HL Deb 24 June 1853 vol 128 cc697-8

rose to move for the appointment of a Select Committee to consider the consequences of extending the functions of the constabulary in Ireland to the suppression or prevention of illicit distillation. He rejoiced to say, for the sake of their Lordships, as well as for his own sake, that it would not be necessary to detain them at any length, because from a communication he had received from the noble Earl at the head of the Government, he had reason to believe that there would be no opposition to the Motion. This was a question not only relating to the constabulary force—a force of about 12,000 or 13,000 men, maintained at a heavy expense—but it was also connected with the administration of criminal law in Ireland. He would not wish to throw any difficulty in the way of Her Majesty's Government in collecting any branch of the revenue; but he felt himself compelled to call upon the Government to pause before taking a step which might impair the efficiency of that valuable force, for that would be a far greater sacrifice than any slight loss from the excise duties. He proposed that the inquiry should be assisted by a public officer who had had experience in Ireland; and he would impress upon their Lordships that it was most desirable that an inquiry should take place, and that the question should be finally settled in order to save the time of Parliament, because, if a false step were taken, there was no question more prolific of discussion than that of the Irish constabulary. He asked for this Committee, not on any consideration connected with any branch of the revenue, but solely to consider what would be the effect upon the constabulary themselves of being employed in its collection. He hoped that their Lordships would not consider the subject to be of little importance because he had spoken so shortly upon it; but he felt reluctant to occupy their Lordships' time, and he should conclude by submitting his Motion to their Lordships.


was of opinion that the subject was a fitting one for a Committee to inquire into, inasmuch as there was a great difference of opinion among persons who were best informed upon the subject. The Government could i have no other desire than to come to that conclusion which might be most beneficial for the collection of the revenue, and the most consistent with the preservation of the efficiency and the morals of the constabulary force.


expressed his satisfaction that the noble Earl at the head of the Government was willing to agree to the appointment of a Committee. The subject was one which to him seemed to require grave consideration.

Motion agreed to.