HC Deb 29 July 1891 vol 356 cc646-89

1. Motion made, and Question proposed, That a sum, not exceeding £832,700, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1892, for the Expenses of the Royal Irish Constabulary.

(12.25.) MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)

I would invite every Unionist who is confident in the success of the administration of the Chief Secretary to examine this Vote. He will discover from it that in proportion as we become poorer in Ireland—and we have become more poor from year to year—the cost of the police increases; that in proportion to the decrease of the population the more it costs to manage us; and that the fewer there are of us in the country the more police we require. My hon. Friend the Member for Waterford (Mr. Webb), in the careful and weighty speech which he delivered last night, reminded the Committee of various facts which, if they are fully brought to the knowledge of the public, will, I think, tend to surprise, if not to shock, the public mind. Very few people in this country are really aware of the light which the cost of the Royal Irish Constabulary really throws upon the optimist speeches of the Unionists as to the pretence of giving popular suffrage and a secret vote to a people, and yet continuing to govern them against their will. My hon. Friend reminded us of the condition of this force at the time it was constituted by Sir Robert Peel. Fifty years ago, when O'Connell was conducting the Repeal agitation, in the midst of great excitement, you had a state of circumstances in active operation, which produced political agitation and social unrest. At that time the population of Ireland was double its present number, and the Police Force was only 8,000 strong and its cost only £400,000 a year. The Police Force now, relatively to what it was in 1841, has trebled, and the cost has absolutely quadrupled. If you compare the population and cost now with what they were in 1841 you will find that the cost is eight times as much as it was. I admit that you may have achieved considerable success in governing yourselves for your own purposes, and that you may have been successful colonists; but so far as Ireland is concerned, after 20 generations of English rule, there is no more deplorable or scandalous failure on the part of one people ruling another in the whole history of the world than that presented by English rule in Ireland. You are not the only race whose destiny it is to govern another race. France has its colonies, as also have Spain, Germany, and to some extent Russia, whose rule you have been in the habit of condemning in unmeasured terms. I say nothing of the Chief Secretary personally. The right hon. Gentleman is the heir to a system, but I am bound to say that he took very kindly to it. It certainly did not appear to do much violence to his nature to take up the police system in Ireland and to exaggerate its worst features. I hope that the experience which has now been gained, and the knowledge driven home to the public mind of the country, will have conclusively shown what the effect of the system has been. It has been made by this time pretty clear that the present system of government in Ireland and its chief instrument—the Constabulary—are inappropriate to the circumstances of the country. I said that the Chief Secretary has taken kindly to the administration of affairs in Ireland. We have had to complain of previous Ministers, but in my 11 years' experience in this House I can recollect no Minister who has carried the system to such extreme lengths as the right hon. Gentleman. The ill success which has attended English Government in Ireland lies in the fact that the English Parliament have deliberately chosen to hold and govern Ireland, not for the good of the people, but for the good of the garrison—of the faction they have planted there, and in whom they concentrate all social influence and political power. Nobody has carried to such lengths as the right hon. Gentleman the evils of the police system by rewarding those members of the Force who have been most violent, most insolent, and most unscrupulous. From first to last, in his five years' administration, the right hon. Gentleman has opposed a blunt refusal to all demands made by Members of this House for inquiry into the conduct of members of the Police Force which have been made by Representatives of the people. I claim that, when a Representative of the Irish people asks for an inquiry and declares his ability to tender evidence, the Minister ought to grant that inquiry. The rule of the right hon. Gentleman may have been simple and convenient for a time, but it is a rule which must inevitably involve serious results, and results which will be felt by the Party to which he belongs before long. The refusal to inquire into every case of misconduct charged against the police is unjust to the Force itself. The doubt which exists as to the identity of an offender discredits the entire Force, and tends to exasperate the feeling of the people. If an inquiry were granted, the character of the Force would not suffer, and if, during the past five years, the right hon. Gentleman had acceded to our demands for inquiry, I am sure the result would not have been injurious to his administration. A different policy has been steadily pursued, and not always in the most courteous manner. There was one case—that of Captain Segrave, a Police Magistrate—in which inquiry was not refused; but it was conceded by the Under Secretary for the Colonies, and not by the Chief Secretary, and the result was that Captain Segrave was drummed out of the British Service. The right hon. Gentleman has not been content with refusing an inquiry, but, whenever a person has succeeded in a Court of Law in obtaining a verdict against the police, the right hon. Gentleman has not hesitated to spend the public money in feeing counsel for the purpose of preventing that verdict from achieving its full result. In one case the ends of justice were defeated by the free use of the Public Purse, and a verdict was obtained, not on the merits of the case, but upon technical points of law. Indeed, the right hon. Gentleman has gone further than any previous Minister, or than any Minister who is likely to follow him in the short period that remains of direct Imperial administration of the Police Force in Ireland, in teaching the subordinates of the Government that they may do wrong with impunity. The effect of the policy of the right hon. Gentleman has been to teach the subordinates of the Police Force that the man who distinguishes himself in brutal attacks upon the people, or by insolence to Members of Parliament, is certain of appreciation and promotion. Possibly the hour is growing too late for the right hon. Gentleman to introduce any material change, or to recover the Police Force from the deterioration it has suffered by reason of the policy he has adopted. As the right hon. Gentleman entertains the conviction that the condition of Ireland is now satisfactory, there are two or three practical ways in which he may usefully act in regard to the Constabulary Force. It is now the practice of some of the constabulary to watch farms where evictions are about to be effected, and to take pains to see that nothing is removed. Now, that is not the purpose for which the police are paid. I have noticed the extremely intelligent readiness with which the officials in Ireland have guided their conduct by any public speech of the right hon. Gentleman. The Army of the great Napoleon were never more ready to carry out the proclama- tions issued to them than an Inspector of Irish Constabulary is to carry out any hint which may be conveyed in a public speech of the right hon. Gentleman. He has done a great deal of harm by his public speeches. There are some members of the Force who constitute themselves amateur bailiffs. That is not a purpose for which the police are paid, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will be able to tell us that the police will not in future be employed in that way. Irish Members have more than once referred to the question of numbering the police. We have made this claim year after year, and year after year it has been met with indifference. But I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that from time to time we shall continue to make those claims which we consider to be just. How is it that the police are not numbered in Ireland? I think it is because the Irish Government wish the police to understand that individual members of the Force are to be at liberty to indulge in illegal violence and in attacks upon public right, without being liable, as in other countries, to the ordinary means of identification. Not long ago a body of Dublin Police were sent to Tipperary and had the numbers removed from their collars before they were sent away. As a matter of fact, they were sent out to beat the people and to commit illegal acts. Nothing could more clearly have explained that they were expected to break the law than the removal of their numbers. Not only are the men not numbered; but if any attempt is made to secure the identification of a particular constable every obstacle is placed in the way, and all the resources of the law are exhausted to defeat the course of justice. I therefore repeat the demand that the Irish Constabulary shall be numbered. With regard to the charge for extra police, it falls very heavily on the poorer occupiers in Irish counties. It is an expedient worthy only of Turkish administration. How does the Chief Secretary reconcile the declaration he has made as to the peaceful state of Ireland with the fact that a charge of £60,000 appears on the Estimates for "extra police"? The right hon. Gentleman tells us that from year to year the state of Ireland has been getting better, and yet the charge for extra police remains at the same dead-level. Why should such a charge continue to be levied after the country has returned to its ordinary peaceful condition? I hope to receive an assurance from the right hon. Gentleman that the charge for extra police will now disappear. As an illustration of the maladministration of which I complained, I will refer to the recommendation of the Judicial Commission, which sat to in-inquire in to the Belfastriots five years ago, before the present Administration took Office, and which resulted in the loss of 36 lives and the destruction of £30,000 or £40,000 worth of property, besides keeping the city in a state of civil war for three months. The recommendation of the Commission—a recommendation which has been treated by the right hon. Gentleman with the most sublime contempt—was to the effect that central barracks should be erected in that town, both on sanitary and military grounds. As if to emphasise the condition of the barracks an epidemic broke out, and the constabulary force suffered considerably from it. I am not aware that any lives were lost, but there was a serious amount of illness. Is it too much to have expected that after the unanimous recommendation of the Commission, and after the breaking out of a serious epidemic, a central barracks would have been provided? I have put questions upon the subject time after time, both to the Chief Secretary and to the Secretary to the Treasury, and have been put off with plausible replies. Will the Committee believe that, although the recommendation was made five years ago and the money voted by Parliament three years ago, not a stone has yet been laid. Apparently, the reason, or at least one of the excuses, for the delay is that if part of the site which the Board of Works have acquired from the Corporation was cleared at once the tenants of that part would be entitled to £3,000 compensation from a Mr. James Musgrave. There are two pieces of land contiguous to each other, which I may call plots A and B. In the first instance, plot B was selected as the site for the station; but after a letter from Mr. Musgrave pointing out how he was affected, the site was removed to plot A, plot B being selected for the offices and stables. The object was perfectly clear, namely, to proceed with the barracks without disturbing the tenants on plot B. But although three years have elapsed, and the plot has been cleared, not a stone of the barracks has been laid. As one of the Representatives of Belfast, I have felt it my duty to ask several questions in reference to this extraordinary state of things. In February last I asked what had been done, and how soon the building would be erected, and the purport of the answer was that the plot had not been conveyed until a year ago, and that progress would be made as rapidly as possible. This was in February; it is now the end of July, and nothing has yet been done. On the 2nd of March I asked the Secretary to the Treasury if the entire site had been taken over and when the works would be commenced, and the reply was that the whole of the second plot had not yet been taken possession of, but that arrangements had been made for proceeding with the buildings upon plot B at the same time as the building of the barracks. That was on the 2nd of March, but I am in a position to say that long before that date Mr. James Musgrave had been in communication both with the Board of Works and the Constabulary authorities. The authorities now are so anxious not to touch plot B that they will not begin with plot A for fear of being obliged to proceed with the building on the other plot. I have spoken of the reply given here on March 2nd, and on the 25th the Inspector General of Constabulary wrote to the tenants, replying to a letter from the latter, in which he said the answer given in Parliament was at variance with the arrangements for building (his own); that these arrangements would not be departed from, and that it would be a considerable time before the portion of the central site in the occupation of the tenants would be required, the date to be fixed when the building on the other plot was more advanced. Then there was, on the 4th June, a remarkable letter from the architect of the Board of Works, in which he stated that what had been done by the Constabulary authorities had been done with full knowledge on their part, and that the Board of Works had no responsibility in the matter, casting every responsibility on the Inspector General of Constabulary, who had thrown over the answer of the Secretary to the Treasury. I do not suppose for a moment that the right hon. Gentleman was cognizant of these proceedings; but what I complain of is that when Parliament had voted the money for these buildings three years ago the Police Authorities, to the detriment of the public interest, delayed proceeding with the work to promote the interest of one of two private interests concerned. I regard this as a scandalous proceeding. I can put no other construction upon it than that certain officials of the Corporation of Belfast or of Dublin Castle to the detriment of the public interest, and disregarding the recommendation of the Commission, are allowing public money to waste for the sake of interfering between private interests to the benefit of one of these interests, and to the injury of the other. I trust I have said enough to induce the right hon. Gentleman to give a reply, the emphasis of which shall not be mistaken, and which will show the Board of Works and the Constabulary authorities that the whole of the buildings necessary for the concentration of the whole Constabulary Force under one roof should be proceeded with without further delay.


