§ CAPTAIN COLOMB (Tower Hamlets, Bow, &c.)
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, What is the strength of the Royal Irish Constabulary; what is the number of Roman Catholics in the Force; whether the Force is chiefly recruited from agricultural districts of Ireland, and largely composed of sons of tenant farmers in Ireland; what was the number of evictions in Ireland in each of the years 1882, 1883, 1884, 1885, and 1886, respectively; what was the number of applications for admission to the ranks of the Royal Irish Constabulary in each of those years respectively; and, whether Her Majesty's Government will consider the propriety of so amending the law that offences, such as firing a revolver, or other fire-arms, at members of that Force when discharging their duty with batons, may be dealt with by the same criminal tribunals in Great Britain as deal with similar offences against members of the English Police Force in the execution of their duty?
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. HOLMES)(who replied) said (Dublin University)
The present strength of the Royal Irish Constabulary is 12,554 men, of whom 9,205 are Roman Catholics, and the circumstances as to recruiting and the composition of the force are correctly stated in the Question. As to the number of evictions, the Government have no further information than that already before the House in the Returns periodically laid upon the Table. It is not practicable to tabulate the number of mere applications for admission to the Constabulary (which come 5 from all parts of the three kingdoms); but the number of accepted candidates was 3,344, 657, 512, 1,010, and 1,125 respectively in the five years mentioned. I fear that I do not quite understand the last paragraph. I am not aware of any difference between the law in Great Britain and in Ireland in regard to the matter referred to.