§ (1) The existing Irish officers who at the appointed day are concerned solely with the administration of public services in Southern Ireland shall become officers of the Government of Southern Ireland, and the existing Irish officers who at the appointed day are concerned solely with the administration of public services in Northern Ireland shall become officers of the Government of Northern Ireland.
§ (2) The existing Irish officers who at the appointed day are concerned with the administration of public services both in Southern Ireland or Northern Ireland shall be allocated as between the Governments of Southern Ireland and Northern Ireland in such manner as the Civil Service Committee may determine; and in determining whether any particular officer is to be allocated to the Government of Southern Ireland or to the Government of Northern Ireland, the Civil Service Committee shall, so far as the exigencies of the public service admit, endeavour to give effect to the wishes of the officer:
§ Provided that any existing Irish officers who at the appointed day are solely employed in public services which are as from the appointed day administered by the Council of Ireland shall become officers of the Council of Ireland.
§ Major O'NEILL
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), after the word "solely" ["who at the appointed day are concerned solely"], to insert the words "or mainly".
§ This is really only a drafting Amendment.
I regret that the Government cannot see their way to accept this Amendment. In this Section, as drafted, there is a perfectly clear system of arrangement in relation to these officers. Irish officers who on the appointed day are solely concerned with the administration of public services in Southern Ireland go to Southern Ireland, and those who are concerned solely with Northern Ireland go to Northern Ireland. In the case of officers who are partly 91 concerned with Southern Ireland and partly with Northern Ireland, the allocation is made by the Civil Service Committee. To add the words "or mainly" would create an absolutely impossible position. Who is to determine whether an officer is "solely or mainly" concerned with one part of Ireland or the other? A distinction can be drawn between those who are solely employed in either of the two areas, and this Clause enables them to be allocated either to Southern or to Northern Ireland, as the case may be. In the case of those who are partly concerned with both areas, it is absolutely necessary that some body should go into each particular case, and, accordingly, the Civil Service Committee is set up. It would only create confusion to add the words "or mainly". Indeed, if the hon. and gallant Member will look at the Sub-section, he will see that his Amendment would only relate to Northern Ireland.
I should like to point out that the addition of the words "or mainly" would create an impossible position, because, since Southern Ireland is a larger area than Northern Ireland, an officer who was concerned partly with both would necessarily be concerned mainly with Southern Ireland. We think that a great difficulty and confusion would arise if we accepted the Amendment, and that it will really serve no good purpose.
§ Major O'NEILL
I think that, perhaps, I did not fully appreciate the extent of the ramifications of this Amendment, and I beg to ask leave to withdraw it.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Major O'NEILL
I beg to move, in Sub-section (2), after the word "determine" ["in such manner as the Civil Service Committee may determine"], to insert the words "subject to the approval of the Governments of Southern and Northern Ireland respectively."
This Amendment raises a much larger and more important point than the last one. As the hon. and learned Gentleman has stated, where officers are concerned, as is the case with the large majority, both with Northern and with Southern Ireland, their allocation is to be deter- 92 mined by the Civil Service Committee, and my Amendment suggests that the Civil Service Committee shall only be able to make that allocation after consulting with and securing the approval of the Governments of the two areas. If that is not done, it seems to me that a difficult state of affairs might arise. As things are at present in Ireland, it is not at all unlikely that most of the Civil Servants— who, of course, are primarily located in Dublin—would rather be under the Northern Government than the Southern; and the large majority of the existing Civil Servants in Dublin might be anxious, if they possibly could, to serve under the Northern Government, in order to be free from the, possibly, very difficult set of circumstances under a Sinn Fein Government, if that were set up in the South. For years we have heard in this House constant tirades against Castle government. We have been told that it is the curse of Ireland, that it is governed by a set of Civil Servants who owe their allegiance to what is called the Castle régime. Surely, if you transferred those people, say, to the Northern Parliament, without asking it whether it desires to have them, you would be perpetuating in the North this system of Castle government which has been so much denounced in Ireland as a whole. A lot of elderly men, who may be largely past their work, may be anxious to go to the Northern Parliament, and the Government of Northern Ireland will not be able to say "No" to the decision of the Committee that they shall go there. Moreover, it is well known that to a large extent the Civil Service in Dublin—not, perhaps, in the case of the highest officials—is imbued with the doctrines which find acceptance among the majority of the people in that part of the country. It would really be asking for the breakdown of government in the northern part of Ireland if a large number of those gentlemen, whose sympathies might be entirely with the South, were, at the behest of this Civil Service Committee, sent up to the Government in the North. That would lead to friction, and might lead to a conflict of opinion between the Civil Servants of the Government and the Parliament which controls that Government. I hope that the Government will see the force of the case I am putting before them, and will accept some modification of the scheme at present proposed in the Bill.