The speech of the hon. Gentleman divides itself into two parts—the second part dealing with a rather complicated transaction, and one chiefly of local interest. I am not sure that I am in possession of detailed knowledge for dealing quite fully with that part of the hon. Gentleman's speech, but I think I can give the Committee briefly such an explanation as may be sufficient to show how the matter stands. The site for the Police Barracks, as the hon. Gentleman has stated, consists of two parts obtained from the Corporation, those two parts being subject to different private rights—the eastern portion, or plot A, and the western portion, or plot B. The latter is subject to complicated private arrangements, rendered more complicated because both parties to the arrangements have the same name. The one is Musgrave & Co. (Limited), and the other Musgrave Brothers. Musgrave & Co. (Limited) are anxious to be disturbed in order to get the £3,000 or £4,000 which Musgrave Brothers would, according to agreement, have to pay them if they were put out before a certain time, and the latter are anxious that Musgrave & Co. (Limited) should not be disturbed, so that they should not have to pay the money. The charge, I understand, against the Government in relation to this matter is twofold. One charge against the Government is that there has been undue delay since the Report of the Commission and since the site was granted to the Constabulary by the Corporation; and a second charge is that a concession has been made against the public interest to Musgrave Brothers to save them from paying £3,000 or £4,000 to Musgrave & Co. (Limited). As to the first charge, I am assured that the delay which has occurred is due to the fact that the Corporation did not hand over the site in time, and that when they did hand it over it was subject to certain complications which delayed the starting of the works. I am informed that the work is now under contract, and, therefore, I assume that no further delay will occur. As to the transaction between Musgrave Brothers and Musgrave & Co. (Limited), I am informed that the police have kept themselves quite impartial between the parties, and that, in spite of the allegations to the contrary, the building for the men was always intended to be erected on the eastern and not on the western site, on plot A, and not on plot B.


The first plans were drawn in the contrary way.


I am distinctly informed that the building for the men was intended to be on plot A, and was to be erected before the stables, which were to be on plot B, and that no change in that respect has been made.


The statement I have given on the authority of Musgrave & Co. is, that in the original plans the buildings on the B, or western site, were to be proceeded with, but in order to save the pockets of Musgrave Brothers the Board of Works and the Constabulary authorities had the plans so altered that the buildings on the A plot are to be provided for the men, and the stables on B, and the Inspector General reported that stables in the neighbourhood could be secured for a couple of years.


The hon. Gentleman states with accuracy the contention of Musgrave & Co., and I am far from accusing them of wilful misstatement, but, of course, they are an interested party and want to get the fine under agreement. This statement is in direct contradiction to that of the Constabulary authorities, that the alleged change of plan really never took place. I state the facts as they are represented to me, and if the hon. Member desires further information on the matter I shall be happy to obtain it. I pass to the more general part of the speech of the hon. Gentleman, which followed on the lines previously recapitulated by another hon. Gentleman last night, and turned in the main on the increased cost of the Police Force during the last 50 or 60 years, during which he is quite correct in saying the population of Ireland has undergone a large diminution. While no doubt the population of Ireland has largely diminished during the last 50 or 60 years, I know of no statistics indicating that the prosperity of the country has otherwise than steadily increased in spite of the temporary difficulties agriculture had to meet in the disastrous years 1878–83. To argue that crime has increased because more money has been spent on the police is to ignore the plainest lesson of contemporary history. There was a time when a few worn-out old watchmen sufficed for police purposes in London. I do not know what the cost in proportion to population was; but whatever it was, I know it represents but a small fraction of that which the ratepayers now have to spend on the Metropolitan Police Force. The fact is, that the requirements of the community have enormously increased. It will be found that while crime—I am speaking of the United Kingdom—has steadily diminished and every element of prosperity has augmented, such diminution of crime and such augmentation of prosperity have not been accompanied by any lessening in the expenditure on police. I have not, I admit, prepared myself to verify these generalisations as to the cost of police in Great Britain; but I feel quite sure that if the present century were taken as the basis of comparison it would be found that, in spite of and partly in consequence of the great social improvement that has taken place, more has to be exacted from the Police Force, and their wages and numbers have increased. I think it would be a fair comparison to take a relatively brief period in which the demands on the police have not undergone any great change, in order to base a comparison of the present condition of Ireland with a time when different conditions prevailed, and I think the result of such comparison would not be so unsatisfactory as hon. Gentlemen appear to suppose. The hon. Gentleman has asked me about the numbers of the force. In Ireland there is a fixed Force of 10,006 men, paid for entirely out of the Imperial Exchequer. There is an additional force, called the extra force, which is sent into the counties as each county may require it. For this Force each county pays. The hon. Gentleman seems to be under the impression that this extra force is to remain unaltered. That is not altogether the case. On January 1, 1887—that was immediately before the Crimes Act came into operation—the number of this extra force was 1,552. The total on July 1 of this year was 1,166, being a decrease of nearly 400, and I believe that I shall be able to make a further reduction of 92 immediately, and that will bring the decrease up to nearly 500.


Does the right hon. Gentleman intend to keep an extra force anywhere outside districts where Section 2 remains in full force?


