asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, 14 At what date any alteration was first made in the status of Mr. James Ellis French, late County Inspector and Detective Director of the Royal Irish Constabulary; whether any inquiry was made by any member of the Irish Government; and, if so, at what date, and by whom, with respect to the charges made against him; why such inquiry, if any, was not followed up; and, whether there is any intention of bestowing a pension or other retiring allowance upon Mr. French?
§ MR. TREVELYAN
No alteration was made in the status of Mr. French until the date of his being struck off the strength of the Force. He was on leave from the 6th of August in last year. Medical certificates were from time to time submitted as to his being in ill health. When the imputations against his private character were first brought to the notice of the Inspector General, he made some informal inquiry on the subject; but after the matter came before the Courts of Law, it was considered better to await their decision. Mr. French remained on leave, and no steps were taken which might prejudice the pending action. I have already stated that the question whether any pension should be given is postponed, pending the issue of the legal proceedings affecting his private character.
I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the "informal inquiries" made by Colonel Bruce were not the summoning to Dublin of three Sub-Inspectors of Constabulary from distant parts of the country, and the taking down of their evidence?
§ [No reply.]
I think I am entitled —[Cries of "Order!"]—to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether that is not so; or whether the House is to understand that, though the Government knew that there was a primâ facie case of guilt of the most horrible sort against this official, they determined to observe an attitude of benevolent neutrality—[Cries of "Order!"]—while a private individual had to bring him to justice?
§ [No reply.]