§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL (Donegal, S.)
said the subject to which he wished to draw attention was a vast and comprehensive one, and one upon which Irishmen felt very keenly. The Resolution itself was an exposition of his case, and as a great many Members wished to address the House upon the matter, he would merely, in the briefest manner, give a few illustrations, and leave others to discuss the Resolution. One of the greatest difficulties Irishmen had to surmount in bringing matters of any sort before this House was the fact that in an Irish Act identical words in an English Act were clothed with an entirely different meaning. For instance, in the eyes of an Englishman a policeman was always regarded as a courteous person and a guardian of the public, but in Ireland it was quite a different matter. In England the policeman was preeminently a civil servant, governed by those who were themselves the representatives of the people; in Ireland he was the master of the people, and the servant and drudge of a Government which was antagonistic to the people in every respect. The Royal Irish Constabulary was a unique institution, and were, practically, soldiers constantly under drill at the depôt, and reviewed twice a year, when it was customary to compliment them on their soldierly appearance and behaviour. They were armed, not with staves, but with the most deadly weapons of modern warfare, which they used against the common enemy—the Irish 1045 people. It was ridiculous to speak of them as a civil force; they were not police at all, but an army of occupation, placed in Ireland in absolute violation of the Bill of Rights, which forbade a standing army being maintained in Ireland. When the right hon. Member for East Fife was visiting the right hon. Member for Montrose, then Chief Secretary, he went to the depot and found members of the Royal Irish Constabulary being examined in questions of law which he himself admitted he should have some difficulty in answering offhand. He, in 1892, had characterised that class in law as a class designed for perjury, and how true that was the cases of Sullivan, O'Halloran, and many others in the same category would show. A very curious fact with regard to Ireland was that in proportion to the population the number of police was five times greater than that of England, and a still more carious thing was that as the population of Ireland had decreased the number of police had proportionately increased, clearly showing that the police were not for the preservation but the destruction of the people.
There were two police forces in Ireland, the Royal Irish Constabulary and the Dublin Metropolitan Police Force, which was established in 1836, and the cost of the maintenance of those forces now amounted to 7s. per head of the population, while the cost of the police in. England was only 2s. per head. In Ireland they had one policeman to 250 of the population, whilst the proportion in Great Britain was one policeman to 1,200 of the population. He had now shown that they were not only an over-manned, but also an over-armed force. The reply given him in answer to his Question as to the cost of the Irish Constabulary was technically correct, but the figure of £1,361,419 should be increased by about a third to cover the cost of pensions. The Dublin Metropolitan Police had a curious organisation, and under a Statute a rate of 8d. in the pound was levied on the city for maintenance, in addition to public grants. The amount levied was £42,000, with an additional 5 per cent, for collection. It was one of the most costly forces in the three kingdoms, and 1046 the cost increased by leaps and bounds. It might be supposed that the force would be under the control of the local authority but it was not so; the Lord Mayor of Dublin, the highest magistrate in Ireland, the highest officer under the Lord-Lieutenant, could not order or direct a single policeman in the force, and, in order to prevent identification, whenever the police were employed upon duty in the country the numbers were removed from their uniforms. He concluded by moving the Resolution of which he had given notice.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND (Clare, E.)