No doubt some extra force will be there required. But I will read the list of counties. On July 1, 1890, there were 144 extra police in Clare, and this number it is not proposed to reduce. In the East Riding of Cork there were 200; there are now 155—a diminution of 45, which I hope will be further reduced. In the West Riding of Cork there were 81 in 1890; there are now 68, and I hope for a further reduction. In Donegal there is apparently an increase, 30 more now than there were in 1890. In the East Riding of Galway there were 90 last year, and we propose to reduce the number by 10. In the West Riding of Galway, 15 last year, now 10, which we propose to remove. In Kerry last year 300, now 35, to be further reduced by 10. In Kilkenny 20 last year, and thus the present number will be reduced this year. In Leitrim the number of 18 will remain unaltered, as also in Limerick, 172. In Longford the number of last year, 30, is now reduced to 23, and we propose to reduce that number by 7. In Meath there are 10. In Roscommon we propose to reduce the present number of 20 to 15. In Sligo, the 15 last year has been reduced to 4, and will so remain. In the North Riding of Tipperary no change is proposed from the number of 21. In the South Riding of Tipperary there are still the 100 that were there last year, though we have hope that the settlement of the controversies there will enable us to make a reduction. In Waterford the 20 of last year remain. In Westmeath there were 26 in 1890, there are now 23. In Wexford the total is 25. The general result of the changes is that while in 1890 there were 1,327 extra police employed, reductions have been made this year to the number of 161, and further reductions will increase the diminution to 253. It will, therefore, be seen that the hon. Gentleman is not accurate in supposing that no diminution in this force has taken place. It cannot, of course, be altogether withdrawn, as protection still has to be given in places where agrarian troubles still exist. It would not be possible to remove them all without endangering the personal safety of individuals who may be unpopular in the locality. Passing from that point, the hon. Gentleman criticised generally the system which places the police force under the Government, and declared that the police are unpopular with the people. The men are drawn from the small tenant class in Ireland, and I believe that, in spite of all that has been said, they are an extremely popular force generally in the community, not only in the country, but also in the towns. Of course, it is true, and it was inevitable, that the collisions between police and people during the last 10 years have excited some ill-feeling, but this is rapidly subsiding. As a matter of fact, the most friendly relations exist between the people and the police. There remains now the question of the centralisation of the force. I am one of those who think that it would be most inconvenient that the police force should be more decentralised. In England the Police Force has grown up, and been evolved from a local basis, but there are some disadvantages attaching to the system, and I am disposed to think that if we had to deal with the subject afresh the police would not in this country, or in Scotland be a purely local body. I am perfectly certain that in Ireland it is necessary to have the police as centralised as possible, if the law is to be properly administered. It cannot be placed at the service of the local majority. The conditions existing amongst the Irish people are such that I do not believe it would be for the safety of the minority to put the administration of the police in the hands of the local majority. I do not believe that under any measure of Local Self-Government in Ireland it will be possible with safety to the minority, either in the North or in the South, to alter the centralised system now existing in Ireland; and I believe I am right in saying that, as far as the North is concerned, in Belfast a change was made from the former to the present system for the very purpose of protecting the Catholic minority in 1864. The force ought, I think, to be the pride of every Irishman, and I am sure that those gentlemen who look forward to the period when changes are to take place in the Government of Ireland—when a new heaven and a new earth are to be established in that country—should be the last to wish to see any alteration made either in form or in substance in the Royal Irish Constabulary. As to numbering the force, there would be, I am informed, considerable inconvenience in adopting any such system in the case of a force which is spread over the whole country. Every effort is always made to identify any individual constable against whom complaints are made, and while I should never endeavour to shield any member of the force against whom a breach of the law is alleged, when a man is made the subject of attack, not because he has done anything wrong, but because he belongs to an unpopular minority, I shall spare no pains in defending him.

(1.35.) MR. T. M. HEALY (Longford, N.)

I do not propose to enter into the general question of the localisation of the Police Force. When we come to deal with the question of Local Government in Ireland, then will be the time to refer to the topic. I hardly think the right hon. Gentleman would be so warm in his praise of the centralised system if administration were in the hands of a Government hostile to his views. I think it was from the friends of the Party opposite that the nickname of "Morley's murderers" came. As to the question of numbering, the right hon. Gentleman has based his allusion on the fact of frequent removals of the police from one county to another, but, strictly speaking, that is not the custom. It is only on special occasions, as for instance, when the July fever breaks out in Ulster that the police are sent out of their own county, and, of course, there is the instance of the Cork police being sent to Tipperary. When the police are strangers in the district it seems to me the more necessary that they should wear a badge by which they may be identified. A number of police were removed from Cork to Tipperary, and when they arrived in the latter county the officer in charge stripped off the numbers from their collars. That, I contend, was a very sinister act on the part of the officer. In this pianissimo discussion, and under the pressure of the desire to wind up the business of the Session, I do not propose to go at length into the question of extra police, but I must express my disappointment at the statement of the right hon. Gentleman. In a much harassed county like Clare, of course, there will continue to be agitation when you continue to apply this blister in the shape of extra police. No wonder the people are irritated when you keep this dog collar round their necks. Are there any outrages to justify the extra force in Longford? Indeed, I think the peace of the county has been the cause why the rents have not in that county been reduced to the extent they have been elsewhere. Why is Kilkenny still to have extra police? There is no necessity for it, the county being a peaceable one. Take Waterford also. We know that just now the County Court Judge there is not popular with the Government, because he is continually saying that his county is in a state of profound peace. When it was the cue of the Government to say that there was disorder and when they used to endeavour to extract an admission from him, he used to say there was no such thing on the principle "Canst thou play upon this pipe?" We know very well that the popularity of a County Court Judge with the Government depends sometimes upon the way he answers when he is asked if there is disorder in his district. You still keep up your extra police in Waterford, and it is, I must say, a strange doctrine to lay down, that, whether a district is quiet or not, whether it is proclaimed or not—whether the Chief Secretary is to be represented as a Hercules struggling with the demon of disorder, or a Cherub pouring down blessings from a cornucopia on the people of Ireland—the extra police must be kept up. That is a position we must enlarge upon. The County Government scheme must deal with the question of additional police. It is the county that pays for them and the grand jury that plants them in the county. The Irish ratepayer has as much right to be heard on this question as the English ratepayer, I have never heard a more lucid exposition of the exact facts with regard to the police force than that of the hon. Member for West Waterford (Mr. Webb) and I think we are indebted to him for the great pains and trouble he has bestowed on the question. My hon. Friend the Member for Belfast (Mr. Sexton) has not extracted from the Government any information about the Messrs. Musgrave.


I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman on that point whether we are to understand that the barracks are to be completed before the officers' quarters are begun, or are they to be completed at the same time?


I gather that that is not so. What I understand to be the policy pursued is that the accommodation for the men is to be completed first.


I understand that there were two contracts originally, and that only one of them is to be gone on with. That is a very unsatisfactory position of affairs. What we want is to see the law take its course. When you have the money of the taxpayers in your pocket for the purpose of building, you should proceed with the contract. I know nothing about the Musgraves, but I take it that one of them must be a Freemason, inasmuch as he has been able to get the Government to postpone the contract, as I understand a start is not to be made with the work until May, 1893. Lord Salisbury fixed the date of the dissolution at the end of August this year, but I understand he now expects it next year. This may be comforting intelligence to the non-Masonic Messrs. Musgrave, as it may be that in the end the fine military strategies that have been indulged in will fail. I would suggest to the Government that in this matter the best course would be to take the straight and narrow path, and see whether progress cannot be at once made with the barracks. The right hon. Gentleman said we ought to be proud of our countrymen in the Police Force. I am generally proud of my countrymen whether they are in uniform or not, and I see no particular reason to be proud of that section of it that is coated in blue. I do not think we have any reason to be proud of that section of our countrymen who have just come from Oxford or Cambridge, who are just growing the ends of their moustaches, and who, being placed in charge of 200 or 300 men, go about swashing their long swords at people. I may say that we have great difficulty in understanding what they say on account of their English pronunciation. We have no complaint to make, as a rule, of the Dublin Force, and the reason is that that force is officered with men drawn from the ranks. As soon as a poor constable gets promoted to a position of an officer in the Royal Irish Constabulary he is called a "ranker," he is insulted, and he cannot obtain admission to the moustachioed intercourse of the Oxford and Cambridge men. I have always thought that if the men in the ranks were allowed a proper share of promotion you would not have these frequent complaints about the conduct of the police. I wish to bring under the notice of the Committee the way in which, in a recent case in the County of Leitrim, an officer addressed one of his men. District Inspector Rogers had been distinguishing himself at Petty Sessions by an extraordinary series of observations all through a case in which a poor constable named Dunn was proceeding against a man for running over his (the constable's) son. District Inspector Rogers said he was told that the child was hardly injured at all, and would be all right in a few days. The poor father then said the District Inspector was not aware of the position his child was in, and that it was a serious matter. District Inspector Rogers then said, vehemently, "Dunn, Dunn, be silent. Dunn, do you refuse to obey me? Dunn, leave the Court. March out of Court, Dunn." The constable left the Court, but, at the request of the solicitor engaged on his behalf, was asked to come back, and District Inspector Rogers them said, "Come back now, when you have learned manners." Dr. Bradshaw, one of the Magistrates, then said," You must remember this is a Court, Mr. Rogers," and the District Inspector replied, "I am not going to let it be a bear-garden." The Magistrate said it was a most unfortunate case, and then the great Rogers turns round once more and says that this man Dunn showed he had no discipline at all, because he turned round and contradicted him, the Inspector. I would point out to the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, that if, during the Recess, he should be in want of a day's amusement he will find it in the humours of this man Rogers. Another point to which I would call attention is the action taken by the police with regard to engine drivers who may have happened to have run over some one upon the railways. The moment such an accident happens the engine driver is taken from his engine and kept under arrest. Of course, it is quite right for the police to endeavour to get at the facts in these cases, but it should be remembered that these men are very respectable mechanics, and that they are placed in responsible positions, and that most of them have gone through a long and severe course of daily toil in the service of the people. Speaking, I hope, for both England and Ireland, I might say that a better body of men do not exist in the service of either country than the men who are responsible for the working of the railway engines. Moreover, the accidents are exceedingly few, and the travelling public are much indebted to these men for their general safety. I therefore put in a plea on behalf of these men. I will give a case which has been specially brought to my knowledge. In a narrow cutting between Mallow and Cork a man running a light engine from Dublin ran into a party of labourers, and the result was that two deaths occurred. It would, of course, be absurd to suggest that an engine driver would wilfully run over his fellow servants. The man himself reported the facts on his arrival at Cork, and I do not complain that he was immediately arrested. What I complain of is that having been a long day's journey he was kept under arrest till seven o'clock the next morning without bail. Surely the Government or the police ought to be empowered to take the bail of the stationmaster or some person responsible to the company for the appearance of the man arrested under these circumstances, because it may have been a case of suicide or of something which the engine driver could not possibly have prevented. At any rate some relaxation of the rule ought to be accorded. It sometimes happens that a driver runs over a man without knowing it, that blood is found upon the engine, and the engine driver is arrested. Another point to which I desire to call attention is the action of the Government in the case of Messrs. Dillon and O'Brien. I am glad that the Government have seen their way to withhold the estreating of the bail in the case of one gentleman, and I trust they will reconsider the matter, and remit the amount estreated in the other case. Next Session I shall take the first opportunity afforded me on this Vote to refer to this question, and I think in the meantime the Chancellor of the Exchequer would do well to consider whether it would not be desirable to remit these penalties.