No doubt, as the hon. and gallant Member says, there may be many difficulties in relation to the allocation of Civil Servants in Ireland to the respective Governments of Southern and Northern Ireland. At present, however, there is a body of Civil Servants in existence in Ireland, and they must be dealt with. The Government have to find the best way of dealing with them, and they consider it to be that provided in the Bill, namely, by setting up this Civil Service Committee, which, as the Committee will remember, is to consist of one member from the Government of Northern Ireland, one member from the Government of Southern Ireland, and two members from the existing Civil Service, with a member appointed by the Lord Chief Justice of England as chairman. The Civil Servants are quite satisfied with that provision, which balances the parties evenly. The Governments and the Civil Servants are equally represented, and, if there is any difficulty, surely the Lord Chief Justice's nominee will be sufficient to settle it. If this Amendment were accepted, we should have, after the Committee had decided the matter, to come back and get the Parliaments of Northern and Southern Ireland to accept the Civil Servants so allocated. I think that that would create great difficulty. The case might arise in which a particular individual, having been allocated to Northern Ireland and refused by the Parliament there, might be allocated to Southern Ireland and also refused by the Parliament there. I think my hon and gallant Friend will see that for business purposes, and for the purpose of transferring Civil Servants who are already in existence, the arrangement provided in the Bill is the best that could be adopted, and that it would only be creating confusion to provide that the approval of the respective Parliaments should be required.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
The arguments of the learned and gallant Gentleman (Major O'Neill) were curiously interesting. First of all, he urged in favour of his Amendment that if the Clause stands as it is in all probability there might be a perpetuation of the much dreaded Castle rule in the Northern Parliament. I understand that all that Ulster wanted was to be let alone. I am indeed delighted to hear 94 that they share to some extent the views of Southern Ireland in regard to what is known as Castle rule in Dublin.
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
I am unable to distinguish the rule of Dublin Castle from the officials who carry out the administration. His second argument was, "For all we know we may be getting in the Northern Parliament officials who are working at present in the South of Ireland and have become infected by the virus which is apparently widespread in the political atmosphere there, so we shall not be able to put up with those people." The solvent which he suggested for the difficulty is, let each Government chose its own officials. The more one knows of Ireland the less one knows of Ireland, and I cannot imagine a merrier time than the new Governments will have in the scrambling for unwilling officials between the Northern and the Southern Parliaments. Some will wish to remain in the South. According to the Clause, as far as the exigencies of the public service admit, they must endeavour to give effect to the wishes of the officers. One officer has lived in the South and has presumably become infected by the political desires of the South; another has been too long in Dublin under the shadow of the Castle, so he is undesirable. What it really resolves itself into is apparantly this: pension them all and start afresh. That is apparently the solution that is going to be applied to the whole thing. The officer's desires, of course, must be consulted. The Northern Parliament wants him and the Southern Parliament may want him, and between them all, having tried every possible avenue which may open up a decision, you call in an Englishman to settle it in the shape of the Lord Chief Justice of this country. If that is the way in which the Bill is going to be carried out it shows the hopeless chaos of the whole matter.