seconded the Motion. It was a remarkable fact that in every year since 1836 there had been a protest from Irish Members against the composition and character of the Royal Irish Constabulary. Invariably the protest had been on three grounds; that the force was too numerous, that it was far too costly, and that in reality it was an armed military force and not a police force. Look at the difference between the police forces in Ireland and Great Britain. So far as he had been able to compare the two countries, there was in Great Britain—England, Wales, and Scotland—one policeman for every 1,200 of the population, and in Ireland there was one policeman to about every 250 persons. Then as to the question of cost, he found that, roughly speaking, in England the cost of maintaining the police was 2s. 4d. per head of the population; in Scotland it was 2s. 2½d.; while in Ireland it was as nearly as possible 7s. per head. Now he thought it would be admitted that these figures were quite sufficient to show that there was got d reason for the dissatisfaction and discontent which prevailed in Ireland as to the character of the police force in that country. Of course, hon. Gentlemen who represented English constituencies might say that there was some special reason why Ireland should be more extensively and more expensively policed than Great Britain. They might be told that there was a great deal more crime to be coped with, and that the duties of the police were much more difficult. But these statements were in the last degree inaccurate. Several Committees had been appointed to inquire into the matter. The Committee which sat in 1901 1047 was presided over by the hon. and gallant Gentleman the present Member for Sheffield, and in their Report some very extraordinary and interesting statements were made in regard to the Irish police, is to the character of the work done by them, and the alleged prevalence of crime in Ireland. On page 23 of that Report it was stated—While it is true that political agitation has kept the Irish constabulary on the alert, there is practically no criminal class at all.And yet it was beyond contradiction that in Ireland there were five times as many police as in Great Britain, and that the cost was 7s. per head in that country as compared with 2s. 4d. in England, and 2s. 2½d. in Scotland. And it was stated that there should be more police in Ireland, because the duties the}' had to perform were more serious and dangerous than in this country. He referred to page, 24 of the Report of the Committee, which stated—We are unable to accept the statement that the discharge of police duties involves greater danger than in England; the contrary is the fact.And attention was drawn in the Report to the fact that, in the course of the ten rears immediately preceding, only seven policemen had been obliged to retire from active service in consequence of injury incurred in the discharge of their duties. That statement was not taken from the imagination of Irish representatives, but from the impartial Report of a Committee of this House, and it sufficiently proved that there was nothing abnormal in the state of Ireland to call for the extraordinarily large and expensive police force.
The real cause for the existence of such f large police force in Ireland was not the prevalence of crime, but the extraordinary land system, which had given rise to more agrarian agitation than in any other country in Europe. He might be allowed to read two or three sentences from a speech delivered by John Bright twenty-four years ago in a debate in this House on the police force in Ireland. Mr. Bright, while he sympathised with the Irish Members, could not agree that the time had arrived for a large curtailment of the police force in Ireland, and made some statements which should have interest to the right hon. Gentleman the 1048 Chief Secretary in view of the attempts he had made to deal with the Irish land question. Mr. Bright said—It is a different force from anything we have in this country for the preservation of the peace; but it seems to me to be, in the present condition of Ireland, almost a necessary incident to that condition; and the fact that it is necessary, if it be necessary, is a proof of how much there is required to be done by changing the whole social condition of the great mass of the tenantry of Ireland.And Mr. Bright made a further statement which was of interest at the present moment, when they were trying to promote a system of land purchase—We have now a condition of things which: t is impossible to continue without disorder. We have 500,000 or nearly 600,000 tenants of the soil, who are really in a condition of tenants at will; and we have, on the other side, about 10,000 proprietors, one-half of whom are absentees.… I am of opinion that in this single fact of 500,000 tenants looking in the face of 10,000 proprietors is to be found the whole of the evils which afflict that country, and that in a change of that condition, and in that change only, lies the remedy which Parliament can provide.And then Mr. Bright went on to say that the protest which the Irish Members had made in regard to the Royal Irish Constabulary was a reasonable one, and that—The time must come—I hope it may come soon when the police system of Ireland may be placed on a footing as judicious and conformable to our notions of freedom as the police systems of England and Scotland.These were most interesting statements in view of the recent developments of the Irish land question; and he asked the Chief Secretary whether he did not consider, in view of what had taken, place in regard to land purchase, a very large and substantial decrease might not be made in the numbers and cost of the police force in Ireland. He was glad to see that in the Estimates there was a decrease of £52,000 in the cost of the Royal Irish Constabulary. They knew also that the right hon. Gentleman had promised that recruiting would be stopped as soon as he considered it consistent with the safety of Ireland; but he submitted that the right hon. Gentleman might proceed far more rapidly than the Estimates indicated. There was no reason in the wide world why a considerable reduction should not be made immediately in the numbers of the 1049 Royal Irish Constabulary, and that the money so saved should not be spent in better directions, such as the encouragement of industry and the improvement of agriculture. There was nothing more sad than the fact that while the population of Ireland had been steadily and rapidly decreasing, the cost of the police force had been increasing. In 1859–60 there were 6,000,000 of people in Ireland, and the cost of the Royal Irish Constabulary was then £700,000. There I were now only 4,500,000 people in Ireland, and yet the cost of the police was nearly double—it was £1,300,000. He ventured to say that even the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary would admit that the expenditure of such a large sum of money on the police force in Ireland was little short of a scandal, and it was a condemnation of the strongest character of the nature of the government of Ireland by this country for so many years past.
