HC Deb 03 May 1922 vol 153 cc1338-40
66. Colonel NEWMAN

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that ex-members of the Royal Irish Constabulary resident at Carrick-on-Shannon have been under threat of death compelled to immediately leave their homes; and what arrangements have been made to help them and their families under these circumstances?


I regret to state that cases of intimidation of this kind have taken place not only in Carrick-on-Shannon but in a number of other places in the Irish Free State. The Government are of opinion that the most effective assistance they can give to ex-members of the Royal Irish Constabulary so situated is to enable them to transfer their families to Great Britain or Northern Ireland until such time as they can safely return to their homes or settle elsewhere, and they have accordingly agreed to pay the removal expenses of all married men and their families to any place in this country or in Northern Ireland; and, further, to pay separation allowances to married members of the force in cases where the husband comes to Great Britain and his wife remains in Southern Ireland. A bureau has been set up at Chester for the purpose of assisting them in finding suitable accommodation and for advising them as to the localities in Great Britain in which they are likely to find the best opportunities of obtaining work. The necessary suitable accommodation is available.

Lieut.-Colonel ASHLEY

Are the Government finding any accommodation for these men and their families in vacated barracks, naval or military, or elsewhere?


I am glad to have an opportunity of answering that question. There is more than the required accommodation available in private houses, which are glad to take in members of the Royal Irish Constabulary and their families. Up to the present there is no need of barracks. If there were such a need, the matter would be dealt with immediately.


Is it proposed to extend a similar measure to the other portions of the population threatened with death in Southern Ireland?


With reference to the civil population, many of whom have been evicted and some of whom have suffered death, and certainly terrorism, the Government at this moment is considering what can be done. Up to the present, the number of the civilian population concerned is comparatively small. There are, however, cases which are most distressing and demand the sympathy and support of this House.


When these Royal Irish Constabulary men and their families elect to come to this country, is any protection given in order that their lives may not be sacrificed on the way?


Every possible precaution is taken. Up to the present there have not been a hundred ex-members of the old Royal Irish Con- stabulary who have applied to the Irish Office or to any other official Department for assistance since their disbandment.

Lieut.-Colonel ASHLEY

Is there any truth in the statement that two ex-constables were taken off the boat recently by the rebels in Ireland?


I answered that question yesterday.


What provision is made for Royal Irish Constabulary men who have to leave their homes and furniture behind them? Are they given compensation for their furniture and the break-up of their homes?


I think my original answer covered that. Removal expenses are paid, in addition to free warrants for themselves, their wives and children and normal dependants.

Lieut.-Colonel CROFT

Are they compensated if their furniture is destroyed and burned?


Perhaps the hon. and gallant Member will put down that question.