HC Deb 10 March 1890 vol 342 cc332-4
MR. DONAL SULLIVAN (Westmeath, S.)

I beg to ask the Attorney General for Ireland how many extra police are stationed in the County Westmeath, and at what cost to the ratepayers; what is the number of police allotted to the County Westmeath by the Police Regulations, and has the full number allowed by such Regulations been employed in the county before a tax for extra police was imposed upon the ratepayers; in view of the fact that the County of Westmeath is charged with extra police, will he have the attention of the Constabulary Authorities drawn to a charge delivered by Mr. Justice O'Brien, at Mullingar, on Monday, the 3rd March, on opening the Assize there; whether the learned Judge is correctly reported to have said, when addressing the Grand Jury— That they were perhaps all aware that the fact of their being re-sworn was a mere matter of form, as regarded any duties they had to perform with reference to the administration of the Criminal Law. There was no bill to go before them, and he was informed that such a circumstance had not happened for a period of more than 40 years before in this county. It was not alone an exceptional but an extraordinary circumstance, and in a county which once gave rise to special legislation on account of the crimes and disturbances that spread over it, and produced what was so well-known as that highly coercive code of law called the Westmeath Act—in this county crime mo longer survives—crime of any very grave or formidable character; whether, on this occasion, the Grand Jury presented Mr. Justice O'Brien with a pair of white gloves; and if he will now consider whether the employment of the extra police in the County of Westmeath can he given up?


The Constabulary Authorities have reported that the extra police force in the County Westmeath consisted of 26 men. Of these, however, 23 were appointed on the requisition of the magistrates for employment on ordinary police duties, so that there are only three remaining of the force which was appointed to the county in consequence of its former disturbed state. These three men are still employed in connection with personal protection. The charge for extra police to the county, according to the last published accounts for the year to the 30th September, 1889, is about £942, but as that includes five extra men who were removed from the county in January last, the present cost is appreciably less. The free quota of police authorised for the County Westmeath is 272 men, and, allowing for the usual percentage of vacancies for recruiting, the full strength has always been kept up. The Constabulary Authorities are aware of the terms of the learned Judge's address at the recent opening of the Assizes at Mullingar. It is the case that the learned Judge testified to the remarkable improvement in the condition of the county as regards crime, and that the Grand Jury presented MR. Justice O'Brien with a pair of white gloves. The Constabulary Authorities carefully watch the extra force in counties, and reductions are made whenever practicable.