§ 58. Major HORE-BELISHA
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that the Government of the Irish Free State has refused to give the benefits of the Pensions (Increase) Act, 1924, to the Dublin Metro politan Police pensioners who benefited under the previous Act; and whether, seeing that the contract of these men was with the British Government., who have always hitherto recognised them as their pensioners, he can see his way to have recommendations made to the Irish Free State Government to give these men the benefit of the increases which have been granted to all other pre-War pensioners, or cause that obligation to be discharged by His Majesty's Government?
I understand that the Government of the Irish Free State has decided not to introduce legislation on the lines of the Pensions (Increase) Act, 1924, as regards pensions paid by them. The pensioners in question are receiving the pensions to which they are entitled by Statute, and in these circumstances I do not think that I could properly intervene further in the matter. I am afraid that I have no power to extend the benefits of the Act of 1924 to the Dublin Metropolitan Police.
§ Major HORE-BELISHA
Will the right hon. Gentleman not consider amending the law in this matter, seeing that these people were our own employés and our own pensioners?
It is a difficult subject to deal with by question and answer, but reasons were given by my predecessor, when the Pensions Increase Act was before the House last year, which convinced the majority of the House then that it was inadvisable to deal with them in the way suggested.
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
Is it not a fact that the pensions of these former loyal servants of the Crown are paid by the Imperial Parliament and that the corresponding police pensioners under this Act in this country have had their pre-War pensions increased? Is it not, therefore, reasonable that these former loyal servants of the Crown should also have their case considered?
§ Sir JAMES REMNANT
Did not the previous answers say that if they could see their way they would do this, but they did not deny that the understanding which applied at the time of the signing of the Treaty was that these pensions should be put in exactly the same way as if they remained under the British Government, and can the right hon. Gentleman see his way to make representations to that effect to the Free State?
§ Major HORE-BELISHA
Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that the only reason why they were not legislated for under the past Act was that it was considered that the Free State would discharge its obligations?