HC Deb 25 April 1907 vol 173 cc254-5
MR. J. DEVLIN (Belfast, W.)

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether at the police inquiry held in the city of Belfast in June 1906, to examine into the conditions of the local force, a Sergeant Kerrigan, an officer of over eighteen years meritorious and unblemished service, testified to the injustice done to Catholic members of the force by the promotion, over their heads, of Protestants whose records did not entitle them to such advancement; whether, in spite of such being the case, his evidence was over-ruled; whether since that time he has been debarred from all promotion by the action he then took, although sergeants several years his junior in rank and service have been promoted, with much less favourable records; and whether he will communicate with the Inspector-General as to the particulars of Kerrigan's case, with a view to a settlement of the claim he makes in regard to the treatment meted out to him because of his being a Catholic.

(Answered by Mr. Birrell.) I am informed by the police authorities that Sergeant Kerrigan's evidence contained a suggestion to the effect mentioned in the first part of the Question, but that the suggestion is quite without foundation. Since the date of the inquiry two sergeants only have been promoted to the rank of head constable in Belfast, and these were senior to Sergeant Kerrigan both as regards service in the force and service in the rank of sergeant. The Inspector-General informs me that neither Sergeant Kerrigan nor any other police witness has been injuriously affected by the evidence which he gave. The sergeant has made neither claim nor complaint to the effect suggested in the last paragraph, and the Inspector-General assures me that the suggestion is entirely unwarranted.