§ Sir E. CARSON
The right hon. Gentleman is a very good champion of Castle Government. He sees nothing against these officials in Dublin Castle or officials appointed by Dublin Castle. He thinks the whole thing is really splendid and these are a splendid lot of officers who have to be allocated between the two Parliaments. Immediately after- 95 wards he confessed that he really knew very little about it, and I think that is the truest thing he said. I will tell the Committee the exact position. Under the long régime that went on when the Liberal Government came into power in 1916, during the time they were trying to prove that this Parliament could not govern Ireland—because that was the set policy of Mr. Birrell—they crammed every one of these offices that they could full of Sinn Feiners. The whole Post Office, even in the North of Ireland, is full of Sinn Feiners. You cannot send a letter or a telegram there without its all being known, within a very few hours, in the whole district, and the other day when there was a general strike, or a general holiday—the two things are somewhat synonymous in Ireland—announced for a particular day, in a number of post offices in the North of Ireland, which were preponderatingly Unionist and Protestant, the Sinn Feiners in the post office refused to work in the post office. That is a pleasant sort of performance by Government officials. When we asked the Postmaster-General about it, he said, "It is quite true." We said, "What are you going to do with them?" He said, "I cannot do anything with them. I cannot dismiss the whole Service." Now you are setting up a Government for the North of Ireland, and as a good start for that Government you say to them, "Whether you like it or not, and practically without a voice in the matter, you must take over as your servants these men, who have been working against you and fighting against you all this time, and who have, even under the Government of the Imperial Parliament, been refusing to carry out duties which have to be performed." Do you want to make the new Governments a success or do you not? How are they to operate with such officials? If the South of Ireland does, as I apprehend it will do, begin at once to try to destroy the North of Ireland. they will have a spy in every post office and in every other office in the whole place. And those are the auspices under which we are asked to carry on the new Government. I do not think it is fair.
If it was a purely personal matter to me I should not of course mind, because I suppose the controversy will have ended for the time being, at all events, as far 96 as this House is concerned, and there may be such a state of affairs as may bring us back to the repeal of the whole Act. That is a matter which may eventually come, but I plead here on the part of the new Parliament that you are setting up in Ulster, which however we dislike it, we say we are determined to work as well as we can, do not overload us at the start with a number of officials who will be opposed to the whole Government. That is impossible, and that is what we are asked to do, and all the Amendment says is, let the Parliament that you are setting up have a voice as to whether it will have these officers or not. They are told they will not have a voice. That is a very funny kind of Parliament. We ask that the new Parliaments shall have a voice and we are told that is not a matter that can be granted. Then the right hon. Gentleman says it would be very expensive to charge the pensions of these men on the British Exchequer. But who is asking to have this Parliament set up? It is this House. It is not the people who constitute the Northern Parliament who are asking to have it set up. The right hon. Gentleman really thinks it is an extravagant proposition to put forward that if you wish to set up a Parliament and to give it a fair chance and you have to get rid of a number of officials, that the British Exchequer should pay for it. I cannot see the logic of that argument. I made a suggestion when the question of the police was being considered and my right hon. Friend (Mr. Long) said he would consider it, and I think it has been received with favour in many quarters. That was, that before you put the police under Governments that they might not wish to go under, you should dissolve the force and allow them to re-enlist if they like under either Parliament. The same thing as regards the Civil Service. If there are any of these men who will not be well received by either of these Parliaments, it is not fair to put them under the Parliament, nor is it fair to ask the Parliament to pay for them. I think the Amendment is most reasonable. It is very elementary that the Parliament should have a voice in the selection of the men who are going to do the work which it is asked to carry out. Anything else seems to me to be absurd, and I shall certainly support the Amendment.
I have a good deal of sympathy with the spirit underlying the Amendment because I believe the Civil Service should, as far as possible, be loyal and in sympathy with the particular Government, but the question becomes a very practical one, and the Committee which the Government proposes to set up to decide the allocation of these officers seems to me, in the present circumstances, as far as the Government can go. The question arises, if a large number of these men are rejected by either Northern or Southern Ireland, who is to pay the pension. Are a large number of them—young men and possibly young women— to be thrown upon the pension fund of this country? Why should Great Britain pay? I should be inclined to suggest that the rejecting Government should pay the pensions of such of these officials as they chose to reject, and who are not accepted by the other Parliament. I do not see any other solution. It would be unfair to put the burden of payment upon the Parliament of Great Britain. I would give hon. Members what they want if they are willing to pay for it, but I am not willing that the British Treasury should pay for the luxury given to these Parliaments of rejecting some of these officials whom they do not like. They should pay for their pet aversions. With regard to what the right hon. Gentleman (Sir E. Carson) said, that the Liberals proved that they could not govern Ireland, they certainly showed that they could govern Ireland better than the present Government can govern it to-day in any case.
