§ MR. DE COBAIN (Belfast, E.)
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieu- 434 tenant of Ireland, Whether it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to bring in a Bill, during the present Session, to provide for the increase of the salaries of the Town Inspector and District Inspectors of Belfast; whether the Government had made a proposal to the Municipal Authorities of Belfast, as stated at the meeting of the Corporation on the 2nd instant, to bear half the cost of such increases; and, as the feeling of almost the entire ratepaying class of that town is opposed to such increases, would the Government undertake to postpone any action in relation to the matter till a town meeting had been called in a suitable place to consider the question; and, would the Government afford facilities for the passing into law of a measure to substitute for the present most inefficient force one similar in its constitution and control to the Dublin Metropolitan Police Force, or the police forces existing in other great English and Scotch towns, if not during the present Session, at least as early as possible in the Session of next year?
§ THE LORD MAYOR OF DUBLIN (Mr. SEXTON) (Belfast, W.)
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether his attention has been directed to a letter, of the 23rd of May last, from the Inspector General of the Royal Irish Constabulary to the Town Clerk of Belfast, indicating his intention to suggest that "power should be obtained from Parliament this Session, if possible," to make a charge upon the municipal rates of Belfast in respect of certain proposed increases of salary to the Town Inspector and District Inspectors of Constabulary stationed there; whether it is the intention of the Government to propse such legislation; and, whether the ratepayers of Belfast have been afforded an opportunity of expressing opinion on the subject?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR) (Manchester, E.)
It is the case that the Inspector General of Constabulary has been in correspondence with the Town Council of Belfast concerning a proposed increase of the numbers of the Constabulary Force in the town, and an increase of the pay of the Town Inspector and the District Inspectors under him, and that the Inspector General proposed that a part of the extra charge should be defrayed out of local rates. The Town Council received the proposal favourably; but as legisla- 435 tion would be necessary for carrying it into effect, I cannot, in the present state of Business in the House, see any prospect of the matter being proceeded with this Session. The ratepayers of Belfast are, no doubt, fully aware of the discussions in the Town Council, and will have ample opportunity to express their views.