HC Deb 02 August 1897 vol 52 cc155-6

4. Motion made, and Question proposed, That a sum, not exceeding £765,017, 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 1898, for the Expenses of the Royal Irish Constabulary.


rose to move the reduction of the Vote by £200,000. He said that as a body the Royal Irish Constabulary was in reality an army of occupation. It cost £1,400,000 per annum to police a diminishing population of 4½ millions. In England there were about 28 millions of population, and if the police in England cost the same amount per head, the cost of policing England would be between seven and eight millions per annum. That did not give the full idea of the extravagance and iniquity of the system, because the Irish population was mainly rural, and of course a mainly rural population required a very much smaller proportion of police than a mainly urban population; and he had no hesitation in saying that if the calculation was made on the proportion of population in England and Ireland, it would take at least £10,000,000 a year to police the English people on the same scale the Irish people were policed. But there was another aspect of the question. In 1844 the Royal Irish Constabulary cost about £400,000 per annum, and the population of Ireland was 8½ millions. Now with a population of 4½ millions the constabulary cost more than three times that amount. It did not require very much argument to show that there must be some monstrous extravagance in an expenditure like that. The main part of the duty of the constabulary had been to support the landlords in exterminating the people. Nothing showed the good taste of the Government more than the fact that they chose a squadron of the Royal Irish Constabulary to represent Ireland in the Jubilee procession. It would not have been possible to do anything more characteristic of the whole course of British Government in Ireland.

It being Ten of the Clock, the Chairman, in pursuance of the Order of the House of the 29th day of January last, proceeded to put the Questions necessary to dispose of the outstanding Votes in the Committee of Supply.

Question put accordingly.

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 136; Noes, 48.—(Division List, No. 360).

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