HC Deb 08 August 1887 vol 318 cc1531-3
MR. MACARTNEY (Antrim, S.)

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, from what sources the Constabulary Force Fund has been maintained since its creation in 1836; whether members of the Royal Irish Constabulary, who have joined since 1866, contribute in any way to this Fund; and, if so, how; whether they or their relatives participate in its benefits: and, whether there are any published accounts showing the amount of money paid into it annually; the amount paid away annually; the names of those to whom the payments have been, or are being, made, and for what services; and, if not, whether the Government has any objection to cause such accounts to be published annually?


(who replied) said: The sources of income of the Constabulary Force Fund are as follows:—(1) Deductions from pay of the effective force; (2) deductions from the pensions of pensioners voluntarily subscribing; (3) fines on members of the Force; (1) portions of fines awarded by magistrates, or payable to the Fund under Act of Parliament; (5) interest on the accumulated fund which is invested in Government Stock. Prior to 1866 the rate of contribution to the Fund was ½ per cent on pay. Up to that date the benefits of the Fund to widows and children were restricted to the families of those who died while serving. There was accordingly no deduction from pension. The Act of 1866 fixed the deduction from nay at 1½ per cent, and from pension, in the case of subscribers, at 1 per cent. Members who joined the Force since 1866, but prior to the 18th of June, 1883, contribute by deductions at the latter rates. Their widows and children are, on fulfilling the conditions regulating the Fund, entitled to gratuities, based upon the rates of pay drawn by the contributors while serving. Those who joined after the 18th of June, 1883, are exempted from deduction by Section 11 of the Act 46 & 47 Vict. c. 14, which section excludes them or their families from benefit. This Act, it may be mentioned, provides pensions or gratuities for widows of men who die while serving, and an allowance for each of their children under 15 years of ago. All proposed payments from this Fund are submitted to the Lord Lieutenant, whose sanction is necessary before they can be made; and each item of receipt and expenditure comes before the Comptroller and Auditor General, whose duty it would be to disallow any payment made for a purpose not authorized by the Act of Parliament, and the Regulations made thereunder. There are at present no published accounts. An account has been prepared for actuarial purposes for the seven years ended March 31, 1887, showing in globo the total receipts and expenditure under the several heads during each of those years; and and if hon. Members so desire this can be laid on the Table. It would not be practicable to give a detailed Return of each payment, as the vouchers have been sent from time to time to the Audit Department. As regards giving a detailed account in future years I understand the sole objection is the question of expense, which will presumably fall upon the Fund. I shall, however, confer; with the Inspector General on the subject.

MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)

asked, whether the officers of the Constabulary Force received payments out of this Fund, although they never had contributed towards it; whether an officers' fund had not been wound up at the request of the officers; and, whether the Government would now act upon the opinion and desire of the constables and pensioners and wind up the present Fund?


said, he thought the hon. Member was wrong in supposing that the officers did not contribute. They contributed and received gratuities in proportion to their pay and subscription. He believed there had been an officers' fund for sick pay.


asked, whether the accounts which the right hon. and gallant Gentleman proposed to lay before the House would show the amount given to officers separate from that given to the men?


said, he could not say whether the Return would give the items separately. He could not say how far the vouchers were available.


asked, whether the right hon. and gallant Gentleman would undertake to have the accounts produced before the Estimates were discussed?


I am afraid not; but I will do my best.


said, in that case he must refer to the subject on the Estimates.