HC Deb 01 June 1883 vol 279 cc1568-71

Order for Third Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."—(Mr. Trevelyan.)


said, he had put down a Notice of Amendment on this stage; but, as it was one pro- posing an increased grant of money, as a private Member he had been informed that the course was irregular, and he apologized for it. He would state, however, that his Amendment, if it could have been put, would only have involved a very small extra outlay. It related to a very deserving class of men; and he would ask the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to consider the subject, and see whether he could not himself bring forward the proposal. The case his Amendment had been prepared to meet was one which had very seldom occurred; but it had occurred, and might take place again. A young constable might catch a cold whilst on duty, and die of a malady resulting from it, or he might die from the effects of injuries received whilst in the execution of his duty. Such a young man might, out of his pay, have been in the habit of sending home a certain proportion for the support of his aged parents. He (Colonel King-Harman) had known cases where a young constable, who had met with his, death in this way, had left behind him relatives who had not only had to suffer the great grief of his loss, but had also, in consequence thereof, suddenly found themselves without a penny in the world. Ample provision was made in the Bill for the pension of widows and children of constables dying in this way; and he now pleaded for power to be given to the Lord Lieutenant to grant similar pensions in aid of distressed parents, whose only stay was in the person of a young constable who might have been taken away by some blow, accidentally administered, or sudden calamity to a constable whilst in the execution of his duty.


said, he found it very difficult to resist the appeal of the hon. and gallant Member; but he was very much afraid that he had no choice in the matter. This Bill was a very peculiar one, and it was a very important measure in this respect—that it was almost drawn upon the lines of certain other important Acts which governed the condition of various large forces, and that it likewise followed the lines which were adopted in another measure which was at present in an inchoate state; and any proposal which was adopted in this Bill ought, they might say, to have been adopted in the Bills which had given a Police Force to England, and would have to be adopted in those Bills which would follow in the future. Likewise, the principle which the hon. and gallant Member proposed to insert in this Bill would have to be adopted in other services in the Irish Police if it were adopted here. He hardly felt justified, in a Bill dealing with the Irish Constabulary, to establish this important principle.


I do not ask this as a right for the relatives of the Constabulary; I only ask that the Lord Lieutenant may have power to make grants of this kind if he thinks it desirable.


said, he felt the full strength of the hon. and gallant Member's contention, and also the force of the safeguards by which he proposed to protect it; but so small was the probability of an inroad being made into the public Exchequer by the very modest proposal put before them that he thought, when a case of this kind occurred, as it very rarely had occurred, and very rarely would occur again, it might be met by other means. He remembered very well that other means were found in the case of sailors who had been lost at sea; and in the very rare case to which the hon. and gallant Member referred he thought that a similar course would be adopted. If the hon. and gallant Member would refer the special cases which, in his knowledge, had occurred to him (Mr. Trevelyan), he would endeavour to see whether something could not he done in regard to them. If, unfortunately, it should ever happen that any large number of the Royal Irish Constabulary, or the Dublin Police, should be injured or killed whilst in the discharge of their duty, then he concluded that special means would be taken to provide for those they left behind, who had been dependent upon their wages—such means as were taken by the Admiralty after the loss of the Eurydice and the Atalanta, He was extremely sorry that he did not feel himself able to accede to the wish of the hon. and gallant Member.


said, he was glad the right hon. Gentleman could not see his way to accede to the desire of the hon. and gallant Member, for if he had done so the Irish Members would have had to press upon the Government for some provision for the widows and children of persons who, from time to time, had been shot by the police, who were a very much more numerous class than the aged parents that had been dependent upon Members of the Constabulary Force killed or injured whilst in the discharge of their duty.


asked whether the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary could see his way to the adoption of the Amendment he had put upon the Paper, which dealt with the case of much graver hardship? He did not ask for a decided promise; but only for an undertaking that the right hon. Gentleman would consider the matter.


said, that upon this subject he had spoken at some length yesterday; and though there was by no means unanimity in the House, he must say that he had never spoken with more complete conviction as to the course it behoved him to take than he did on that occasion. He, like other Members of the House, had had to submit to the ruling of the Chairman of Committees; and, while that ruling was unquestioned in its justice, he, like other Members of the House, regarded it, although he would very much have liked the matter to go to a division, and to have been decided by a division. But it was quite one thing to wish that a matter should go to a division, and another to urge that a clause should be moved for the purpose of sending it to a division, when one's self was anxious that it should go to a division for the purpose of having it defeated. He so much objected to the principle of the clause which the hon. Member asked him to move, that though he imagined there might be some grievance under the present system, and though he had a good deal of sympathy with the men who believed they had a grievance, he felt that he should not be justified in moving the clause—in fact, that it would be highly irregular for him to do so.

Motion agreed to.

Bill read the third time, and passed.