§ Lord R. CECIL
I do not quite understand about these pensions, which seem to be the really important part of the Amendment. Suppose an officer is transferred to the Northern Government, and the next day the Northern Government dismisses him. Who pays his pension? If it is paid by the United Kingdom, as I understand it is—
§ Lord R. CECIL
In other words, none of these people are to receive any security for their pension when they are dismissed by the Government to which they are subject. I do not think that has been understood. I understood their rights were to be quite secure unless they 98 were dismissed for misconduct. That is a different matter. Whatever rights they had were to remain with them, and they were to receive the same security for being paid their pensions or compensation as they have now. I apprehend if they were dismissed without cause because they were supernumeraries, they would be entitled to a pension, and that would be paid, as now, out of funds provided by the United Kingdom. The effect of this Amendment would be to give 5.0 P.M. the right to the Northern Parliament to refuse to receive the civil servants transferred. In that case the pension would be payable and charged upon the funds of the United Kingdom; but if instead of that, under the Bill, they are received on a Monday and dismissed on a Tuesday, the pension would still be paid, as I understand it, as a charge on the funds of the United Kingdom. Therefore, it does not seem to me important whether you put this Amendment in or not; but it is important that the public should know the financial position, and whether we are really going to pay for all the things that are done by these Parliaments in Ireland in respect of their civil servants. If so, the country ought to know it. The Solicitor-General for Ireland says it is all right because we shall be able to deduct it from the taxes which are reserved. But supposing they fail to reserve these taxes; supposing they cannot collect them or get enough, what is to happen then? What would be our right of recourse against the Irish funds in order to recoup ourselves? This ought to be made clear. The public are sensitive on the question of economy, and we ought to know what we are being let in for.
§ Mr. MOLES
The argument of the right hon. Gentleman opposite is that neither of the two Parliaments in Ireland should have any right whatever to have a say in the class of civil servant to be appointed. That is a novel doctrine, and if it were to prevail government would be impossible. If the Government persist in their attitude, I tell them very frankly that over a great part of Ireland they will make public service impossible. It has been said more than once in this House that the Post Office in Ireland, root and branch, is permeated with Sinn Fein, and that nobody who is sending a letter containing anything of confidence 99 would dream of sending it through the Post Office. If that is so, what on earth is the justice of suggesting that, although you have 70 or 80 per cent. of your Post Office servants who are absolutely untrustworthy and who disobey the Official Secrets Act and not one whom a private employer would keep, these servants must be retained? I do not know how the Government can make a proposal of that kind. Surely it is of the essence of the public service that where you are taking over a vast body of servants, for whose payment you must be responsible and with whose good or ill deeds you must put up, at least you are entitled to have some kind of right or veto against those who are more than suspect? Is it reasonable to expect that the Northern Parliament is to be supposed to carry on the postal service for the six counties?
§ Mr. MOLES
If the right hon. Gentleman who says "Hear, hear" had his way, we should have to take it over immediately, and then we should have to face the difficulties to which I have referred. Let us take any other service, and the argument that I have been advancing is as cogent as it would be against the Post Office. How can you expect us to carry on these important public services if the services are entirely disaffected and the civil servants in them declare that they will make government in Ulster as impossible as they are seeking, with success, to make it impossible in other parts of Ireland? How that can be considered a fair proposal in which we can be expected to acquiesce, I do not know. The proposal put forward by the Solicitor-General is: "You have a body of public servants and you have to deal with them somehow." That is another way of saying, "We, the Government, have to get them off our hands, and we do not care what happens." It is not for us to suggest a way out for the Government. As the right hon. Member for Duncairn (Sir E. Carson) said: "We have not sought this 100 Bill." Therefore, the difficulty with which you have to deal is not of our making, but we do say that, inasmuch as you are taking action in this particular matter, you have no right to saddle upon us a body of entirely untrustworthy public servants and expect us to pay for them and carry on the services effectively. It is quite unfair, and whatever the way out may be, it is your affair to find it. We make the position as strong as we can, that inasmuch as responsibility for carrying on these services is to be ours, you are entitled to give us a Civil Service which you can expect us to carry out.
