the men would amount to £17,000 a-year.
§ MR. TREVELYAN
said, the recommendations of the Departmental Committee with respect to the men had been more than carried out. That Committee recommended that the allowances should be made retrospective during the last three years, which would involve an amount of£51,000.The Government thought it right to do more, and sanctioned a grant of £180,000 to be paid down at once. Now, if they gave the officers £10,000 a-year more and the men £17,000, besides a sum of £180,000 down, he could not see that this was a scheme wholly for the benefit of the aristocratic part of the Force, if hon. Gentlemen preferred so to characterize it. A great many remarks had been made in the course of the debate upon the mutinous condition of the Force. Now, it was an extremely delicate matter to talk of in public when even such an assertion was in the air; but he was about to repeat what he said yesterday, that the accounts they had from the officers of the Constabulary gave a very different picture of what was passing. He could not even imagine how anyone could praise the Royal Irish Constabulary in one sentence, and in another talk with some sort of satisfaction of what was called "striking" in order to obtain advantages from the public. The hon. Member for Louth said that the Royal Irish Constabulary were determined on a strike.
§ MR. CALLAN
I did not say they they were determined on a strike. I said the Royal Irish Constabulary, feeling themselves aggrieved, were determined to exact terms which, if given voluntarily, would not create ill-feeling.
§ MR. TREVELYAN
said, if the conduct of the Constabulary was mutinous, the Government would be face to face with a situation, the gravity of which it would be impossible to overrate; because it was quite impossible that any Government that was in the least deserving of the name of a Government could give to any body of public servants, and still more a body of public servants 943 in the position of the Royal Irish Constabulary, anything whatever under pressure. They did not for one moment believe that the Royal Irish Constabulary in any number were determined to resign in order to exact terms from the Government. If they were determined to resign, their resignations would be accepted. Terms would not be granted under these circumstances.I do not believe," wrote the Inspector General, "that there is really any improper feeling existing in their minds—and he was referring to a certain number of them.They are, however, no doubt, in a state of doubt and disappointment as to the non-receipt of their share of the proposed grant of £180,000, which they have long expected.Now, he (Mr. Trevelyan) was sorry that the grant of £180,000 had been so long deferred; but they all knew what difficulty there was in the present state of Parliament, overburdened as it was with Business, in passing the Estimates, and how liable those Estimates were to be postponed to the very last moment. But he sincerely trusted that in the very first days of the next week Parliament would be enabled to vote that £180,000, if Parliament so chose, in order to give a very substantial recompense to the Royal Irish Constabulary for their labours and services during the last three years. The hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir George Campbell) had said that there was no promotion from the ranks. In answer to his latest inquiries, he was informed that one in four were promoted from the ranks. His own efforts for many years had been to establish open competition in the Public Service; and he and those engaged with him in the work were charged with the design of excluding the aristocracy. With regard to first appointments in the Irish Constabulary, he would examine into the question con amore, and see what could be done to regularize the system. As to the resignations, there were a good many among the recruits; but there was no serious increase of resignations or discontent among the men who stayed long enough in the Force to know what its advantages were. In 1879 the resignations in the counties—that was to say, among the established men of the Force—were 63; those of the depôt, 50; together, 944 113. In 1880, those in the counties were 89; in the depôt, 65; in all, 154. In the year 1881, the time when there was a very great increase in the number of police, the resignations rose largely. In the counties they were 193, and at the depot, 159; in all, 352. But what they were speaking of was the present state of the Force; and if they went six months back, that would be a period for which they could judge very nearly as well as for a long period. In the last six months the number of resignations in the permanent Force had been 50. If the average of 1881 had been maintained, it would have been 100. In the auxiliaries, men who had not the advantages of the Force, who were temporarily employed, almost entirely, on special, arduous, and disagreeable duties, 46 resigned; from the Reserve Force of the depôt, 10; and from the recruits, 89. He could not say that the resignation of 50 men from the permanent Force, or an average of 100 in the course of the year, gave cause for any great fear, and that a member of the Royal Irish Constabulary, settled in the enjoyment of his pay, and with the prospect of his pension, was a man who had any great cause for discontent.
§ MR. TREVELYAN
said, it was 195; but 46 were auxiliary and 89 recruits. He did not know that he had anything to explain beyond this—that the Pension Clauses placed the pensions of the future officers of the Royal Irish Constabulary on the same footing as the great bulk of the Civil Servants of the Crown, and they would have the privilege of taking these new terms or of adhering to the old. The latter were better up to 36 years' service; but between 36 and 40 years the new terms would be more advantageous. In order to quicken promotion and increase efficiency, officers who had served for 40 years, County Inspectors who had reached the age of 65, and Sub-Inspectors who had reached the age of 60 would be retired compulsorily, but not so as to injure their prospects with regard to pension. The 6th clause might create a certain amount of suspicion among those who knew that the Deputy Inspector Generalship was not filled up; but it did not follow that that post would not be filled up very 945 soon indeed, and that it would not be filled in a way which would, he thought, satisfy the feeling which had existed for a good while, and very largely spread, but which he would not more closely refer to.
§ MR. REDMOND
said, he was very glad for the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, because it explained some things of importance which he confessed he did not understand before. They had now explained to them that the Bill was part of a large scheme which it was proposed should deal with the men as well as the officers of the Force, and he regretted that the whole scheme could not be considered at once. When the Constabulary Votes had been under consideration he had voted against the Estimates; but he had never done so that his vote might imply a general objection to the Constabulary. His objection to the Constabulary was that it was a Military Force and unsuited for the work to which it should apply itself in Ireland, and also a special objection that the condition of the officers in charge of these men had been such that very grave injustice had resulted. He was unwilling to support any increased allowance or pay to the officers of the Constabulary Force; and he was all the more opposed to it after what the right hon. Gentleman had told them, that this was a scheme for rewarding the officers and men of the Constabulary for the special work in which they had been engaged for the last three or four years. The extra work had been work of a most objectionable kind, and he would not by his vote give his sanction to the voting of money to such as Sub-Inspector Smith, who brought about the death of two of the children of an unfortunate evicted family. At the same time, when the giving of the money proposed to be given to the men of the Constabulary was under their consideration, he would be much more inclined to deal leniently with them, and perhaps he might see his way not to oppose the Vote.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 8; Noes 53: Majority 45.—(Div. List, No. 317.)
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read a second time, and committed for Monday next.