§ (1) The Royal Irish Constabulary and the Dublin Metropolitan Police and the management and control of those forces and the administration of the Acts relating thereto, including appointments, remuneration and removal of magistrates thereunder, shall be reserved matters until such date, not being earlier than the expiration of three years after the appointed day, as His Majesty in Council may determine, and on the date so determined the public services in connection with the administration of those Acts and the management and control of those forces shall by virtue of this Act be transferred from the Government of the United Kingdom to the Government of Southern Ireland as respects Southern Ireland and to the Government of Northern Ireland as respects Northern Ireland, and shall then cease to be reserved services and become Irish services:
§ Provided that if the date of Irish union occurs before the said services are so transferred then, unless otherwise provided by the constituent Acts, those services shall as soon as may be after the date of Irish union be transferred from the Government of the United Kingdom to the Government of Ireland.
- (2) For the purpose of the management and control of those forces whilst the services in connection therewith remain reserved services, there shall be constituted a body consisting of two persons appointed by a Secretary of State, the head of the appropriate Department of the Government of Southern Ireland or some person appointed by him, the head of the appropriate Department of the Government of Northern Ireland or some person appointed by him, and a person appointed by His Majesty, and that body shall have such powers in relation to the maintenance of law and order in Ireland as His Majesty in Council may by Order determine.
- (3) The following matters, namely,—
- (a) the postal service;
- (b) the Post Office Savings Dank and Trustee Savings Banks;
- (c) designs for stamps, whether for postal or revenue purposes;
- (d) the Public Record Office of Ireland; shall be reserved matters until the date of Irish union, and on that date the public services in connection with the administration of those matters, except so far as they are matters with respect to which the Parliament of Ireland have not power to make laws, shall, by virtue of this Act, be transferred from the Government of the United Kingdom to the Government of Ireland, and shall then cease to be reserved services and become Irish services:
§ Provided that if before the date of Irish union the Parliaments of Southern Ireland and Northern Ireland by identical Acts make provision for the transfer of any of 1234 the said services to the Council of Ireland or otherwise for the exercise of the powers relating thereto by the Parliaments and Governments of Southern Ireland and Northern Ireland jointly, such services shall be transferred in accordance with those Acts, and shall on such transfer cease to be reserved services.
§ Sir L. WORTHINGTON-EVANS
I beg to move in Sub-section (1) to leave out the word "earlier" ["not being earlier than "] and to insert instead thereof the word "later."
We are proposing to reinstate the Subsection in its original form, namely, that the two police forces are to be reserved to such date, not being later than the expiration of three years from the appointed day, as His Majesty might determine. We are proposing to leave out the provision which was inserted in Committee, namely, the setting up of a Committee for the purpose of administering and managing the police force while reserved. By leaving that out the police force will remain under the control of the Lord Lieutenant advised by His Majesty's Ministers of the United Kingdom. The Amendment was moved in Committee because it was thought that it was too soon to hand over the police to the two Parliaments, and therefore the word "later" was struck out and the word "earlier" was inserted, and it was provided that they should not be handed over for at least three years. One of the reasons was that the Southern Parliament would not think fit to take charge of the police force. Another reason was that it was suggested that the Royal Irish Constabulary and Dublin Metropolitan Police should be disbanded. The Government have considered both these points, and now that the Suspensory Clause is in, which provides that the Southern Parliament shall operate in any event either by an elected or by a nominated Parliament, there seems no reason why the police force should not be put at the disposal of the two Parliaments at the earliest practicable date. It ought to be quite possible to do it well within the period of three years. On the question of disbanding the police force the Government are of opinion that that would be an unjustifiable course as the charges of pensions, etc., would be put upon the two Governments. The Government now propose that the police should be passed over not later than the expiration of three years, and meanwhile should come under the Lord Lieutenant advised 1235 by His Majesty's Ministers of the United Kingdom Parliament. The terms of retirement are already in the Bill. They are extremely liberal. They are known to members of the police force, who were informed some months ago, and so far as I know were satisfied with them, and if any other course were taken it would mean that the position would be altered from that which the members of the force think would apply to them.
