HC Deb 31 October 1919 vol 120 cc1078-81

Where a member of either police force to whom Sub-section (1) of Section one of the Irish Police Constables (Naval and Military Service) Act, 1914, as extended by any subsequent enactment applies is unable owing to injuries, ill-health, or other reasonable cause to return to the police force immediately after the termination of his service in the Navy, Army, or Air Force, the interval between the termination of such Service and his return to the police force may, if the Lord Lieutenant so directs, be reckoned as a period of service in the police force in calculating any police pension, allowance, or gratuity that may be granted to him or his dependants.—[Mr. Denis Henry.]

Brought up, and read the first time.


I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a second time."

A large number of members of the Royal Irish Constabulary joined the Army during the War, and the result of the legislation on the subject dealing with their pensions is this; so long as they were actually in the Army they were entitled to pay and pension in the ordinary way, and once they returned to the Royal Irish Constabulary the time was again counted for pay and pension, but in the case of men who were discharged from the Army suffering from wounds and illness, and who could not for the moment be taken back into the Royal Irish Constabulary for that cause, they lost that period in the calculation for pension and also for pay. What we propose to do by the new Clause is, where a man is unable owing to injuries, ill health, or other reasonable cause to return to the police force, to enable the Lord Lieutenant to direct that that period should be reckoned for the purposes of his pension in future. I think it is a very reasonable proposition, and I do not apprehend that hon. Members will have any objection.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause accordingly read a second time, and added to the Bill.

Bill reported; as amended, considered.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."—[Mr. Henry.]


I am only expressing the opinion of the Irish trade union members of the House here in saying that we are very much pleased that this Bill has been carried through the Second Reading and is now before the House for Third Reading. I am a trade unionist myself, and the hon. Gentleman who introduced the Amendment in connection with the second Clause said he was one for twenty years. I am one for thirty years, and I am quite convinced that in dealing with the Amendment to Clause 2 the proper course was adopted. We in Ireland do not experience any difficulty in regulating the interests and affairs of the Royal Irish Constabulary. These men when they have grievances have a medium for bringing them before the authorities and can have them adjusted, and we know from experience from time to time that these men when they are unlawfully or wrongfully dismissed have a medium for bringing the ease before the authorities and having the same heard. But I am here to say that I do not recognise in the Royal Irish Constabulary any claim to be regarded as trade unionists. Trade unionists, as we understand them, are men who are associated with the production of something or the manufacture of something. In this respect we do not regard the Royal Irish Constabulary as trade unionists, and, moreover, it has been pointed out by the learned Attorney-General that, indeed, it would be a failure and quite a wrong proceeding on our part if we allowed them to become recognised trade unionists. We know what has been experienced ill England in connection with the police endeavouring to have these conditions obtained for themselves. It has been pointed out by another hon. Member what confusion transpired in Liverpool by reason of the attempt to force this, and now we see in Ireland what would inevitably happen if such a privilege were accorded.

A man cannot be at once a judge and a witness. That is to say, we cannot regard these men who are charged with the protection of the interests of the community as having a right to combine and probably to exert an influence against the interests of the community, and that is the position we have taken up in this matter. We will take the case of a judge on the bench. If he is a judge and occupying a high and honourable position, lie is nevertheless still a lawyer, and if the King's Counsels thought it right to combine in any form of trade union we should not feel that judges were called upon or ought, indeed, to be permitted to enter any such combination, by reason of the fact that we expect them to act impartially in all cases brought before them, as representing the Crown in criminal cases and in disputes between litigants. We would not like that these judges should be permitted to combine in order that they might defend the interests of the legal profession. Thus it becomes inevitable that it would not be in the interests of the police force their-selves if they were permitted to combine. Moreover, I am convinced that it would mean disintegration amongst the force, because in it there are a great many loyal men who have not the least desire to be mixed up politically in any questions of this sort, and I am also of the opinion that the point of the Amendment was not exactly—

Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Sir E. Cornwall)

We are not discussing the Amendment, but the Third Reading of the Bill. The Amendment was disposed of a short while ago, and we cannot now go back on it.


I quite realise that and will not proceed with that point. We are quite satisfied with the course that has been taken by the Government as being in the interests of the community at large. For this and other reasons I have very much pleasure indeed in expressing the delight I feel that the Bill has reached the Third Reading stage, and I confidently hope that the House will see its way to give it a Third Reading.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the third time, and passed.