HC Deb 01 November 1916 vol 86 cc1780-3

Resolution reported,

" That it is expedient to authorise the further provision out of moneys provided by Parliament for the pay of members of the Royal Irish Constabulary and Dublin Metropolitan Police and for pensions, allowances, and gratuities to members of those forces, their widows, and children."

Motion made, and Question proposed, " That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."

Colonel CRAIG

I would like to ask the Chief Secretary whether this Bill is not framed to cover the case of the officer of the Dublin Metropolitan Police and the Royal Irish Constabulary? There has been a great deal of correspondence with my colleagues on the subject, and I have in my hand a rough and ready calculation dealing with the pay of the officers of the Royal Irish Constabulary. I leave aside for the moment the Dublin Metropolitan Police force with the conditions of service with which I am not very familiar. I would, like the Chief Secretary to give some indication of what is being done for the officers of the Royal Irish Constabulary. The right hon. Gentleman will bear in mind that the reasons which have actuated the Government in raising the pay of the men of the Royal Irish Constabulary at present apply with almost double force to some of the officers. In 1882 the present rate of pay of the officers was fixed. Since then the rank and file have had their salaries and allowances revised on several occasions, but on none of those occasions were the merits of the officers considered. I hope that the Chief Secretary now will look sympathetically into their case and see that a somewhat adequate increase is given to the officers of this force.

One of the reasons which actuated the Government in attending to the pay of the Royal Irish Constabulary, at present particularly, is the extra cost of living in various localities. That equally applies to the officers. Another reason is that the force have had a very strenuous time to go through, and everybody sympathises with the loyal way in which the whole force has backed up the Government during the past disturbed time. I heard the other day someone say, with justice, that the police force throughout the length and breadth of Ireland have behaved in the most magnificent manner during most of the trying times through which the country has recently passed. That has been always their reputation. But that esprit de corps,that fine feeling, has been undoubtedly engendered by the extraordinary ability of those who have been officers in the force, and I think it would ill-become the Government, when dealing once more with the pay of the rank and file who have received an increase within the memory of everyone in the House, and quite recently, in the past few years—to neglect to pay some attention to those officers who have been maintained at exactly the same rate of pay since 1882. The Treasury Remembrancer drew up a minority report, which was adopted, and the officers were left in the same hopeless financial condition as before. An increase of £10 was granted to third-class inspectors and maximum pay was given to the first-class officers, after nine years' service, instead of twelve years. I do not intend to make a prolonged speech at this time. Some of my Friends who had intended to support me are not here, this Motion having come on unexpectedly. We will have an opportunity of discussing these matters when the Bill is before the House, but I thought it was only fair and courteous to the Chief Secretary and the Government to point out that we shall be obliged to raise the question of the officers when the Bill is introduced, and therefore we will afford the Government some opportunity of meeting the case as far as possible when the Bill is drafted. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary will give us some assurance that these matters will not be left out of this proposed Bill.


No one who is acquainted with the members of the Irish Police Force of all ranks can fail to admire the courageous, gallant and loyal way in which they have behaved. I do not think there is any party who has not appreciated the conduct, during the crisis, of both police forces, and also of all ranks. With the majority of people with whom I have come in contact no question has ever been raised as to the strenuous service rendered in the past by all ranks of the Irish Constabulary. My hon. and gallant Friend has drawn a distinction between the rank and file and the more highly paid members of the force. In these trying times the pressure falls more acutely and immediately on those who have small incomes than on those who have large incomes.

Colonel CRAIG

I would point out that, in the case of the officers, a higher style of living is insisted upon by the Inspector-General, and, although that is quite right, still there are underpaid junior officers who find the pressure just as much as their constables.


Representations were made to the Government with regard to the position of the officers, and I had the opportunity of discussing the matter with the chiefs of both forces. The Bill has been framed in a manner which, in my judgment, deals as practically as we are able to do with the position of the officers, up to a certain rank. The hon. and gallant Gentleman will see from the Schedules whether there is any reason to complain, and he will see the course which has been taken with regard to the officers. As the hon. Gentleman has said, the matter will be open to discussion, and, when the Bill is presented, I ask him to examine the Schedule with care. Although I cannot hold out any expectation that I can persuade the Treasury to go any appreciable distance beyond what they have done in respect of the burden put on the Treasury in regard to police pay. Still if "there is any glaring inconsistency or discrepancy, attention will be given to it.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill ordered to be brought in upon the said Resolution by Mr. Duke, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the Attorney-General for Ireland.


BILL, —"to amend the Law relating to the pay and pensions of the Royal Irish Constabulary and Dublin Metropolitan Police," presented accordingly, and read the first time; to be read a second time upon Tuesday next, and to be printed. [Bill 118.]