§ Sir E. CARSON
I am very sorry that my right hon. Friend has gone back upon the decision come to in Committee after considerable argument. I am not sure that it makes very much difference in the actual state of affairs in Ireland, because I doubt very much whether the police can be handed over to the Southern Parliament in anything like the near future. Three years would be in itself, I think, a very hopeful limit to put in. But I am far more disappointed at the decision that the Government has come to as regards handing over these police at all. In the present condition of Ireland, I cannot imagine anything more difficult to carry out than dividing up the police, and saying to North Ireland and South Ireland, "You must have these police, whether you like them or not." Fancy saying to the South of Ireland Parliament, supposing it functions—it is quite possible that a Sinn Fein party may come in and take over the government—"You are to take over the police who are trying to prevent the shooting of everybody at the present moment under Sinn Fein orders." I cannot imagine anything more ridiculous. This force has always been an Imperial force directed by this House, and never paid out of local funds. The proper course is to say that we abandon the idea of keeping an Imperial force in Ireland, and we are going to disband the force, and are going to take care that the police, having done their duty, as these police have, probably beyond any police force in the world, are properly treated and properly pensioned. What would happen then would be that the North of Ireland Parliament and the South of Ireland Parliament would have to fight, if they liked, to select any of these police who were willing to rejoin under the local Parliament. I believe that the Government have adopted an entirely unsatisfactory way of dealing with the police and the Parliaments themselves. The 1236 police would be handed over to something that was never contemplated when they joined the force. Anything more un satisfactory I cannot imagine.
§ Mr. STEWART
We should have a much clearer statement than we have had as to why this change is being made. As far as I recollect, the word "later" was changed into "earlier" on an Amendment which I brought forward in the Committee stage and which was accepted by the First Lord of the Admiralty. On the particular Amendment now brought forward one is entitled to utter a word of protest that at this stage of the Bill 34 Government Amendments appeared on the Paper for the first time to-day. This does not give Members time to consider them. It seems to me that the only way to deal with the police is, if they are disbanded at once when the two Parliaments function, they should have the option of either going under the Parliament or else leaving the Service with a pension. Some definite and urgent reasons should be given for this Amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
Further Amendment made: Leave out Sub-section (2).—[Sir L. Worthington-Evans.]
I beg to move, in Sub-section (3), after the word "namely," to insert the words(a) The appointment of judges of the Supreme Court of Southern Ireland, the Supreme Court of Northern Ireland, and the High Court of Appeal for Ireland.This Amendment must be taken in conjunction with an Amendment which I have further on to leave out Clause 46, which Clause enacts that all matters relating to the Supreme Court of Southern Ireland and Northern Ireland and the High Court of Appeal for Ireland should be reserved matters until the date of Irish Union. I have no doubt that that Clause was inserted in the Bill with the object of securing impartial administration of law in Ireland, and no one can deny that in some parts of Ireland some such provision is necessary. The proper administration of law in Ireland would be amply secured by doing what I propose to do to, adding to the reserved matters the appointment of these judges and, if the Attorney-General thinks fit, adding to my Amendment the tenure of office of these judges, their payment and dis- 1237 missal. I object to Clause 46 because it is so vague, and though I have been informed that we have nothing to fear from it, I submit that it is in such vague terms as to be dangerous from our point of view, as it is impossible to say what may not be held to come within its purview. The Government by it are laying up for us a store of trouble which would be avoided by this Amendment. In the Committee stage I submitted to the Government a number of matters as to which I thought it doubtful whether they would come within the scope of the Clause or not, and I have not been persuaded that some of these matters might not be held to be within the Clause. We in the North of Ireland desire to bring our legal system up to date, and we might find ourselves seriously handicapped by that Clause. I submit that by this Amendment and the further Amendment which I suggest, adding if necessary to judges the officers of the Court, all the objects in view would be attained.
