§ 40. Sir J. BUTCHER
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland what scale of pensions is provided for men of the Royal Irish Constabulary who are disabled by ambushes or other attacks by Irish rebels, and who in consequence have to be discharged from the force, and for the widows and dependants of men of the Royal Irish Constabulary who are murdered by rebels; and from what source these pensions are paid?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL for IRELAND (Mr. Denis Henry)
Members of the Royal Irish Constabulary discharged from the force owing to injury in the circumstances mentioned are granted pensions out of moneys voted by Parliament. The amounts of the pensions are at present fixed on a partly provisional basis pending the passing of the Police Pen- 1685 sion Bill now before this House, and definitive amounts will afterwards be fixed in accordance with such new scales as may be prescribed for police forces in Great Britain. The provisional pensions in the cases of men having less than 15 years' service are according to the scale of special pensions for non-accidental injury set out in Part 1 of the first Schedule to the Bill. The provisional pensions in the case of men having 15 years' service or more are according to the scale of ordinary pensions set out in the same part of the same schedule. In addition to the above pensions, constables maimed or maliciously injured in the execution of their duty or on account of having acted as constables may recover compensation from local rates under the provisions of the Criminal Injuries (Ireland) Acts. As regards the provision made for the widows and dependants of policemen in the circumstances mentioned, I would refer the hon. and learned Member to my reply to his question of the 16th March. No dependants other than widows and children are eligible for the pensions and allowances payable under the constabulary enactments out of voted moneys, but this restriction does not affect claims under the Criminal Injuries (Ireland) Act.
§ 41. Sir J. BUTCHER
asked the Chief Secretary whether his attention has been called to the case of Hugh Beirne, ex-sergeant, Royal Irish Constabulary, who was retired on account of physical disability in December, 1913, after 31 years' service; whether he is aware that Hugh Beirne applied for an increase of pension under the Pensions (Increase) Act, 1920, but was refused on the ground that he was not compulsorily retired and was therefore ineligible for an increase; what justification is there for introducing this limitation, namely, compulsory retirement, into the Act of 1920; and whether he will give directions that the terms of the Act shall be strictly complied with?
§ Mr. HENRY
The ex-sergeant referred to did not retire from the force because of physical or mental infirmity, and being under 60 years of age, he is therefore ineligible for increase of pension under the Pensions (Increase) Act. The terms of the Act have been strictly complied with in this case.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the letter of application for an increase of pension stated that there was no compulsory retirement, and is there any ground for putting in the word "compulsory"?
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that the Act says "when a man retires from physical disability," and the officials appear to put in the words "when a man is compulsorily retired"?
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
Is not "compulsorily," which is put into the answer by an official, totally irrelevant?