(2.10.) COLONEL NOLAN (Galway, N.)

I desire to call attention to the question of numbering the Irish Constabulary. The Chief Secretary has already given an answer on that subject, which, however, I do not think very satisfactory. The necessity for numbering these men arises in consequence of the difficulty of recognising or identifying them when they are charged with misconduct. The person aggrieved simply sees a number of men all dressed and helmeted exactly alike, and for the most part wearing moustachios, the general resemblance being so strong that it is difficult to recognise any partticular individual. Of course, there are differences in the colour of the hair, and of the eyes, but in a case where a man is engaged in a fierce onslaught upon the people, his eyes would assume a very different expression from that which they would bear when he was drawn up with others on parade. I think the question is one which might fairly commend itself to the Government. It is evident, however, that the Government do not want to furnish the means of identification, although even to Magistrates at Petty Sessions it would be a great convenience to have the men numbered, so that they might be remembered from time to time. The Chief Secretary has told us that the Irish Constabulary Force is very popular in Ireland. That may be true in one sense. No doubt it is popular amongst those who want to get into the force, because the Constabulary get splendid retiring pensions, far higher than our soldiers or sailors, or than certain grades of the Civil Service. I do not complain of this, but I deny that in a broad sense the Irish Constabulary are a popular body. They certainly are not popular in my own county, where they prosecute the licensed victuallers most unnecessarily, sometimes no doubt through the excess of zeal. I admit that as far as their physical and mental attributes go, they would make admirable non-commissioned officers for any Army in the world. I cannot understand how any hon. Member could refuse money for the Dublin Police, but in connection with the Irish Constabulary the case is different. I make it a rule never to refuse Imperial grants for Irish purposes, the exception being in the case of the Irish Constabulary. If a reduction of the Vote is moved for I shall support it, because I believe that the £1,400,000 charged in connection with this force is a bad bargain for Ireland. The contribution of £63,000 which we make towards the cost of the police being thrown exclusively upon the occupiers is equivalent to £126,000 in England, where I am informed there are many counties in which the police cost no more than the amount contributed by the Imperial Exchequer. [Mr. MADDEN: No, no!] That, at any rate, is the information I have received. At any rate, the charge borne by the occupiers in Ireland is out of proportion to the charge made for police purposes in England whore the ratepayers get considerable relief from the police burden. No doubt the Irish Police Force as a mixed body of military and police are much superior to the Police Force of England. They acquire a military training, and would act on occasion as an excellent Army Division; but I doubt whether they are of more use for purely police purposes than the rural police of England, and I do not think the country gets full value for this £1,400,000. I contend that the greater part of that sum ought to be charged to the Army Estimates, because it is its military constitution which differentiates the Irish constabulary from the English rural police. In Ireland the police are studiously separated from the people. They are housed in police barracks, and kept as much as possible from general contact with the community. I do not know that these are not sensible rules under the circumstances: but it certainly would seem as if they were in a semi-hostile country, where they ought not to be allowed to be in close association with the people. I have thought it desirable to call attention to these matters, because this question of financial relations is constantly cropping up, and whenever we come to settle the terms of Home Rule, it will be one of the essential points of the negotiation.

*(2.25.) MR. H. J. WILSON (York, W.R., Holmfirth)

I desire briefly to refer to one point which has already been brought forward in this Debate. I allude to the question of numbering the Irish police, which I think deserves some more definite answer than has been given by the Chief Secretary. Undoubtedly, if these men were frequently moved from one part of Ireland to another there might be some difficulty in arranging the numbers, but I cannot see why this should create any more difficulty in Ireland than in London, where, whenever a disturbance is expected, or some great function is going on, the police are brought from all parts of the Metropolis to districts to which they do not belong. Nevertheless, if any question occurs as to misconduct or excess of duty on the part of the Metropolitan police, there is no difficulty in identifying the men. Granting, for the sake of argument, that there may be a practical difficulty in arranging a definite system, I do not think it would much matter if there were no system. If a man has a letter or number upon his uniform, by which he can be identified, it is sufficient for those who wish to identify him to know that he is A 1, or Z 500, and that he has committed some act or deed which is complained of, and there need be no difficulty in ascertaining who they are, and what part of the country they come from. I can hardly think the Chief Secretary can himself be satisfied by the answer he has given. If he would call on his subordinates to present some scheme for dealing with this matter the difficulties would speedily vanish, and this question set at rest. In regard to the state of Ireland, the Chief Secretary is continually talking about the improvement which has taken place. If there is any foundation for his assertions, will he explain the necessity for an item of £800 which appears, in this Vote for the purchase of ammunition for the police? If disputes have ceased to occur, what is the ammunition for? It is perfectly true that the police occasionally shoot down people in Ireland, but even for the number of persons killed or wounded a very large amount of ammunition is not required, and, seeing that for £800 something like 266,000 rounds of ball cartridge might be purchased, I think we ought to have some explanation of the necessity for this expenditure in that happy and tranquil Ireland, of which the Primrose Dames hear so much from the Chief Secretary.

*(2.33.) MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)

I cannot help thinking that the character of the present Debate goes far to prove that the condition of Ireland to-day compares very favourably with what it was a few years ago. There have not been the customary references to baton charges.


There have been none lately.


That is exactly my point. The Debate has been chiefly addressed to the question of the Examination Papers for the Royal Irish Constabulary, instead of, as usual, to the action of the police.


And to the expense of the force.


Yes. The fact that we have been able to discuss these matters instead of dealing with riots and baton charges as in past years proves that the state of Ireland has vastly improved compared with a year or two ago. Now, I concur with hon. Members below the Gangway that the men of the Royal Irish Constabulary should be numbered. They are numbered in Belfast and Cork, and I do not see why they should not be in other parts of the country. If the right hon. Gentleman chose to instruct his subordinates at the Castle, a system of numbering sufficient for purposes of identification could easily be introduced, but if this proposal continues to be resisted, then I say, it will be open to the public to accuse the Government of desiring not to have the police identified when they come into collision with the people. The hon. Member for Longford (who spoke in a very low tone scarcely audible to anyone except those on the Front Bench) expressed a hope that as the Government had exempted one of the Tipperary sureties from his legal obligation, and that the Treasury would recoup to the other sureties the money that had been recovered. No doubt that proposal will receive favourable consideration at the hands of the Government. May I back it up by bringing this fact to the notice of the Chief Secretary: that the one man who has been exempted from payment of his bond was the man who perhaps more than any one else, was responsible for the state of affairs in Tipperary, and that the other three sureties were also the very heart of the conspiracy. I have been disappointed to some extent by the speeches of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway. During the past year the police have had little else to do than to protect hon. Members from one another, and if any one has cause to be grateful to them, it surely is the hon. Member for Longford. Yet we have had no recognition of their services in this connection.