There was one other matter to which he wished to refer, and that was the question of control. The police force in Ireland were not only too numerous and costly, but they were absolutely out of the control of the people. Nothing could tend more to discontent, dissatisfaction, and extravagance than the divorce of the police from the popular control of the representatives of the people. He ventured to say that if the Irish people were allowed to equip and control their own police force, one half the present number would be more than sufficient for all purposes. The hon. Member for Donegal had referred to the Metropolitan Police in Dublin. It was an outrage and a scandal that the citizens of a city like Dublin should be taxed for the maintenance of a large police force there, and should not have the slightest voice in the control or management of it. That was a state of affairs altogether out of keeping with the spirit of the age, although it might have done well enough a hundred years ago. The Irish people were now considered capable of managing their local affairs, and surely they ought to be permitted to control the raising, the payment, and the management of their police forces. There was another point to which he must refer before sitting down. He did not hesitate to say that it was a scandalous 1050 danger to arm the police force with rifles and bayonets. Even the right hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh would, he was sure, in fairness admit that for a very long time past there had been no necessity for arming the police in Ireland with rifles and bayonets. They remembered that some years ago an unarmed and unoffending people had been shot down at Mitchelstown, and that the magistrate had called upon the police then and there not to hesitate to shoot. But of late years the people had not been fired upon because there was no necessity for anything of the kind, and therefore the arming of the police was nothing but a menace. Everbody knew that the Irish were an excitable race, and the right hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh was as excitable as any one of them. To put rifles and bayonets in the hands of the police was a premium to disturbance. The police were forced into election contests, and the result was rioting. He remembered on one occasion the people disarmed the police, and kept their rifles and bayonets until the election was over, and then restored them. He had had a long experience of public meetings in Ireland, and had seen many breaches of the peace and exciting scenes, and he could honestly say, whatever the right hon. Gentleman might think, that he had over and over again dreaded to see bloodshed, because the police had rifles in their hands. He insisted that, even in the excitement of an election, the police could do all that was necessary to be done without being armed with rifles and bayonets.
It was said that the cost of the Royal Irish Constabulary was not borne on the rates, but was paid from Imperial funds. Of course that was true, but the Irish people made their contribution to the Imperial funds, amounting to £10,000,000, and to take £1,500,000 of that sum for the maintenance of an unnecessary police force was little better than a scandal. The right hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh complained the other night that he could not obtain money for the drainage of the Bann Valley. There was not a Nationalist Member who had not over and over again pointed out the necessity 1051 for expenditure in that and other directions. All along the shores of Ireland there were harbours useless for want of expenditure of a little money. Industries were decaying, townships were disappearing, all because there was no money to promote the welfare of the people; and yet they were asked to spend nearly £1,500,000 on a police force armed as if they were soldiers, a force which, according to the Report of the Select Committee, had no work to do in the true sense of the word. He appealed to the Chief Secretary to give some hope that, under the new state of affairs in regard to the transfer of land, there would be a sweeping reform of the police of Ireland, that their numbers would be reduced, and that their control would be transferred to the local authorities. He appealed to the right hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh to join in the attempt of the Irish Party to have the large sums now devoted to a costly and useless force utilised for the promotion of the industries, welfare, and prosperity of the country to which he and they belonged.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House strongly condemns the attitude of the Government in neglecting the introduction of legislation for the purpose of bringing under the control of popularly elected bodies, as in the cases of the police force in Great Britain, the Royal Irish Constabulary, and the Dublin Metropolitan Police, and declares that the exemption of these overmanned and armed forces from such control and the vesting of all control over them in the Executive Government is a standing menace to the liberty of the subject, a cause of enhanced and unnecessary public expenditure, and attended with frequent infraction of Common Law rights and grave scandals in the administration of the Criminal Law in Ireland."—(Mr. Swift MacNeill.)
