HC Deb 24 July 1916 vol 84 cc1316-20
49. Mr. BYRNE

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware of the dissatisfaction in the ranks of the Dublin Metropolitan Police caused by the recent orders instructing them to go through a course of military training and musketry drill; if he can say whether this is being done on the advice of the opponents of Home Rule; if he is aware that the Dublin Metropolitan Police were called upon to pay their own expenses, including board and lodging, whilst at Dollymount Camp undergoing their drill; if he is aware that this action on the part of the authorities is resented by the men, who maintain that they joined a civil and unarmed force for the protection of life and property; if he is aware that men long over military age, with from thirty to forty years' service, were compelled to take part in these military drillings; if he is aware that the Dublin Metropolitan Police resent being turned into an armed force under a military body; if he will say whether it is contemplated to increase their pay or grant them a bonus for this military work; if he is aware that the Dublin Metropolitan Police are the lowest paid force in the United Kingdom; if he can say when their conditions are likely to be improved; if he is aware that the action of the Government and their suggestion to appoint resident magistrates to try persons who could not be found guilty of charges made against them by either judge or jury and the continuance of martial law is looked upon with distrust and suspicion by the Irish people; and if he will say what steps, if any, he intends to take to find out the views of the Irish people as to the best means of a settlement of the Irish question?


I am not aware of any dissatisfaction amongst the Dublin Metropolitan Police in respect of musketry training except on the part of a few malcontents. This training is being carried out by direction of the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief with the consent of the Government. The cost of conveyance of Dublin Metropolitan Police to and from Dollymount is being defrayed out of public funds. In the first instance, the men remained at Dollymount during the whole course; they were provided with free lodgings and were messed at a lower rate than in their own barrackc. Arrangements were subsequently made to limit the course to a daily attendance of three hours, thus permitting the men to live and obtain their meals in their own barracks. Orders were issued that no man over twenty-five years' service was to be detailed for this course, but I regret to say that inadvertently a certain number of men over that service were included in the classes. It is not proposed that this force should carry rifles when on duty or otherwise except in cases of the gravest necessity. An extra messing allowance has been approved for men on musketry duty sleeping at Dollymount, and an application for the grant of a war bonus for the force is receiving consideration. It is not the fact that the Dublin Metropolitan Police are the lowest paid force in the United Kingdom. As regards the large issues raised in the last two parts of the question, I am not in a position to add anything to statements previously made.


Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether a suggestion has been made that these men should be trained in the use of firearms, this being another term for coercion?


I have nothing to add to my answer.


Is it not the fact, as alleged in the question, that these policemen were called upon to pay their own expenses, including board and lodging, whilst at the Dollymount Camp undergoing drill. If that be true, and I believe it, will he take steps to remedy it?


If the hon. Member will read my answer he will see that I have replied to it. It certainly is not the case.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the dissatisfaction that exists in the Dublin Metropolitan Police, so much so that meetings have been held to protest against their treatment as well as the conduct of one of the principal officers and one of the chief advisers of Sir John Maxwell.


No; I was not aware of it.



50. Mr. G. TERRELL

asked the Prime Minister whether the Committee which he has appointed to consider the commercial and industrial policy after the War will have power under the terms of reference to recommend a general tariff on foreign imports for the purposes of revenue and for the protection of Home industries; and, if not, whether he will enlarge the reference, so as to enable these two matters to be included?


The questions to which the Government desire to direct the special attention of the Committee are set out in the second part of the terms of reference; but the reference is so drawn as not to hamper the Committee in considering any questions which they may think relevant to the main object of their inquiry.

51. Mr. BYRNE

asked the Prime Minister if he will state why Ireland is not represented on the committee appointed to consider the Commercial and Industrial Policy to be adopted after the War; if he is aware that Ireland needs a share of the revival of trade; and if, in justice to Ireland and the Irish soldiers, he will appoint Irish representatives on the committee.


As I informed the hon. Member for Waterford on Thursday last, I shall be glad to consider any suggestion he may make.

54. Major NEWMAN

asked whether the members of the Committee appointed to consider commercial problems after the War, and who are nominated in view of their personal ability to consider such problems, will deal with such problems as affecting the United Kingdom only or of the Empire as a whole?


asked why no representatives of the Dominions have been appointed on the Committee on industrial and commercial policy to be adopted after the War, having regard to the fact that the Committee is to inquire into the resources of the Empire and how the sources of supply within the Empire can be prevented from falling under Foreign control?


asked why in the constitution of the Committee appointed to consider the terms of the report of the recent Paris Conference and industrial conditions after the War there is no one included from the Dominions or Dependencies; and what steps the Government will now take to remedy this omission?

62. Captain Sir OWEN PHILIPPS

asked the Prime Minister what arrange- ments, if any, he proposes to make for the representation of the Oversea Dominions on the Committee which is to consider the commercial and industrial policy to be adopted after the War, with special reference to the conclusions reached at the Economic Conference of the Allies?


I will answer these questions together by reading a telegram which was sent by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies to the Self-governing Dominions early in May: His Majesty's Government desire as soon as practicable to convene a Conference representative of the United Kingdom, the Dominions and India to consider the commercial policy to be adopted after the War. In view of past fiscal controversies in this country, we consider it essential as a prior step in order that the Conference may have practical results, to set up a Committee here with a view of discovering how far agreement among ourselves may be possible under the changed conditions brought about by the War. But we wish to make it clear that in our judgment the appointment of this Committee, whatever may be its result, will not as we hope delay unduly the holding of the larger Conference or interfere in any way with the free and unprejudiced discussion of the problems with the overseas representatives. I trust that this method of procedure will commend itself to your Ministers. The Dominion Governments concurred in this procedure, and the Committee to which the hon. Gentleman refers has accordingly been appointed.


Was not that telegram sent prior to the sitting of the Paris Conference; was not the composition of the Paris Conference modified in order to comply with the reasonable request that the Dominions overseas should be represented; and, in view of the fact that the principle was there recognised, is it not reasonable now that, in working out the details of the scheme, the Dominions should be represented?


No, Sir Mr. Hughes went to the Paris Conference as representing the Empire, not as representing any particular Dominion.


Does the right hon. Gentleman desire the free discussion of the fiscal system throughout the country or is it to be confined to this Committee?