(2.38.) MR. FLYNN

The question of the Tipperary sureties is not relevant to the Vote now before the Committee, and, therefore, I will not deal with it. But I wish to point out that the Chief Secretary was placed in a very curious position in trying to answer the weighty speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Waterford last night. I believe that when the figures and statistics compiled with so much labour are placed before the country, a great and startling sensation will be created. My hon. Friend has shown how the cost of the Police Force has increased by leaps and bounds, and the Chief Secretary tried to meet his arguments by giving a historical retrospect, and by comparing the London Police Force of to-day with the ancient institution of "Charlies." But he did not deal with our argument that in a country where the people are not wealthy, and where the population has decreased by one-half, the cost of the Police Force has enormously increased. Surely a reference to the London Police affords no suitable comparison. My hon. Friend's figures went back to the year 1848. Let me reinforce his statistics with a few others dealing with the past 20 years. In 1871 the Estimate for the Royal Irish Constabulary and for the Dublin Police Force was £1,016,000; in 1881 it was £1,327,000, and in 1891 it was £1,543,796, or an increase of 50 per cent. in 20 years. Yet in that period the population has considerably decreased. That is a pregnant commentary on the entire system of Irish administration. Now, the cost of the police to the Irish population was, in 1871, 3s. 9d. per head. This year it amounts to 6s. 8d. per head, an increase of 80 per cent. Compare this figure with the cost in English towns. In Sunderland it is 1s. 5d. per head, in Leicester 1s. 9d., in Dundee 1s. 11d., in Leeds 2s. 3d., and in Birmingham 2s. 4d. Of course, we know that the Royal Irish Constabulary is more a military than a Police Force; it often acts as the landlords' bailiffs instead of attending to the detection and suppression of crime and to the establishment of order. It has been remarked that we have not in this Debate made many complaints against the police; but it must not be inferred that we have no cause for complaints; our abstinence is due rather to a desire not to prolong the Debate. We could, if we wished, instance scores of cases of police illegality and violence which have occurred during the past year. What I desire to do is to draw attention to the difference in the views of police duties taken in England and in Ireland. An English Magistrate had recently before him a constable charged with assaulting a man. The defence was that it was necessary for the policeman to use his truncheon, as the man was so disorderly; but the Magistrate held that the use of the weapon was not justifiable, and that a constable has no right to strike another man (except in self-defence) any more than a civilian has. If a similar principle were applied to Ireland we should not have so many brutal assaults committed. I should like to refer to one case of high-handed policy on the part of the police, and I only cite one, although many similar instances might be given. It occurred at Clonmel last October, and was in connection with a meeting of the Tenants' Defence Association. Bills were printed announcing the meeting, and the billsticker while distributing them was arrested by Sergeant Keogh. He was taken before the Magistrates, and the District Inspector stated that the man had been taken into custody for disseminating copies of a bill which he considered inimical to law and order. It was to the language of the placard, and not to the purpose of the meeting, that he took exception, for the bill called upon the men of Clonmel to rally to their leaders, despite the brutal coercion of the present Government. Surely it is a monstrous thing to arrest a man when he is pursuing his ordinary avocation. Fortunately my hon. Friend the Mayor of Clonmel heard of the matter, and attended the Court, which dismissed the charge on the spot. This case illustrates in a marked manner the insolence and illegality of the conduct of the police.

(2.50.) MR. A. J. BALFOUR

I hope that this discussion will soon be brought to an end. I will inquire into the points that have been raised, and I think we may—in view of the understanding come to last night—pass on to the consideration of the next Vote, which is one of considerable interest, and upon which I understand some important questions are to be raised.

MR. P. J. POWER (Waterford, E.)

It is, I suppose, impossible for the right hon. Gentleman to answer the question as to policemen being numbered, but I assure him it will be raised again on Report and on the Appropriation Bill. I do not think it can be said that we have debated this subject at un- reasonable length. We are justified in coming to the conclusion that the Government will not number the police because they object to the men who commit assaults being identified, and this is confirmed by the fact that when hon. Members of this House have asked for the names of constables whom they have seen committing assaults their demand has always been refused. The hon. Member for South Tyrone has referred to the fact that baton charges are not now the order of the day. Is not the real cause of the cessation of these outrages to be found in the fact that the Government do not now persist in their tyrannical policy, they do not hold Star Chamber inquiries or attempt to break up public meetings? Their cue now is that Ireland is peaceful, and the police have instructions to act accordingly. We know that the Police Force is an essentially Military Force. We do not object to the individuals so much as to the system under which they are governed. I have had two letters telling me that promotion in the ranks of the constabulary is almost impossible, and I think some steps-should be taken to remedy this. Unfortunately the Police Force is a Military Force kept in the country in order to terrorise the people. In Dumbarton there is one policeman to every 1,230 people, and in the county of Stirling one to 1,437; but in Ireland we have one to every 300, and the consequent burden is galling to the ratepayers. I am sorry to hear from the right hon. Gentleman that there is no intention to materially reduce the number of extra police in Ireland. I hold that many of the extra police are absolutely unnecessary, and that the burden falls heavily on the occupiers. Now, I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman what are his intentions with regard to the duties imposed upon the police by the Government recently, in sending round to shopkeepers to secure goods for boycotted people from tradesmen with whom the people boycotted have not been in the habit of dealing? They were sent round, of course, with a view to prosecuting shopkeepers who refused to sell. I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman about the system of shadowing which he has inaugurated. What is that system? About 10 policemen, as a rule, are told off to attend the different fairs in the County of Waterford, and they follow men that are supposed to give information as to boycotted cattle all over the fair and into houses and shops. Last year I was at a fair at Waterford with a young man, and the police stood up against me, listening to every word I said, and followed me through the fair, and through the town, and into the National Bank of Ireland, where we had business to transact. The right hon. Gentleman has said he considered the constable exceeded his duty in going into the bank, but he thought undue importance was attached to the fact. The right hon. Gentleman may think that because we happen to be Irishmen; but I ask whether any of his supporters would consider it of no importance to be dogged at a fair and about a town and into a bank? The right hon. Gentleman has almost destroyed some of the fairs in the South of Ireland by this system of shadowing. A friend of mine had a lot of stock in a fair in the South not long ago, and there were two detectives standing near them watching another lot of cattle, with the result that none of the buyers would go near the place, and my friend's cattle were not sold, although they were possibly the best lot in the fair. I should like to know what the right hon. Gentleman's policy in this respect is to be in the future. I myself never buy a lot of cattle without knowing where they come from, and I should consider myself justified in refusing to pay for cattle which turned out to be boycotted. This system of shadowing does not have the effect intended, but, at the same time, it is intolerable to be dogged by these constables when you are transacting your ordinary business. I beg to move a reduction of the Vote by £5,000.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £827,700, be granted for the said Service."—(Mr. P. J. Power.)

*(3.8.) MR. P. O'BRIEN (Monaghan, N.)

I entirely support the contention of my hon. Friend that the Police Force in Ireland is not efficient as far as strictly police duties are concerned. No doubt the Irish police are good marksmen, as many a family in Ireland has reason to know. But if you lose a rug off a car in Ireland, and give information of the loss at a police office, you will never recover the lost article, although if you go to the peasantry and tell them they will make every effort to find it for you. The fact is that the police cannot get information from the people because they are hated and distrusted by the people. Another reason why the police cannot succeed in the detection of crime is that their attention is devoted so much to watching politicians. The police are also used for driving out of their homes people in the same position as their fathers and mothers, and naturally the people hate them. The system adopted in England is very different. In Liverpool recently, when a firm of brewers sent bailiffs to take possession of a house illegally held by a manager, who resisted the attempt to get him out, and threw missiles through the windows at his besiegers, the police, on being applied to, refused to assist in taking possession. In Ireland any landlord may call on the police to assist him to evict. In Whit Week, 1890, I was in Cashel with the Members for East Mayo and North-East Cork. When we left our hotel to go to the telegraph office we were followed by nearly 100 policemen. When we came out of the telegraph office, we found a cordon of police outside it, and I noticed a policeman with his baton drawn, rushing at people and absolutely striking them. Some of the police followed people into shops until Inspector Shaw called them back. I told Inspector Shaw that one man was drunk, and asked him whether it was well to keep him in the ranks. The man answered in the presence of his officer, "We care little for your beggarly gang." I remarked that there was a stain on the man's collar which led me to believe that a number had been there. A policeman told me the man belonged to the Water-ford force, and when he went up to Cashel his number was taken off. These men's numbers were deliberately taken off in order that they might be free to smash whom they pleased. In Tipperary on the day before a number of policemen were brought up from the City of Cork, and their numbers were taken off. The very men who batoned the people in our presence were the men whose numbers had been taken off. On the 30th of June, 1889, I went from Cork, with a couple of lady friends, to Bandon Station to meet my hon. Friend the Member for North-East Cork (Mr. W. O'Brien). On my way down I saw the late Captain Plunket and District Inspector Concannon in charge of some police.


