HC Deb 23 July 1908 vol 193 cc305-6

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland if he can state the number of police officers of the Royal Irish Constabulary who were transferred from Belfast to counties after the attempted police strike on 27th July, 1907; the number who were reported for attending the meeting at Musgrave Street Barracks on the same date; the number of such officers who denied the charge; and by what authority were such officers punished by receiving unfavourable records for offences denied by them, seeing that no Court of inquiry was held, and in view of the denial of facilities for proving their innocence.

(Answered by Mr. Birrell.) Two head constables, four sergeants, and 228 constables were transferred from Belfast in connection with the occurrences of July, 1907. 224 constables were reported for disobedience of orders by attending the meeting at Musgrave Street Barracks, and of these 97 denied the charge. The Inspector-General found the charge to be proved as regards 208 constables, and allowed the charges to drop in the remaining 16 cases. Courts of inquiry are not held as a matter of course in such cases, but only if the Inspector-General requires the assistance of such Courts to enable him to arrive at a decision. In these cases the evidence was clear, and the Inspector-General required no such assistance. Each case was dealt with separately, and the written statement of the accused was fully considered. It should be stated that, of the transfers referred to in the first part of this Answer, the two head constables, the four sergeants, and nine of the constables were not reported for disobedience of orders, but were subsequently transferred in the interests of the service.