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON (Armagh, N.)
said he imagined it was the last vote of want of confidence in the Government before Easter. He quite forgot how many they had had already. Some interesting figures had been given in support of the Motion. It took, it appeared, one policeman to manage 1,200 Englishmen or Scotsmen, but it took one policeman to manage 200 Irishmen. He had always regarded the Irish as a lively 1052 people and somewhat difficult to manage. In his horse-riding days some of the hardest pullers were the best horses, therefore he did not think that told against the Irish race. He had been a Member of that House for twenty-nine years. He was first elected in 1865. During that time he had seen a very marked improvement in the conduct of public business. This had happened because it was found so difficult to manage eighty-two Irishmen. He remembered when Mr. Gladstone brought in his Home Rule Bill, he said that the great fault of the law in Ireland was that it was not in sympathy with the Irish people. Apparently hon. Members opposite held the same view. They believed that the police did not sympathy with the people as they ought to do, and that if they transferred authority over the Irish force to the county councils they would be in more direct sympathy with the Irish people. To be more accurate he would say some of the Irish people. He agreed with the hon. Member for East Clare that Irishmen had a right to be proud of the fact that crime in its ordinary sense was much less prevalent in Ireland than in England, Scotland, or Wales. But Irishmen did not always hold the same idea of what crime meant. In this country, if one man differed from another in politics, cut his head open and knocked him down, he was looked upon as a man who had committed a crime. But it was not always regarded in the same light in Ireland. The Irishman took a different view of it from the unimaginative Englishman. No doubt if the police had been, in a case brought before him, in entire sympathy with the offenders he would never have had it brought before him. Both parties had black eyes, their faces were covered with blood, their clothes entirely covered with mud. The police gave evidence as to the crime they had committed. They had started fighting at the top of the street at Belturbet. One knocked the other down. He got up and performed exactly the same operation on his assailant. This was repeated until they arrived opposite the police station, where they fell into the hands of the unsympathetic police. When asked what they had to say in defence, one said: "Your 1053 worship, we were helping each other home."
It had been said that in former times there were fewer police in proportion to the population. Undoubtedly it was so. The reason why the police force had been increased was because the political passions of the people had been aroused. To make the life of the land grabber a burden and to injure him in various ways was not regarded as a crime, but as part of the political campaign. Fortunately, the law was not framed by an Irish Parliament and it became necessary, to prevent tyranny and maintain freedom, to increase the number of the police. But the blame rested with those who chose to run Irish politics on lines which led to what he called crime. How was it to be remedied? By bringing the Irish constabulary into sympathy with the Irish people. How, he wondered, would the police be selected? He concluded if the police were placed under the local authorities, they would be chosen in the same way as dispensary doctors, road contractors, or any other person required to do work, and the local authority were chosen simply and solely for political reasons. He was glad hon. Members opposite admitted that would be the case. He did not suppose there would be any deep scrutiny into a candidate's character or capacity so long as he was a good Nationalist. Would that be a satisfactory basis on which to found a force to maintain law and order? He thought not. On the contrary, a police force so chosen would be the worst conceivable and the most untrustworthy.
§ Mr. ROCHE (Galway, E.)