It is not in order to go into events that took place two years ago unless they have a direct bearing on the present Vote.


I respectfully accept your ruling, Mr. Chairman, but this matter has a direct bearing on the present Vote. While attempting to shake the hand of my hon. Friend the Member for North-East Cork, I was struck on the head by a policeman. I went outside the station, and there I was struck down with the butt end of a rifle and rendered insensible. The right hon. Gentleman has stated that everybody who has a grievance against the police has his remedy at law. I told the right hon. Gentleman that if he could help me to identify the officers who struck me I would proceed according to law. That is two years since, and I challenge the right hon. Gentleman even now to use the means at his disposal for procuring the identification of these country policemen. Of course, it was only a matter of my head being broken, but a couple of weeks ago a policeman who had been partially maimed by two Militiamen got £1,000 damages. I do not know what price to set on my cranium, but it has been useful to me, and I should like to keep it as a going concern. I should also like to take the opinion of a jury as to what it is worth. I have also to complain of the use made of the police in Ireland as jury-packers. Recently at Maryborough, pending the trial of the Donegal peasants charged with the murder of Police Inspector Martin, the officers of the police called in their men from the various stations, gave them copies of the jury panel, and told them to mark the religion and politics of each man, and to say whether he could be trusted by the Crown to give a verdict in accordance with the evidence. I have also to complain that the police are allowed on occasion to act as moonlighters. A constable by the name of Palmer was actually caught red-handed and given into the hands of the police in Tipperary. Sufficient time was, however, allowed to elapse before he was brought up to enable him to get right away and escape from the country. The Magistrates then sat and went through the farce of giving the man two months, when they knew he was safe in New York. I believe that what Palmer was caught in doing is being very generally done throughout Ireland. I will also give an instance of how the police act towards Irish and English Members who happen to be present at evictions. I happened to meet the hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. Hayes Fisher) when I was attending evictions in Donegal, and I noticed that he was always allowed to go inside the police cordon, and that whenever there was an awkward place he had, the use of a policeman's horse. I claim that I have as much right to be treated in that way as the hon. Member for Fulham. I press all these matters on the attention of the right hon. Gentleman, and I hope he will attempt to confine the police to what are strictly police duties.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Original Question again proposed.

(3.28.) MR. SEXTON

The reply of the right hon. Gentleman on the question of the extra force has been utterly unsatisfactory. My contention is that the extra force should only be retained in the one county where the Coercion Act is still continued fully in force. By the confession of the Government, there is not a shadow of a case for the continuance of the extra force elsewhere. I therefore move the reduction of the Vote by £65,000.

Motion made, and Question put, "That a turn, not exceeding £767,700, be granted for the said Service."—(Mr. Sexton).

The Committee divided:—Ayes 62; Noes 87.—(Div. List, No. 397.)

Original Question again proposed. (3.38.)

(4.0.) Question put, and agreed to.

2. Motion made, and Question proposed, That a sum, not exceeding £97,121, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1892, for the Expenses of the General Prisons Board in Ireland, and of the Prisons under their control, and of the Registration of Habitual Criminals.


I desire to bring under the notice of the Government again the case of Mr. John Cullinane. I have to make a claim for compensation for that gentleman, or, at all events, for recoupment to him of his lodgings. He caught typhoid fever owing to the bad sewage arrangements of the prison, and was laid up for 49 days after his sentence of six months' imprisonment had expired. So absolutely mean have the Government shown themselves that, having despatched him with a third-class ticket, they refused to pay the doctor they had themselves called in as a second medical attendant. I have here a letter from Mr. Cullinane, which is certainly painful reading, as showing the treatment he received when he was in a sick state. He says he became ill on the 26th of April, nine days before his sentence expired. I have suggested to the Government that they should have discharged him there and then. On the 29th of April he was removed to hospital, where for three days he was attended by warders, who gave him some milk and some lemonade. Every morning in addition he was left with a pound of stale hard bread. On the 30th he had some beef-tea served to him in a dirty tin, and with such a scum on it that he could not use it, then he was asked to take some arrowroot, which was so badly served that he could not eat it. On the 1st of May two nurses came from Dublin, but for five days they could only visit him when the warder came. Whenever he wanted the nurses he had to get out of bed, walk across the room and ring a bell. I say that is a shocking way of treating a sick man. He says the nurses did everything in their power to make his position smooth, but whenever he was ordered chicken it came to him in a tin dish without a knife and fork. I would not treat my worst enemy in such a way. It must be remembered that at this time Mr. Cullinane was absolutely entitled to his discharge, and was kept in simply because he was unable to be removed. Then he says he was told it was influenza, and until he read the reports of my speeches in this House he never knew it was typhoid fever. Now, what brought about this man's illness? Mr. Cullinane is ordinarily a man of robust health, and is accustomed to country exercises. The Government tried to put the infection first on the water and then on the milk. They prosecuted a milk contractor for putting town's water into his milk, but the contractor took down some crack from London who swore that there was no water in the milk at all. Well, what does the prisoner say? He puts the infection down to the sewage. He became ill in the month of April, and he says that in the middle of April, some 10 or 12 days before the fever broke out all the old water closets were open and new pans were put in. The sewers were left open for two or three days and the stench that came from them was awful. Mr. Cullinane says the only warder who was ill of typhoid fever was the man in charge of the convicts who took up the sewers. One of the convicts died of the contagion and another died of what was said to be paralysis, whilst three others of the men in charge of the sewers fell sick. Under these circumstances I suggest that this disease was caused by the taking up of the sewers. When he was discharged from prison Mr. Cullinane was barely able to crawl across to the house of Dr. Moorehead, who very kindly kept him there for two or three weeks and then sent him to Bray. He is now slowly gaining ground, but his eyesight is affected and he has not yet been able to return home. Now, I ask is this a case in which to take up a mean, three-and-sixpenny position? The Government refuse to pay Dr. Moorehead. Mr. Cullinane says he did not ask for Dr. Moorehead to be sent for, but the prison doctor suggested that he should be called in, and Mr. Cullinane then said, "That would be my choice." Let me call attention to what happened in the remarkable case of Mr. Shaen Carter. When that Gentleman was shot at and injured in Mayo, the present Governor of Tasmania, Sir R. Hamilton, who was then Under Secretary for Ireland, sent up to Surgeon Wheeler, and said "You had better go down." The doctor charged 100 guineas a visit for going down to Mayo. He cut off Mr. Shaen Carter's legs, and paid him about 15 visits. He sent in a bill to the Government; the Government declined to pay it, sug- gesting that the charge should be defrayed out of the blood money; but in the end they were compelled to pay. It was in 1884, I think, that a sum for Surgeon Wheeler's expenses had to be put in the Votes, for he presented a Petition of Right, and when the case was tried he won it. In the case of Dr. Moorehead, I think it will be found from such evidence as I have stated, that he was introduced into the prison by Dr. Kennedy. I think, therefore, that a strong case has been made out for the payment of his fees. One would think that merely out of consideration for humanity the Government would pay compensation. They gave this man six months' imprisonment, and kept him in gaol 49 days over his time, and I hold that they ought to make him sufficient compensation to recoup him for the ordinary expenses he has been put to in consequence of this disease. He has been living at Bray and taking baths there, his brother and sister went to Tullamore Gaol to attend upon him, and I say—without going into the extraordinary contradictions which are offered as to the typhoid, the influenza, the Dublin Surgeon and so on—that he ought to be repaid all the expenditure that this has involved. I put this case, if not as a claim of right, at any rate, as one of humanity and common sense. The man's eyes are affected. Typhoid fever is a most treacherous disease. You never know when you get better of it, or what diseases it may not bring in its train. I think the Government should take all these facts into consideration, and should deal with this case according to the ordinary dictates of humanity.

