§ 9. Mr. GINNELL
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland, whether he will state the present amount of the benefit and reward branches, respectively, of the Irish Constabulary Force Fund; the purpose and trusts to which the latter is subject; the amount paid out of it to Sir A. Reed, and on what grounds; the amount paid out of it to French, who subsequently fled from justice, and on what grounds; the date at which the Comptroller and Auditor- General took charge of those accounts; whether an independent examination of the accounts of both branches prior to that date will be allowed; whether he is aware that contributors, no matter how long they have been contributing or what their need, never derive any benefit from the fund, and that widows and orphans, where 1348 such relatives survive, receive benefit only at half the rate paid in; whether he is aware that these terms are worse financially than those offered by any insurance company, and that the fund, if properly administered, would yield better terms; and, seeing that the contributors have never controlled its administration, and that all the survivors, whose property the fund is, now desire it to be wound up and distributed, will he say what reason, if any, there is against that course?
§ The CHIEF SECRETARY for IRELAND (Mr. Birrell)
The amount of the benefit branch of the Constabulary Force Fund on 4th December last was, Consols £221,511, local loans stock £154,000, and cash £2,539. The invested capital of the reward branch of the fund is £12,500, and the balance on the current account at the beginning of the financial year was £3,916: The purpose of this branch is to pay such rewards and gratuities to members of the force for good police service as the Lord Lieutenant may from time to time approve. The trusts of the benefit branch of the fund are to provide gratuities for the widows and orphans (if any) of deceased subscribers, and not for the subscribers themselves. Families often receive in gratuities from three to nine times the amount contributed by the deceased subscriber. The benefits received from this fund are not properly comparable with those received under an ordinary insurance policy. As I have repeatedly stated, the fund is perfectly solvent, and is meeting all claims in full, paying out upwards of £17,000 per annum to widows and orphans of contributors, and I see no reason whatever for interfering with this normal and equitable process of winding up the fund. The other points raised in the question have already been, answered by me.
§ Mr. GINNELL
The right hon. Gentleman has omitted to answer how much has been paid out of this fund to Sir A. Reed and to French.
§ Mr. BIRRELL
If I answer the questions of the hon. Member twice over there will be no end. I have already stated that no-grants were made to Sir A. Reed or to-French out of the benefit branch of the-funds.
§ 18. Mr. GINNELL
asked the Chief Secretary by whose authority the Inspector-General of the Irish Constabulary has issued a circular to the subscribers to and owners of the Irish Constabulary Force Fund dissuading them from demanding the winding up and distribution of their own money and accusing them of dishonesty and attempting to deprive widows and orphans of their right; whether such language for the head of the force to address to his subordinates has received his sanction; whether he will at once test its accuracy by taking a vote of those in whose interest it was ostensibly written; what amount the late Inspector-General, who was not a subscriber, obtained from the the unanimous request of the subscribers fund on retiring; what amount is earmarked for the present Inspector-General on retiring; and whether, before refusing to have the fund wound up and distributed, he will consult some more impartial person?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
No such circular has been issued by the Inspector-General. No grant was made to the late Inspector-General, Sir A. Reed, from the benefit branch of the fund, but he received on his retirement a reward of £171 from the reward branch, which is derived from fines and penalties, and not from subscriptions. The present Inspector-General is not eligible for any grant from the fund. As regards the remainder of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I have just given to his previous question on this subject.
§ Mr. BIRRELL
I do not know anything about the printed circular. It was not issued by the Inspector-General or the Central Office.