§ MR. MAURICE HEALY (Cork)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland how long the Royal Irish Constabulary Force Fund has been in existence; for how many years respectively have deductions at the rates of 2½ and 1½, per cent. been made for the purposes of this fund from the pay of members of the Force; whether deductions in respect of barrack-rent have also been made towards this fund in the case of unmarried members; why no deduction towards this fund is made in the case of members who joined the Force since August, 1883; how many officers and men at present serving are subscribing towards the fund, and how many pensioners; bow many subscribers died, were dismissed, were discharged, and resigned without having received anything from this fund; what is the total amount sub- 450 scribed towards this fund, since its formation, by officers and men; what is the amount at present on hand, and how has the difference been expended; and whether it was the unanimous wish of the entire force assembled at the various county headquarters (at their meetings regarding the 6th Schedule of the Government of Ireland Bill) that this fund should be wound up at once, and distributed among the subscribing members?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. J. MORLEY,) Newcastle-upon-Tyne
The Royal Irish Constabulary Force Fund has existed since the establishment of the Force. Deductions at the rate of 2½, per cent. were never made for the fund. The rate of deduction was 10s. per cent. for the first 30 years, and subsequently, as at present, 1½ per cent. The deduction for barrack accommodation, authorised by the. Constabulary Act of 1883, is made from the increased pay provided by the Act, and extends also to married men accommodated with their families in barracks. This deduction has always been appropriated in aid of the Constabulary Vote. By the Act of 1883 the benefit branch of the fund was closed against new entrants, and deduction from the pay of all those who thereafter joined the Force was forbidden. The number of officers and men now serving whose pay is subject to the statutable deduction is approximately 8,730, and the number of subscribing pensioners is 3,426. No official record of cessations without benefit has been kept; but it is right to point out that the object of the fund being two fold—the reward of meritorious members of the Force and the relief of the widows and children of members—no payments of the former kind could, in the nature of the case, be made to men dismissed, discharged, or who resign, or of the latter kind in respect of those who die unmarried in the Force. It would be impossible, I am informed, at this distance of time to furnish an account of the receipts and expenditure of the fund from its institution over 56 years ago. The fund has been audited from the outset of its career by the Exchequer and Audit Department. The invested balance of the fund, amounting to £304,000, is in the hands of the National Debt Commissioners, and there is a current cash balance of about £2,500 in the public account of 451 the Inspector General. In reference to the question of the winding up of the fund, I understand that many and diverse opinions and suggestions have been expressed by members of the Force, which are inconsistent with the object of the fund as expressed by Act of Parliament, and quite impracticable. I have already stated, in reply to an inquiry addressed to me on April 17, that the only possible winding up appears to be that provided by the Act of 1883—namely, by the natural process of fulfilling its obligations to existing members as they become due.