§ MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that while of the 11,000 officers and men of the Royal Irish Constabulary seven-eighths are Roman Catholics, of the five general officers, namely, inspector general, deputy inspector general, and three assistant inspector generals, only one is a Roman Catholic, and that of the thirty-six county inspectors only three are Roman Catholics, and of the 214 district inspectors only forty-three are Roman Catholics; can he say why such a majority of officers are Protestants, in view of the fact that such a majority of the men are Roman Catholics; could he arrange for a reduction of the number of the district inspectors by making some additions to the pay of the head con- 607 stables and also the number of the county inspectors by suitable arrangements; and seeing that one of the assistant inspectors general is now about to retire, will steps be taken to prevent further religious disparity in respect of the new appointment.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. WYNDHAM,) Dover
The total number of officers and men in the Royal Irish Constabulary on the 1st January last was 11,176, of whom 8,102, or 72½ per cent., were Roman Catholics. The remaining figures are correct, except that fifty-nine district inspectors are Roman Catholics. Three-fourths of the vacancies in the rank of district inspector are filled by competitive examination, on the result of which the religious persuasions of candidates can have no effect, nor is the religious denomination of candidates taken into account in the selection of the remaining fourth. The appointment of district inspectors to the rank of county inspectors is made on the same principle. The answer to the third paragraph is in the negative. For the post of Assistant Inspector General the Government must secure the officer who is best fitted for the appointment, irrespective of the creed to which he belongs.