§ Captain W. BENN
We learn now that the party which is supposed to represent Ulster, represents it in such a way that their own Civil Service—
§ Captain BENN
—that their own Civil Service is honeycombed with Sinn Fein, and the party of tolerance which is always afraid of Popery in Ireland sweeping away Protestants, desires to get power to sack all the Sinn Feiners employed in the service. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not!"] Therefore, we find that the cry of intolerance is not entirely true of one party, and not true of the other. This is an Amendment to give power to the Northern Parliament to sack everybody who does not agree with them politically, and to do it at the expense of the British taxpayer. [An HON. MEMBER: "Sack the lot!"] It is on these Debates on small points that we get the most light on the point of view of hon. Members who come from Ulster. They want to set up a political proscription in the Civil Service under the Northern Parliament, so that if a person does not agree with them, he can be discharged, and be paid by the British Exchequer. It is extraordinarily difficult to discuss these matters before we discuss the financial Clauses. I understand that the amount of pension will fall on a sum which is the adjustment between England and Ireland. The proportion is to be settled by the Joint Exchequer Board, but we have not discussed the Joint Exchequer Board or the financial Clauses, so we do not know whether, if we submit to the preposterous demand made by Ulster that there should be a clean sweep, a purge of the Civil Service of everyone who does not agree 101 with them, the sum will be fairly distributed by the Exchequer Board as between the parties responsible. It is incidents such as these which make one believe that this Bill is only so much waste paper; but although it has no value, the Debate has a very real value in showing us the true position of those in Ulster.
§ Lord H. CECIL
The hon. and gallant Member who has just spoken misunderstands the position. The Liberal party persists in thinking that the difference which divides Ireland is a political difference. It is nothing of the kind. It is something more profound. My hon. Friends who represent Ulster are afraid, whether reasonably or unreasonably, that the disagreement which exists in Ireland is not the disagreement such as exists between the Liberals and Conservatives of this country or between the Methodists and Roman Catholics of this country, but it is such a difference as implies that those who differ from them will be organising civil war and revolution and treasonable conspiracy, while all the time they are nominally officials of the Northern Parliament. It is a difference in terms of civil war and not a disagreement in terms of partisan differences. It is precisely on that account that the Irish question is so difficult of solution. The Government proposal is difficult to contemplate without a smile. They accept, not perhaps in words, but in effect the view, of those who have been putting forward the irreconcilable character of the difference between the North and the the South, and, believing that they set up a Committee which is to be carefully balanced between the North and South, with the Lord Chief Justice of England, as the nearest approach to King Solomon that they can obtain, to give final judgment between the disputants. To that Committee—on the impartiality of which, at any rate, on the impartiality of the chairman they can rely —they entrust the powers of safeguarding the rights of civil servants, and the result of that is that super-imposed upon the absurdity of compulsorily dosing the Irish people with a nominal system of self-government which they loudly declare they do not desire. You dose a self-governing Parliament with officials they do not desire, and then you turn away, proud of your allegiance to the principle of autonomy, self-determination, and so on. 102 I do not see why, if you are going to give them government at all, you should not allow them to select their own Civil Servants. My Noble Friend (Lord R. Cecil) has pointed out that you are making a law which would entitle them to dismiss an official the day after he is appointed. Why not, under those circumstances, allow the Government of the Northern and Southern Parliaments decide whether they will have the officials appointed at all? It is not clear to me upon whom the cost will ultimately fall. We are told that the pensions are to be paid in the first place where a person fails to be appointed or where he is unreasonably dismissed by the Government of the North or the South. Of this the Committee is to judge. Having been dismissed, such person is to be paid out of funds which are paid to the British Exchequer in the first instance, but kept for the payment of Irish services. Does that mean that the loss will ultimately fall upon the Irish or upon the British taxpayer? The machinery is confessedly complicated, and I shall be glad if the Government will tell us whether the effect of that method of paying the pension means that the Irish taxpayer—I suppose the Irish taxpayer in all Ireland, and not distributed between the North or the South, although I am not sure of that—will have to pay. If not, which of the Irish taxpayers will have to pay, or, on the other hand, will the cost of these pensions have to be paid out of the taxes of England and Scotland? Does not this Amendment show, as all our discussions show, how farcical it is to proceed in the way the Government are proceeding, and how impossible it is to set up any form of self-government with the state of Irish opinion such as it is at the present time?