(4.20.) MR. A. J. BALFOUR

With regard to the case to which the hon. and learned Gentleman has drawn my attention, there must always be a certain degree of doubt as to the origin of the disease. I am inclined to think that it is not absolutely impossible that, owing to certain structural defects in the main drains, John Cullinane may have contracted the typhoid fever in the gaol a few days before he would have teen released. The facts are being looked into, and the defects in the drains, if any, will be remedied. There is no doubt that the disease came upon Cullinane in a pronounced form within a few days of what ought to have been the period of his release, and that it was necessary to keep him in the prison for a considerable length of time after his sentence had expired; but the particular complaint raised this evening is with regard to the refusal of the Government to pay for the advice given by Dr. Moore head who was called in to assist the prison doctor. Now, it appears that the prison rules are very specific. I do not think anyone will dissent from this, that what the prison rules lay down is that if the prison doctor calls for assistance or advice, the Government must pay for it. But if in deference to the request of the prisoner his own doctor is allowed to attend him the cost of such medical attendance must be defrayed by the patient and not by the Government. That appears to be very reasonable. There is direct contradiction as to the conditions under which Dr. Moorehead was called in. From a letter I have received, directed to the Prisons Board, it would seem that Dr. Moorehead was called in at the request of the prison doctor; but the prison doctor says—and he is supported by the governor—that he was perfectly competent to deal with the case, and that he did not require assistance. He says that John Cullinane and his brother joined together in a request for the attendance of Dr. Moorehead, and that it was in deference to that, and that only, that Dr. Moorehead was called in. I see no objection to laying the correspondence in this case on the Table of the House if the hon. Member will move for it. The evidence of the prison doctor is perfectly clear, and it is impossible to reconcile that evidence with the only contention which would justify the Government in paying for this additional medical assistance. The hon. Member suggests that the Government are actuated by mean and wrong motives. I can assure him that that is not the case. The Government must act, as every Government must act, on general principles. They cannot make an exception in the case of one man because he happens to have Parliamentary friends, unless they are prepared to adopt a similar course in all other cases, a thing which would involve a fundamental alteration of the prison rules. Is such alteration required? If it is, I am prepared to carry it out; but I do not think it would be wise on our part to make an exception in favour of one particular individual unless we saw our way to justify that course by laying down a new principle. I am afraid that cases of men having maladies coming on them in prison during half the time they are under sentence must be very rare—


The malady was not coming on when the prisoner entered the gaol. It was due to defective sanitary arrangements.


Well, this is a matter upon which there is no agreement; but with regard to future action I may say that I intend to consult English Prison Authorities to see what the practice in England is in cases such as that before the Committee, and if I find myself able to make any general relaxation or modification in the prison rules in order to meet the case of John Cullinane, or if, without making any general alteration in the rules, I find I can meet that case I will do so. But the hon. Member must see that unless we want to bring them into a state of confusion Public Departments must be bound by general principles of policy that cannot and ought not to be relaxed in consequence of Parliamentary pressure.


It is not Parliamentary pressure; it is Parliamentary argument.


Well, Parliamentary argument. In other words, if the Cullinane case can be brought under broad general principles on which the cases of prisoners similarly situated can also be dealt with, I am quite willing that Cullinane should have the full benefit of it. But if, on consultation with the English authorities, it is held to be impossible to bring the case under such broad general principles, we must return to the Prison Rules, which the Prisons Board have been carrying out with no animus to particular individuals. They have always desired to see cases dealt with on broad general principles without exceptions being made in the case of particular individuals, and I, myself, am anxious that justice should be done on the broad lines I have indicated.

(4.28.) MR. SEXTON

I think we are entitled to something more than we have heard from the right hon. Gentleman. Whatever may be the general rule of the Prisons Board, the facts of the case of John Cullinane are such that we are entitled to expect that compensation will be made to him. May I remind the Committee of this circumstance: Cullinane was to have been released on the 1st of May, and attention was called to his case only by the fact that he was not released at the expiration of his sentence. All the proceedings in the prison were kept private. My hon. and learned Friend took up the matter, and by constantly asking questions and making speeches on the question of the adjournment of the House he elicited the facts. It was discovered that on the Friday previous to the date on which Cullinane ought to have been released there was a consultation between the prison doctor and the Medical Commissioner as to the state of the prisoner's health. The Medical Commissioner diagnosed influenza. There appears to be an impression at head-quarters that a local doctor cannot know as much as a member of the official hierarchy, so it was held that the diagnosis of the former, that Cullinane was suffering from typhoid, was incorrect. If the local doctor had been credited the prisoner might have been released, or might at least have been removed from the depressing atmosphere of a gaol. I therefore lay it down that the disease was not properly diagnosed, and that it was typhoid fever. I have also to complain of the very peculiar course which was pursued. We have asked for the appointment of a Commission again and again, and we have asked for the Report of the medical experts. The right hon. Gentleman told us that it would be obtained. It was moved for and ordered, but, up to the present moment, it has been impossible to get a sight of the Report, and we are obliged to discuss the question without the evidence. Then reference has been made to the milk, but, after careful examination, the analysts agreed that there was nothing whatever to complain of in the milk. The epidemic was undoubtedly from the sewers—from the fact of their being opened and works carried on while the prison was crowded with prisoners. There are other prisons in Ireland, and these prisoners could easily have been removed while the works were being executed. Mr. Cullinane, in a letter to me, states that the drains were allowed to be open for a considerable time, and the pestilent air was allowed to circulate in a place whore many prisoners were walking about. The only warder in the prison who took the disease was the one who was constantly in the vicinity of the open drains. The prisoners were stricken down in consequence of the drains being open and the works being carried on while they were there, and I think that in some form they are entitled to compensation from the Government. Mr. Cullinane and 10 other prisoners were laid up in the hospital. The prison warder named Cook was in charge of the hospital during the time the fever raged. Yet it was Cook who was sent with a batch of prisoners to Clonmel. Naturally, he broke down, and so did two of the prisoners, all being seized with fever. I do not say that the sending of this warder with the prisoners was deliberately done—that would be carrying it too far—but it is impossible to acquit the persons in authority of culpable negligence, and that state of facts entitles us to claim compensation for Mr. Cullinane. I think something is also due to the warders and prisoners who have suffered. I think that the right hon. Gentleman might release some of the prisoners, and shorten the terms of others. I think the warders who caught the fever are entitled to some recognition, some gratuity, or some compensation by way of a special holiday. A prisoner is put into gaol to suffer the penalty which is sanctioned by law. He is not put into gaol to be attacked by fever, or to have his life imperilled. On the contrary, the Prison Rules provide that when the imprisonment is dangerous to the life of the prisoner he is entitled to release. In this instance there was danger to the prisoners by the neglect and incompetence of the officers. The prisoners, whatever they are, have suffered a long and heavy illness, and I think they are entitled now to such a recognition as I have mentioned, namely, a remission of the remainder of their sentences, or an abridgment where the sentence is for a very long time.