asked if it were not a fact that the majority of the police were sons of small tenant farmers.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
said he had no objection to small tenant farmers. They were an extremely respectable class. He did not see why their sons should not be in the constabulary. As a matter of fact the great majority of the policemen in Ireland were Roman Catholics, and if they were not policemen they would probably be supporters of hon. Gentlemen opposite. Instead of being their supporters, however, they sometimes had them in charge. To place the police 1054 absolutely under the authority of hon. Gentlemen opposite, who were the rulers in every county in Ireland except the North-east of the country, would lead to the members of the force being chosen simply because they were stalwart Nationalists. He remembered the Member for North Louth said some years ago that the condition of Ireland was one of chronic rebellion tempered by the absence of firearms. What the hon. Member for South Donegal desired, apparently, was to create a nice little Nationalist army, drilled, disciplined, and under their immediate and absolute authority. He had not that trust in the hon. Member and his friends that he would like to see such a state of affairs, seeing they had candidly declared that England's extremity would be Ireland's opportunity, and had invariably shown their inveterate hatred of Britain by taking the part of her foes. They had in the past taken the side of the Mahdi and the Mullah, and he noticed that in America the supporters of the Nationalists had now taken the side of Russia—the land of liberty! Having shown in the most unmistakable way that they desired the ruin of Great Britain, and desired to cut Ireland adrift from connection with it, the House of Commons would be blind indeed if it handed over an armed force to the control of the county councils, who were absolutely under the thumb of Nationalist Members. He did not think the House of Commons had got to such a state of imbecility yet. Therefore he could not join hon. Members opposite in this vote of censure on the Government. He and his friends sometimes differed from the Government. [AN HON. MEMBER: When you want money.] They were all ready to seek money from a richer country to help a poor country like Ireland, but although hon. Gentlemen opposite might agree with him on that point they would not get recruits from the Unionists for this Motion. Their differences with the Government sank into absolute insignificance when they came to judge the question by a higher and more important standard. He was a very bad Party man in one sense. A hon. Member said the other day that he had once been a Liberal. He would like to 1055 know whether by any microscopic examination they could distinguish between Liberals and Conservatives. All the great Radical measures passed in this country during the last twenty years had been the work of a Conservative Government. The words Liberal and Conservative meant very little to him. He understood the words Home-Ruler and Nationalist, and when a vote of censure was moved by a Nationalist upon the Government it became the duty of himself, and those who thought with him, to vote against that Resolution and against the substitution of a Home-Rule Government for the Gentlemen who now sat on the Treasury Bench, who were, at any rate, pledged to the maintenance of the integrity of the British Empire.
§ MR. MOONEY (Dublin County, S.)
said that yesterday they had heard that the Ulster Unionist Members were in full revolt against the Government, and had presented an ultimatum to the Chief Secretary. Twenty hours had elapsed, and he could only come to the conclusion that the Government had surrendered, because the right hon. Gentleman who had just spoken had delivered a long speech intended for his constituents in Ulster, justifying his position. He thought it was a scandal, if he might use such a strong expression, that on the discussion of a Motion which involved a large sum of public money the only representative of Irish Government present was the Attorney-General who—he did not use the phrase personally or offensively—was himself a glorified policeman. The Chief Secretary was the "Pooh Bah" of Irish politics; he was the head of every Department, and yet did not think it worth while to be present. [Mr. WYNDHAM here entered the House.] He was glad to see that the right hon. Gentleman was now present. The right hon. Gentleman had admitted that he had discovered in the Irish Administration many channels of wasteful and ridiculous expenditure and promised many reforms. He should like to call attention to the Dublin Metropolitan Police which, having regard to the area it served, was the most expensive police force in the world. If the right hon. Gentleman reduced the cost of the Metropolitan Police he would strongly 1056 object to the saving being put into the Development Grant. It should be applied to its proper source, the reduction of taxation in Ireland. In the matter of the cost of the police Ireland had certainly got the worst of the bargain. Originally the tax was not to exceed£13,000 a year, now it was £51,000, 100 per cent, higher than in any English or Scotch constituency. And while Dublin had to pay this large sum they had no control over the force. In Glasgow the cost per head of population for police was 3s. 5d., in Bradford 2s. 9d., in Liverpool 5s. 7d.—(and there the police acted also as the Fire Brigade)— while in Dublin it was no less than 8s. 2½d. per head. The Dublin police were, in his opinion, the finest force he had ever set eyes upon, and he had visited most of the great cities of the world, but he regretted to say that their appearance was being spoiled by the supply of a uniform half way between that of a German bandsman and a Salvation Army sergeant. The necessity for public control had been evidenced by the occurrences of the last few days, a peaceable meeting of citizens having been dispersed by violence. Had there been public control, an inquiry would have been held by the representatives of the ratepayers, but now all that was being done was a sham sort of investigation in a back room at Dublin Castle, just sufficient to enable the Chief Secretary to say a few months hence that an inquiry was held and that the police were absolved from all blame Those who paid for the maintenance of the police ought to have some voice in their control. In conclusion, he could only express a hope that the Chief Secretary would, in pursuance of a policy of retrenchment and reform, bring about a reduction in this expensive force.
§ THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. ATKINSON,) Londonderry, N.
regretted that the hon. Member for South Donegal could not have found it possible to enforce his contention without making wholesale charges against the conduct and character of the Irish Constabulary. He alluded to them as part spies, part agents, and part provokers of crime. There was not the slightest justification for that. After all, who were the Irish Constabulary? They were the sons 1057 of small farmers in Ireland. They were well conducted when in the police, and when they retired into private life they were most worthy and deserving, honest and industrious members of society. He did not say that in a large force of 12,000 men there were not some black sheep, but to make these wholesale infamous charges against them was most unfair. They were officered by strangers to the locality in which they were stationed. They were officered by many Englishmen, by many Irishmen, by many graduates of Oxford and Cambridge; and the result was that so good was the training and the conduct of the entire force that at the present moment some of the largest towns and cities in England selected their chief constables from the officers of the Irish Constabulary. He thought one of the chief officers in the City of London was originally an inspector in the Irish Constabulary, and so were the Chief Constables of Birmingham, Liverpool and, he thought, Manchester. The hon. Member for East Clare was more moderate, and he based his support of the Resolution upon three grounds. First of all, the numbers of the constabulary; secondly, their expense, and thirdly the fact that they were not under the control of the local body. It might be interesting to the hon. Member to give the decrease which had gone on already in the force. In 1882–3, the number of officers and men was 13,523. Its cost was £1,573,209; in 1892–3 it was down to 12,527 men and £1,400,000 cost; in 1902–3 it was down to 11,192, at a cost of £1,361,000; and for 1904–5 the estimate was for 10,383 men, at a cost of £1,389,680. This from 1882 to 1904 was a decrease of 3,200 odd, and if the reductions contemplated were carried out the force would be down to 8,000; but it was perfectly impossible to reduce it abruptly without doing gross injustice to the individual policeman, because they would either have to pension them off immediately, without getting out of them the services they were capable of rendering, or turn them on the world. Recruiting, however, was in a great degree stopped; and reductions in the metropolitan police of Dublin was also proceeding, but not in the same; degree. In the rural parts of Ireland there was practically no crime 1058 of fraud, and as 75 per cent of the crime of violence was due to intemperance it was suggested that the control of the police should be handed over to the local bodies; but these bodies were only created in 1898, and hon. Members opposite would scarcely have advocated handing the control of the police to the Grand Juries. Therefore, if there had been any neglect at all, it had only been since 1898. No one realised more than he the extraordinary way in which the county councils of Ireland had answered the call made upon them, and had discharged the duties imposed upon them, but he thought it was well not to be in too great a hurry, and county councils must learn to walk before they ran. The history of the control of the police was rather interesting. It seemed to be assumed that in England the control of the police was given to the county councils. That was an error, for the force was managed through joint committees. It was interesting to look back and find what was thought of the control of the police by local bodies before 1836. He had referred to the debate in which Lord Morpeth introduced the Act of that year. Prior to 1836 the police in Ireland were under the control of the magistrates, and that system was universally condemned on the ground that they allowed local feeling and prejudice to influence them. It was found that 90 per cent, of the force were members of secret societies. In the debate Mr. O'Connell cited instances in which constables gave vent to seditious cries against the Pope; in the North, in fact, the force was composed of extreme Orangemen, while in the South they displayed their partisanship on the other side. What was peculiar in the debate was that when Lord Morpeth proposed to place the control of the force in the hands of a body not liable to be influenced by local circumstances, Mr. O'Connell approved and Henry Grattan blessed it.
§ MR. ATKINSON
This was no doubt Henry Grattan's son whose speech was reported and who blessed the Government for having introduced the Bill.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
said that what O'Connell and Mr. Henry Grattan spoke of was placing the control of the police with the magistrate. Nobody now proposed to do that, and what they suggested was that they should be controlled by a local representative authority.
