§ MR. MICHAEL AUSTIN (Limerick, W.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1) if his attention has been drawn to a letter, dated 22nd February 1897, from Sir Andrew Reid to the Town Clerk of Limerick, in which he stated that, in the event of the existing night watch of the city of Limerick being replaced by the constabulary, the existing free quota of police assigned to that city would not be sufficient to perform the additional duties of night protection, and that extra police should be appointed; (2) upon what basis Sir Andrew Reid calculated that the yearly sum of £1,32.3 would be required for such an additional duty; (3) whether he is aware that similar duties (night protection) are performed in Cork and Waterford without any charge to the local rates; and on what grounds, as suggested by Sir Andrew Reid's letter, special legislation would be 1594 required to place Limerick in the same position as the other Irish cities mentioned occupy; and (4) whether it is the duty of the Royal Irish Constabulary to protect day and night the persons and property of the inhabitants?
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
I have seen the letter referred to, which is to the effect mentioned in the first paragraph. The cost to the Corporation was estimated on a basis of an extra force of 30 men, which number was mentioned in 1885 as the extra force required to enable the Royal Irish Constabulary to take over the duties. In Cork and Waterford the free force of the Constabulary is sufficient to perform a certain amount of beat duty at night as well as by day. Such work as can be performed by the free quota is done without charge to local rates; and this is also the case in Limerick, where, however, the free quota is not sufficient to perform night duty to the same extent as in Cork or Waterford. In Limerick the duty at night devolves by statute on the night watch.