HC Deb 14 June 1922 vol 155 cc464-5

As amended (in the Standing Committee), considered.

Motion made, and Question proposed. "That the Bill be now read the Third time."


I wish to explain why it is that those who are interested in this question did not bring forward any Amendments on Report. The reason was that it was thoroughly thrashed out in Committee, and the Chief Secretary met our Amendments as far as he could, within the limits of his power, subject to the Treasury, very fairly. I wish the Treasury could have seen their way to provide more money in the case of the men who were driven out of Ireland and had to come to England or elsewhere for refuge. Under the disbandment terms certain allowances were made to men who were terrorised into leaving their homes. We did our best to get better terms. I regret very much that the Treasury did not see fit to grant them, but I am bound to say the Chief Secretary went as far as he could and did improve the terms, and did what he could for these men, in whom I know he feels a very deep interest, and I thank him for it. I hope if it turns out that the provisions of the Bill are really insufficient to meet the case of these unfortunate Royal Irish Constabulary men, who are in many cases suffering great distress and great trouble owing to the condition of affairs in Ireland, he will, either by Vote of the House, which he can easily do when the Estimates come on, or in some other way make provision, should the necessity arise, for alleviating their lot and removing the hardships under which they are now suffering and may suffer in the future. I do not ask for a pledge, but I hope he will say a sympathetic word, and if the position of these men justifies some better financial treatment than they receive at present he will do his best to meet their case by a Vote when the occasion arises.

The CHIEF SECRETARY for IRELAND (Sir Hamar Greenwood)

I thank the hon. Baronet for the kind reference he has made to myself. Like him, I have always been a champion of this force and the disbanded members of it. I believe under the terms of disbandment and under the Bill hard cases are met if they arise, but if cases in the future are not met by the terms of disbandment or by the Bill, I shall certainly most sympathetically consider any such cases.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read the Third time, and passed.