§ MR. ATKINSON
said that prior to 1836 the police in Ireland were under the control of the magistrates, who allowed local feeling and prejudice to influence them. What this Resolution conveyed was that the control to be established in Ireland over the police was to be the same as that established in England, and in that case the joint control would be vested in the magistrates and in the county council. He was endeavouring to show that the magistrates in Ireland had allowed local feeling and local prejudice to influence them in their selection. If the control of the police was now vested in the local authorities, either alone or jointly with the magistrates, there would be the same influence that existed in 1836, and, in the present condition of Ireland, there would be no guarantee that the police force, if managed by local bodies, would give protection and fair play to the unpopular minority in the various districts. It was on that ground that in 1836 this central force was created to be managed and controlled by those who would be unaffected by those local prejudices. It was difficult to see at what period it would have been the duty of the Government to have made that change. Nobody suggested that, concurrently with the establishment of local government in Ireland, the police force ought to have been vested in the county council, jointly with the magistrates. Whether the time might eventually come, nobody could reasonably contend that it had arrived, and therefore the Government could not be blamed for not coming to a decision to transfer the police to the local authority.
§ MR. WOLFF (Belfast, E.)
said as the representative of a northern constituency he was always glad when an opportunity happened to be able to join with hon. Members opposite, but the Motion before the House was not one on which he could join with them. The Nationalist Members wished to have the police force put under the control of the 1060 local bodies, or, in other words, the county councils, because in England and Scotland the police were under the control of those bodies. In asking for that they seemed to forget that in Ireland the conditions were totally different to those which existed in Great Britain; Ireland was unfortunately divided. There was a majority of Nationalists and Catholics, and a strong minority of Protestants and Unionists, and they looked upon each other with a certain amount of animosity and with a want of confidence in each other. They had had a good many riots in Belfast in his time and the police had been obliged to interfere, but he had never known an occasion when the police had acted, during a riot, against Catholics without those Catholics charging them with partiality and unfairness. The same applied also when they acted against Protestants. How much more would this be so if the police were under the county councils? The hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh had told the House how some of the county councils were in the habit of selecting those who were employed by them for nothing else but the services they had rendered to the Nationalist cause in Ireland. He was afraid that even in the North of Ireland political reasons would operate in the selection of the policemen, and he was afraid, too, that any police force selected in that way—not for their efficiency but for their political opinions—would not be a fair police force but one of the worst forces they could have anywhere. The hon. Member for South Donegal had said that policemen gave their evidence with a view to what advancement they could get in the force. He did not see, if the police was taken away from Government control and put into the county council's hands, what difference it would make. The other great complaints made by hon. Members opposite was of the numbers of the police and the great expense, but he did not know whether a decrease or an increase affected Ireland much, for it was paid out of the Consolidated Fund. As the irritation between landlords and tenants died away under the operation of the Land Act there would be less need for a large force than there was now. Hon. Members opposite should have a little patience and see how far the 1061 Chief Secretary was able to carry out the promises he had given. He had no doubt that the reduction of the police force would largely depend upon the position which the Irish tenants took towards the carrying out of that Act. [Some cries of "What about the landlords?"]