§ Mr. STEWART
I wish to reinforce the position of the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University (Lord H. Cecil). Are we dealing with Irish or British money? If we are dealing with British money we should be very careful about the number of annuitants with which we saddle ourselves. We are pretty well overburdened as it is. With the spirit of the Amendment I have great sympathy. If you are going to impose on these Parliaments the liability to take over officers in whom they cannot place any confidence, I think that both Southern and Northern Parliaments should have a say in the matter. There is the difficulty that when 103 you get an overplus of officers you have got to treat them fairly. I am sorry that the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Long) is not present, because he of all Members of this House, is in a position to have studied this question, as the naval service is now subject to a great overplus of officers, and they have gone into the question of how many officers should be retained, and the terms on which the services of the others should be discontinued. There must be an estimate about a matter of this sort. What is the liability of the Irish and the British Treasury if we have to provide pensions for all these officers whose services are not required?
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
This discussion has wandered away from the lucid statement made by the Solicitor-General for Ireland originally when explaining the Clause. This Clause only relates to officers who are not solely carrying on the work which is allocated either to the Northern or the Southern Parliament. All Post Office questions, except the actual headquarter staff at Dublin, are ruled out at once. The Post Office is a reserved service, and therefore neither Parliament is concerned with the staff, but even after union the question would not arise. It is only with regard to officers who are not solely carrying on work allocated to one of other of the Parliaments. As regards those, the claim is made that each Parliament should have a veto against anyone being transferred to the work of that Parliament without that Parliament's consent. I have a lot of sympathy with the desire of those who are going to administer the work of the Parliament of Northern Ireland, that the officials should be loyal officials, able to carry on the work; but we have given the protection that there is set up a joint Civil Service Committee, upon which each of the two Parliaments is represented, and upon which the Civil Service belonging to Northern Ireland will have a representative, and that belonging to Southern Ireland will have a representative. So that on that Committee you will have two Members definitely interested in the administration of Northern Ireland, and two definitely interested in the administration of Southern Ireland. There will be a Treasury representative and an independent chairman appointed by the 104 Lord Chief Justice of England, and the Committee will consider the names of various officers for transfer to one or other of the two Parliaments. If there is anybody to whom the Northern Parliament objects, the two Northern representatives can take exception to him, and similarly exception can be taken to any one to whom the Southern Parliament objects.
Suppose that there were a veto given, and suppose this was accepted. Would it in practice work out in a different way? Would, in fact, there not have to be representatives of each of the two Governments considering the qualifications and past history of the officers who were to be transferred, and, in fact, would not the same procedure be carried out on behalf of the two Governments? I think it would myself, and I believe that we have given complete protection by this Bill. But suppose there were a case of an odd one or two officers to whom both Parliaments objected, then who is to pay the pension? As it stands now— I will deal with the finance in a very few words; it is quite simple—the pensions of retained officers retained in conditions stated in the Act, are chargeable upon the Consolidated Fund of this country. But under Clause 52, which we have already passed, there will be a deduction made from the payments which will ultimately be made to the two Parliaments of a sum equivalent to the pensions that are paid. So although the officers will get the security of the Consolidated Fund, the United Kingdom in fact will not pay any part of the pension, but each Parliament will be charged with the pensions of its own officers, and that is right. We are not proposing here to add as a permanent charge to our fund the liability for pensions. To all these officers we secure that their pensions are paid, but we take good care to make provision for the recovery of these moneys from the Irish Parliament. The question was asked, what if they do not pay the taxes? It can hardly be conceived that the taxes whose collection we retain, Customs and Excise and Income Tax, raising to-day very many millions a year, will go into default to such an extent that we shall not have in our hands ample security for any payment charged upon the Consolidated Fund of Great Britain. We have, therefore, machinery 105 for the choice of officers which is as good machinery as could be set up, even if the Amendment were accepted. We have given to the officers proper security for the payment of the pensions, and, as regards this country, we have got a proper method adopted for the recovery from the Irish Parliaments of payments made.
