§ MR. PATRICK O'BRIEN (Kilkenny)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, (1) whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that in the Financial Department of the Constabulary Office, out of five sergeant clerks selected from amongst the county inspectors' clerks of Ireland, 80 per cent. of whom are Roman Catholics, not a single Roman Catholic clerk has for the past four years been permitted to enter that branch of the service; (2) that the officer, head constable, and two out of the three sergeants on the musketry staff at the depôt are Protestants; and also that five out of the six clerks in the Commandant's and Adjutant's Office at the depôt are Protestants; and, (3) will he state what was the result of the inquiry which the late Chief Secretary promised to make into the complaints as to the manning of these offices with Protestants so entirely out of proportion to their number as compared to Roman Catholics in the force?
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. JOHN ATKINSON,) Londonderry
Of the five men at present serving in the department referred to, one is a Roman Catholic and another, who happens to be of the same denomination, was some time ago selected to fill a vacancy which will shortly arise. Two other Catholics served in the department during the past four years, and both have returned to ordinary duty on promotion. The statements as regards the Musketry Staff and Clerks in the Commandant's and Adjutant's Offices at the depôt are correct. I am not aware that any inquiry of the nature indicated in the second paragraph was promised, as stated, but I have no reason whatever to believe that the religious element enters into consideration in the making of these appointments.