§ Mr. HENRY
This Amendment necessarily involves the consequential Amendment referred to, dealing with Clause 46. Clause 46 reserves the appointment and removal of judges of the High Court, the provisions as to remuneration, as to their officers, and as to retirement. If Clause 46 were repealed, substituting therefor the Amendments referred to, it would leave the High Court absolutely at the mercy of either of the Parliaments. On a former occasion when my hon. and gallant Friend (Captain Craig) instanced some cases in which he thought that the powers of the Parliament of Northern Ireland or the Parliament of Southern Ireland might be prejudicially affected by the retention of Clause 46, on examination every one of those cases was found to be fully within their powers. May I call attention to the provisions that exist in Clause 40 with reference to the rules of Court. Clause 40 says, in effect, that the Parliament of Northern Ireland, coupled with the Parliament of Southern Ireland, can take the existing rules of procedure and alter or annul them. That will have the effect which my hon. and gallant Friend wishes to produce, but the omission of Clause 46 is an Amendment we could not accept.
§ Sir E. CARSON
I would agree with the Attorney-General for Ireland if I were 1238 certain that the question raised by the Amendment, that is the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court of Northern Ireland and the Supreme Court of Southern Ireland and the High Court of Appeal, were included in the words "all matters relating to the Supreme Court." I am certain I could make a very good argument on either side. That is the thing we ought to avoid in an Act of Parliament. Certainly one of the things we do not want to start with is having cases stated day after day to the Privy Council, who, I understand, are to decide constitutional points arising under the Bill. If it is certain they are included, why not say so? I would suggest to my right hon. Friend that the way of meeting the matter, instead of passing this Amendment and excluding Clause 46, which I entirely agree cannot be excluded, is to say, "All matters relating to the Supreme Court of Southern Ireland, and Supreme Court of Northern Ireland, including registration, and the High Court of Appeal for Ireland, including the appointment of judges of the said Courts." With those words inserted it would be perfectly clear.
§ Mr. HENRY
The suggestion is very good as far as it goes. But suppose we stopped at appointment. It might lead to great difficulty. I will consider with the help of the draughtsman what words are necessary, but it will be necessary to go further than mere appointment. I will introduce appropriate words in another place.
I beg to ask leave to-withdraw the Amendment. I hope my right hon. Friend will not forget to insert the word "rules."
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Further Amendments made: In Subsection (3), after the word "union" ["data of Irish union and"] insert the words "and thereafter if the constituent Acts so provide."
After the word "date" ["and on that date the public services"] insert the words "if there should be no provision, to the contrary in the constituent Acts, or at such later date (if any) as may be prescribed by those Acts, as the case may be."—[Sir L. Worthington-Evans.]
§ Mr. HENRY
I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (3), to insert the words 1239and (b) nothing in this Sub-section shall prevent the Parliament or Government of Southern Ireland or Northern Ireland establishing a Public Record Office of Southern Ireland or Northern Ireland, as the case may be, for the reception and preservation of public records appertaining to Southern Ireland or Northern Ireland which otherwise would be deposited in the Public Record Office of Ireland, and if any such office is so established provision may be made by the Lord Lieutenant for the removal to that office of such probates, letters of administration, or other testamentary records granted or coming into existence not earlier than twenty years prior to the appointed day as, in his opinion, properly belong to the part of Ireland in which the office is situated and can conveniently be removed to that office.This is to carry out an undertaking given during the Committee stage of the Bill. The effect is to enable the Parliament of Northern Ireland to have a Public Record Office for the purpose of containing the permanent records of the Court of Justice and also for taking any probates granted in respect of testators who die in Ulster and whose property was situated in Ulster. Those probates are kept in the ordinary way for 20 years after the probates are granted, and they are then automatically transferred to the Public Record Office in Dublin. We propose to give powers for the setting up in Belfast of a Public Record Office, of a kind exactly similar to that in Dublin, so that the various probates and other documents relating to Ulster and the six counties under the Northern Parliament may be transferred there from time to time.
Amendment agreed to.