§ MR. COGHILL (Stoke-upon-Trent)
thought the time had come for the Irish Constabulary to be treated in the same way as any other police force in the United Kingdom. He remembered very well the intense feeling which was aroused in Ireland during Mr. Parnell's life, but he was a leader who arose once in 100 years, and he did not think they were likely to see such a leader again in Ireland. In his opinion this reform in regard to the police ought to have been carried out before the Land Bill was introduced. What right had this country to spend all the money proposed to be spent under the Land Bill without first granting to Ireland the control of the Irish Constabulary? He did not quite understand a reply given to a Question with regard to the police force which; was put by the hon. Member for South
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Harmsworth, R. Leicester||O'Malley, William|
|Ambrose, Robert||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Mara, James|
|Boland, John||Horniman, Frederick John||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Burns, John||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||Rea, Russell|
|Caldwell, James||Joyce, Michael||Redmond, John E. (Waterford|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Kilbride, Denis||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Layland-Barratt, Francis]||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Leamy, Edmund||Roche, John|
|Cremer, William Randal||Lewis, John Herbert||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland|
|Crooks, William||Lloyd-George, David||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Cullinan, J.||Lough, Thomas||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Delany, William||Lyell, Charles Henry||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Devlin, Charles Ramsay (Galw'y||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Sheehy, David|
|Devlin, Joseph (Kilkenny, N.)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Sullivan, Donal|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.|
|Doogan, P. C.||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Edwards, Frank||Markham, Arthur Basil||Ure, Alexander|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Mooney, John J.||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||Murphy, John|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, S.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Captain Donelan and Mr. Patrick O' Brien.|
|Gilhooly, James||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Dowd, John|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Balcarres, Lord||Bigwood, James|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Blundell, Colonel Henry|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Balfour, Rt. Hn Gerald W. (Leeds||Bond, Edward|
|Arnold-Forster, Rt. Hn. Hugh O||Banbury, Sir- Frederick George||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Bartley, Sir George C. T.||Bull, William James|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Butcher, John George|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir Michael Hicks||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.|
§ Donegal. The Chief Secretary told the House last year that he was going to carry out great savings in regard to the Irish Constabulary. He hoped one of those savings was not that indicated in the reply he had given to the Question put by the hon. Member for South Donegal, because he stated that the police were to be armed with magazine carbines. They had been told that His Majesty the King was going to visit Ireland again, and he hoped that visit would be signalised by the carrying out of some scheme for placing the Irish Constabulary upon the same footing as the police force in this country because he thought Irishmen ought to be treated exactly in the same way as Englishmen. He did not wish to stand between the House and a division, but he felt that it was necessary to say a word or two in order to explain any vote he might give. He thought a reform in this direction would do more to promote a feeling of peace, goodwill, and amity between the two nations than anything else.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 65; ayes 157. (Division List No. 73.)1063
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Hambro, Charles Eric||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington|
|Cavendish, V. C. W (Derbyshire||Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'nderry||Percy, Earl|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Worc||Harris, F. Leverton (Tynem'th)||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Chapman, Edward||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Charrington, Spencer||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside||Rasch, Sir Frederick Carne|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Horner, Frederick William||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Clive, Captain Percy A.||Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Coates, Edward Feetham||Hunt, Rowland||Ridley, Hon. M. W. (Stalybridge|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Jeffreys, Rt. Hon. Arthur Fred||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton||Round, Rt. Hon. James|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, N.)||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Kenyon, Hon. Geo. T. (Denbigh||Rutherford, W.W. (Liverpool)|
|Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop.||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford|
|Cust, Henry John C.||Keswick, William||Sandys, Lieut.-Col Thos. Myles|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)||Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. Edw. J.|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Lawrence, Sir Joseph (Monm'th||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Davenport, William Bromley||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks. NR||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Davies, Sir Horatio D (Chatham||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants., Fareham||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Leveson-Gower, Frederick N S.||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Dorington, Rt. Hon. Sir John E.||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Doughty, George||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers||Lowe, Francis William||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Lancs.)|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Macdona, John Gumming||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Maclver, David (Liverpool)||Tuff, Charles|
|Fisher, William Hayes||M'Artlmr, Charles (Liverpool)||Valentia, Viscount|
|FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose||Majendie, James A. H.||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Manners, Lord Cecil||Welby, Lt,-Col. A. C. E. (Taunton|
|Flower, Sir Ernest||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Forster, Henry William||Maxwell, Rt Hn Sir H E (Wigt'n||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Fyler, John Arthur||Maxwell,W J H (Dumfriesshire||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Galloway, William Johnson||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Gardner, Ernest||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)|
|Gibbs, Hon A. G. H.||Morgan, David J (Walthamstow||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick||Morpeth, Viscount||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart|
|Gordon, Hn J E (Elgin & Nairn||Morrison, James Archibald||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby-(Linc.||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Goschen, Hon. George Joachim||Mount, William Arthur||Younger, William|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.|
|Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury)||Murray, Rt Hn A Graham (Bute||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Mr. Ailwyn Fellowes.|
|Grenfell, William Henry||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Gretton, John||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Groves, James Grimble||Parker, Sir Gilbert|