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
Then he will get his pension, if he is entitled to a pension. He is not entitled to a pension simply because he is dismissed. If he is dismissed on the ground that he is disloyal, or anything of that kind, he will not get a pension.
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
The answer is, that the master of the servant will determine whether or not he is to be dismissed, subject to the servant's rights at law, and if the master comes to the conclusion that the servant is not carrying out his work properly he will dismiss him. If a master improperly dismisses a servant, the servant can enforce his rights. If he is dismissed by the Northern Government, it will be the Northern Government which will be responsible, and similarly with respect to the Southern Government.
§ Mr. INSKIP
This is an Amendment of substance and importance. I think that the right hon. Gentleman has rather overlooked the last Sub-section of his own Clause, which lays down the principle that these officers are to be allocated to the Northern or Southern Parliament in accordance with the wishes of the officers concerned. I should have thought it more reasonable that the wishes of the Government concerned should be the dominating principle upon which the officers should be allocated. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the excellence of the Committee who will be appointed to allocate these officers. The Civil Service Committee, by the terms of the Clause, will receive directions, and 106 directions which they have to carry out, to give effect to the wishes of the officers, and will not therefore be in a position to give effect to what may be the desires of their own Government. I should have thought that this Amendment would be regarded as reasonable, and I regret that the right hon. Gentleman has not seen his way to accept it.
§ Mr. RAFFAN
The Noble Lord, the Member for Oxford, says that the Liberal Party are constitutionally incapable of appreciating the Irish question, because they do not quite realise how acute the differences of opinion in Ireland are. I would like to know whether it is his view that the Civil Service in Northern Ireland should be manned entirely by those who do not share the view of the majority of the Irish people, because if that is so, it would be extremely difficult to carry out administration in such a way as to give any evidence of real fairness. We have just ascertained, as the result of local government elections, that two counties are to be transferred to the Northern Parliament against their will, and, apparently, if this Amendment were carried it is intended to be set up a method of discrimination, not as regards the capacity of the Civil Servants whom it proposed to take over, but as regards their opinions. Apparently, every person, however capable he may be for the work entrusted to him, if he holds opinions which do not agree with the view of the majority of those who control this Parliament, then he is to be shut out entirely from the Civil Service. What it would mean in practice is that nearly half the people under the control of the Northern Parliament will be shut out from any administrative position whatever.
I do not vouch for the figures, though if they are wrong the hon. Member for Belfast can correct them, but I have been informed that in the past, under the Belfast Corporation and the Belfast Harbour Commissioners, there has been just such a veto upon the claims of those who do not profess the political views or the religious views of the majority. If that be so, then the House must view with some apprehension any proposal which seeks to apply the same test to the whole of the Civil Service in Northern Ireland. If you had not to deal with an existing Civil Service, there would be no answer to the case made by the mover of the Amendment, but he has not at all 107 attempted to deal with the fact that you have the Civil Service there, and that it would be an extremely wasteful proceeding to put the whole of those civil servants immediately upon the pension list and to begin to make fresh appointments. On the other hand, if you are to take advantage of their training and capacity, it seems to me that either you are bound to adopt some such proposal as the Government have put into the Bill or to find some other arrangement which will guarantee that the people of this country are not saddled with the enormous cost of pensioning the whole of the Civil Service of Ireland.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.