§ SIR T. ESMONDE (Dublin Co., S.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if any money has been paid from the Constabulary Force Fund to defray the expenses of the Royal Irish Constabulary sports in Dublin; and, if so, to what amount; whether there was originally a special fund for the officers of the Royal Irish Constabulary, which was wound up; and, if so, upon what grounds were the Royal Irish Constabulary officers allowed to share in the benefits of the Force Fund, which was specially established for the men; and if, in the case of a constable of the Royal Irish Constabulary who joined the Force prior to 1883, the Force Fund allowance is stopped from his pay whether he consent or not?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR, Manchester, E.)
The reply of the Constabulary authorities to the inquiry in the first paragraph of the question is in the negative. A private Friendly Society known as the Constabulary Officers' Widows Fund was at one time started by some of the officers, but not realising the expectations of its founders they wound it up. That fund was in no sense official, and had no connection with the Constabulary Force Fund. The latter fund was never confined to the men, but, on the contrary, the Acts of Parliament governing the fund made it imperative for the officers equally with the men to become subscribers to the fund, with the consequential right to receive grants therefrom. It is the case that all officers and men who joined the Force prior to 1883 are under statute obliged to be subscribers to the fund so long as they are actually serving with the Force. Upon retiring on pension the subscription becomes voluntary.