HC Deb 03 July 1913 vol 54 cc2173-5

asked the Chief Secretary whether a vote of subscribers to the Irish Constabulary Force Fund was taken in 1893, when, for reasons then existing, the proposal to wind up the fund was defeated; and if he will say why a vote is not taken now when those reasons no longer exist and when more than 90 per cent. of the subscribers desire the fund to be wound up?


As I have already stated, this fund was created by Statute for the benefit of widows and orphans of subscribers, and ought not to be diverted from that purpose unless it can be shown that owing to change of circumstances the original trusts cannot properly be executed. The matter is not one to be determined by the votes of the existing subscribers.


asked the Chief Secretary whether, when conceding a partial inquiry into the administration of the Irish Constabulary Force Fund in response to the complaints of the subscribers, he consulted those subscribers as to the character, scope, and object of the inquiry; if not, on what grounds the usual practice in dealing with public servants was departed from in this case; and how and when it is proposed to deal with the many matters of complaint which the investigations of an actuary do not reach?


The inquiry which is in progress into the state of the Constabulary Force Fund is an actuarial one, and there was, therefore, no necessity for consulting the subscribers as to its scope. Any complaints with regard to the administration of the fund which may be made will receive careful consideration.


May I ask what consideration the right hon. Gentleman is giving at the present time to the almost universal complaints of this body?


I am not conscious at all of "almost universal complaints."


asked the Chief Secretary whether he will specify the enactment, if any, supposed to give power to pay to the widow and children of a non-lapsed subscriber to the Irish Constabulary Force Fund less than the subscriber paid into that fund?


The scale of gratuities. to widows and children is not fixed by any Statute, but by the rules framed under the authority of the Statutes governing the fund. Every gratuity is paid in strict accordance with these rules. Gratuities are, as a rule, far in excess of the amount contributed to the fund by the deceased subscriber. In some few cases, when a deceased subscriber only leaves unmarried daughters over eighteen years of age, without a mother, the amount of the Grant may happen to be less than the amount subscribed.


asked whether the practice of paying out of the Irish Constabulary Force Fund rewards for meritorious service was introduced by Inspector-General Sir John Stewart Wood; whether this officer was afterwards dismissed for insubordination; and whether there is any statutory authority for the system introduced by him of paying such rewards out of the contributions of the men?


The Act of 1836, which created the fund, provided for the payment of rewards out of it. Sir John Stewart Wood was not dismissed. He retired in 1876, owing to ill-health, after many years of good service, and was awarded the highest pension possible.

12. Mr. GIN NELL

asked the Chief Secretary if he will specify the authority under which, when the Irish Constabulary Force Fund was divided into two branches, one source of revenue, till then subject to the trusts to which the benefit branch is now subject, was cut off from that branch and transferred to the reward branch?


The separation of the receipts from fines and penalties from the receipts arising from deductions from pay and pensions was made under the authority of and in the circumstances explained to Parliament by Treasury Minute of 20th February, 1891. It was one of the conditions under which Parliament was asked to Vote £150,000 for the benefit branch of the fund. By this division the benefit branch of the fund gained, being saved all liability for payment of bounties and rewards, which, prior to 1891, were a charge against the assets of the whole fund.


asked the Chief Secretary if he will state the gross assets of the Irish Constabulary Force Fund on the appointment of Colonel Hillier to the Inspector-Generalship in 1876, and at the end of his term of office, respectively; whether the insolvency of the fund was the result of the practice introduced by him of making grants out of it to head constables on promotion to district inspectorships; and will he state the statutory authority, if any, for the practice?


The amounts to the credit of the fund on 1st April, 1876, were: Stock, £59,047, and balance on Current Account, £7,170; and on the 1st April, 1882, the amounts were: Stock £90,533, and balance on Current Account, £1,666. The answer to the second paragraph of the question is in the negative. As I have already informed the hon. Member, these payments were made in accordance with the Rules of the fund approved by the Lord Lieutenant under Section 9 of the Constabulary Force (Ireland) Act, 1866.