*(4.40.) MR. P. O'BRIEN

I desire to offer the Committee the evidence of one on the spot in connection with this matter. It has been my good, or evil, fortune to be imprisoned in Tullamore with my friend Mr. Cullinane for some months. I can bear out what has been said by my hon. Friend the Member for West Belfast as to the culpable neglect of the Government in the matter, and as to the consequences which followed. In the beginning of November I complained to the prison doctor, and to the Governor, and to the Visiting Justices, and said I felt sure that I was suffering from the germs of typhoid. The doctor asked why I thought so, and I told him I felt the evidences of it in the closets, and I said I was certain that the system of drainage was absolutely dangerous. He replied that I was mistaken, and that the arrangements were in accordance with the requirements of sanitary science. But I would point out that ordinary prisoners received better treatment than prisoners under the Coercion Act, inasmuch as they were allowed more frequent exercise. Mr. Cullinane and myself were confined to our cells for 22 out of the 24 hours, and were, therefore, more exposed to the dangers of the poisoned air. I said to the officer that I was satisfied he had done everything he could, and that in my opinion it was the system of drainage which was bad. I was slow to complain, because I remembered that my late lamented friend John Mandeville was charged with malingering, and I was prepared to sacrifice my life rather than lay myself open to such a charge. The doctor, I feel bound to say, was ready to send me to the hospital, but I would not go; but I warned him that he was very likely to have typhoid fever in the prison. The place was infested by rats. I have seen rats in the exercise yard, and I have found rats about me, and if straws show the direction of the wind, rats show the condition of the drains. But I was assured by the Governor that I was mistaken, and that everything was perfectly right. I had occasion also to complain of the water, which I submitted to the doctor. He analysed it, and assured me that it was all right. I then thought that probably there were two wells in the prison, and afterwards I discovered that to be the fact. In all probability the doctor was furnished with a sample of water from the better well of the two. In connection with a legal action, I was removed from one prison to another, and I was released on the 5th of May. I was then informed that my friend Mr. Cullinane was still in Tullamore, that he was in a dying condition, and that the cause of his illness was typhoid. I do believe in my heart that the fact of setting about sanitary alterations in the prison was the cause of Mr. Cullinane's illness. In my opinion, if you want to save the lives of prisoners, you should remove them while the prison is being dealt with. I was justified in my complaint by the experience of about half a dozen prisoners, and certainly Tullamore was about 100 years behind the times in respect of its sanitary appliances. When I asked the doctor what was the matter with Mr. Cullinane he never wavered from the opinion that it was typhoid, though some difference of opinion was expressed by others as to what really was the matter with him. I believe Dr. Kennedy is a thoroughly competent man, but it was only when he was confirmed by another doctor whom he called in that the doctor who represented the Prisons Board admitted that the disease was typhoid fever from which Mr. Cullinane was suffering. The Chief Secretary said that there must be some rule about the payment fees to doctors who were called in; but when he employed Dr. Barr of Liverpool, he made no demur as to the fees paid. I think that Dr. Moorehead after saving the life of Mr. Cullinane and 10 or 12 other prisoners, is entitled to some remuneration for his very valuable services. The right hon. Gentleman says that he cannot make exceptions in favour of prisoners with Parliamentary friends, but I hope there may never be any prisoner with any claim to common humanity without Parliamentary friends. I do not care whether a prisoner is a Member of Parliament or a man in good position or not. All I know is, that, however poor the prisoner may be, his claims will be pressed with a stubbornness equal to that exhibited in other cases. I complain that these sanitary alterations were made in a manner which was injurious and dangerous to the prisoners, who should have been removed before they were entered upon. No Member of this Assembly would leave his family for 24 hours in a house where the drains were open. Why, then, should the Government keep prisoners within easy reach of disease, and possible death? As there are prisoners now in Tullamore who have suffered from typhoid fever while in prison, I think the right hon. Gentleman should now release them. Surely you do not want to risk the lives of these men again, for they must be weak. Fortunately, the sentence of my friend Mr. Cullinane is completed, and I am happy to say that he is improving at the seaside. But the other poor people are unable to enjoy that advantage; but I do think, if they cannot go to the seaside, the right hon. Gentleman might allow them to go to their own homes. With regard to the milk supplied to the prison, I was asked again and again whether I had any complaints to make with regard to it. I replied that I had not; and I at once fixed the blame upon the sanitary arrangements of the prison. I am afraid it was because the milk was supplied by a Nationalist in the town of Tullamore that the suggestion was made that the disease arose from it. I think it was the Prisons Board, and not the milk, who were to blame. The right hon. Gentleman has no doubt consulted the Governor of Tullamore and the doctor, and I will give him the name of the Visiting Justice to whom I complained. I think he will find, as a matter of fact, that I complained of the sanitary condition of the prisons, and that I warned the officials that if a change was not made there would be typhoid fever in the place. There is another matter to which I would like to call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman. I have a question on the Paper for Friday next, but perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will answer it now. It is as to the prison warders in Ireland, who, I believe, contrary to the rule in England, are always compelled to wear a uniform, whether on duty in gaol, or out for a holiday. It is a great grievance to the Service. The warders complain that, by reason of having to wear their uniform, they are made targets for attacks by the lower and rougher class of persons, who, after leaving prison, have a spite against them. I have endeavoured to point out in my question that in at least five or six large centres of Ireland warders have been set upon and brutally treated in the streets, simply from the fact that they were wearing their uniforms. The Order to wear them is not in the original rules. I have informed myself about the date of this Order, or Circular, issued by the Prisons Board; and I think I can also state the reason why it was issued. In the year 1887–8 the hon. Member for North-East Cork was present in Tullamore Gaol, and about that time a suit of clothes were conveyed to him to save his life, as the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary preferred to leave him naked, and it was about that period that the Order was issued. What the motive was in issuing it I do not want to insinuate, but it may perhaps be found from the date of the Order. While I was in Kilmainham Gaol a warder appeared one morning with his face bruised and cut, and two of his teeth kicked out, while he was not in uniform. The unfortunate man reported that he was not in uniform, declining to tell a lie, and the word came that he was instantly to be dismissed, notwithstanding he was in the condition I have named. I only mention this to show that an unfortunate man, in the position of a warder, if he steals out for a walk with his wife and family, is liable to be assailed in this fashion. The men desire to be relieved of this Order, which precludes them from enjoying a day's holiday free from molestation. I would also call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to the long hours in which these warders are on duty. Now that the eight hours movement is attracting attention, I think it would be well to consider whether these warders can have a working day of less than 16 hours, and whether their duties shall be within more reasonable limits of time. There is another matter to which I wish to call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman, namely, the manner in which my friend Mr. Cullinane suffered in his eyesight. I have no doubt whatever that this arose from the whitewashed cell in which he was imprisoned. I can say of my own experience, after I have been released from prison, that I have been compelled to wear glasses, so greatly have I suffered from being confined in a whitewashed cell. The hon. Member for Camborne, when he was imprisoned, made a similar complaint. We have not many Englishmen imprisoned in Ireland; I wish we had more, for perhaps we would then get an alteration in the prison system of Ireland more speedily than we can now. In the case of the hon. Member for Camborne the cell was coloured buff or blue, and I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, as the expense would be comparatively slight, he could not adopt a similar method in all the prisons of Ireland, in order to avoid the infliction of unnecessary suffering upon the prisoners. As I have already reminded the Committee, the danger to the sight of prisoners, under the Coercion Act is greater than that to ordinary prisoners, because the former are confined to their cells during 22 out of the 24 hours. I trust the right hon. Gentleman will give due consideration to the representations I have made, and that he will give us, before the Debate closes, some assurance that he will deal with the points I have raised.

(5.0.) DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)

I merely rise for the purpose of bringing this discussion to a definite issue by moving that the Vote be reduced by the sum of £5,000. I would remind the right hon. Gentleman that in respect of the outbreak of fever at Tullamore I moved last week for a Return, and it was definitely promised that it would be in our hands before this Debate. I am sorry to say that it has not been produced, and that we are compelled to discuss this matter without having before us a record of the facts. It is well to mention one source of peril to the public health which has not come under notice. I am informed that the prisoners in the gaols of Ireland make the baskets which are used in the Parcels Post Delivery Service, so that you have been sending out from fever-stricken gaols, all over the country, the means of spreading infection to every home. The theory that the fever was carried into the gaol by the milk is not proved; indeed, it is disproved. I concur in the suggestion that those prisoners who have suffered from typhoid fever in prison are entitled to compensation in some form or other. I should think the best would be a mitigation or remission of their sentences. These prisoners are broken down in health, and care should be taken that they are not disabled for the rest of their lives by being continued in a state of confinement which comes with special hardship upon them after their severe sufferings from typhoid fever. It is important that their terms of imprisonment should be curtailed as much as possible. I do trust that the right hon. Gentleman will go thoroughly into this matter, and endeavour to meet the suggestions which we have made.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £92,121, be granted for the said Service."—(Dr. Tanner.)


I want to bring to the notice of the Chief Secretary the fact that the diet for the prisoners for the first month is positively cruel. It is so low that they are starved, and then become ill. The men imprisoned for political offences are on a different footing from the class of habitual criminals. I believe that inquiry would show that the dietary of these political prisoners is much below what is necessary for the nourishment of a man, and must, therefore, have injurious effects upon them physically.


I hope the right hon. Gentleman will see the necessity of answering the questions that have been put to him.


I will look into the matters put before me by the hon. Member, and will see what can be done in regard to them. With regard to what has been said about the warders, I will see whether there is any ground for thinking that they are unduly deprived of any holiday. As to the question of the prison dietary, I would remind the Committee that the whole subject was carefully gone into by the Royal Commission which considered the subject two years ago. The present dietary in the Irish prisons was, I believe, fixed mainly upon the recommendations of that Commission, and the result of their labours has been that a much more generous diet has been adopted in the Irish prisons than that which prevails in the English prisons.


I hope the Chief Secretary will endeavour to give effect to the recommendations of the Commission with a view of reducing the long hours during which the warders are employed in the Irish gaols. Their duties are of a most painful character. They go on duty early, and are kept until very late, and I think the right hon. Gentleman would do well to assent to some relaxation in the hours they work.


It is clear now that the whole of the prisoners must have been wrong, and that they were not hungry or ill when they said they were. The moment the Chief Secretary says this or that has been done on the recommendation of a Royal Commission he absolves himself from all responsibility, and we must accept the situation, because anything a Royal Commission does must be right, and we ought not to believe any amount of evidence to the contrary by whomsoever it may be given.


I may say in connection with the manufacture of the parcel post baskets in prisons where typhoid fever is prevalent, they must necessarily carry disease and death to a number of places outside. If disease can be carried into a gaol by means of the milk, how much more is disease likely to be spread over a whole country by parcel post baskets manufactured in a gaol where fever is prevalent. Of course, disease is more likely to be engendered in gaols where, for the first month, the prisoners are placed on an abnormally low diet which is absolutely insufficient to afford them proper nourishment. I have learned this fact from personal experience. Men who otherwise would throw off an attack of typhoid fever, because of their good constitution, may have their health seriously endangered by the prostration consequent on improper food. I would, therefore, ask the Chief Secretary to give the utmost consideration to the case of those who suffer from the insanitary condition and the insufficient dietary of our gaols. I think that when the insanitary condition of the gaol has been traced to the neglect of the Prison Authorities, every consideration should be given to the men who had suffered: all the men who have been prostrate with the fever should be immediately released, while the men who have suffered in a less degree should have their terms of imprisonment reduced.

(5.31.) The Committee divided:—Ayes 82; Noes 103—(Div. List, No. 398.)

Original Question put, and agreed to.

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