HL Deb 06 August 1866 vol 184 cc2087-9

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.

Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a."—(The Earl of Belmore.)


in expressing his gratification at the introduction of this Bill, again called attention to the case of the girl Catherine Geoghan, who had been so badly treated by the police sub-inspector, having been dragged out by her hair and dreadfully bruised while in the custody of the police.


said, all he could remember about the case referred to was that an inquiry was made with regard to the conduct of the sub-inspector, and the result being not altogether satisfactory so far as the official was concerned, it was recommended to the Treasury that he should not receive the full pension to which he would otherwise have been entitled. The Bill before the House was, substantially, that prepared by the late Government, and the matter was one of very great urgency, because, unfortunately, the constabulary force was at present considerably below its proper number; while all those who knew the nature of the duties which the force had to discharge, and the recent rise of prices which had taken place, must come to the conclusion that an increase of pay was not only justly due to this force, but was urgently necessary. At some future time, when Ireland was no longer menaced by conspiracy and was in that state of security and tranquillity which she ordinarily enjoyed, it would be a matter for consideration whether the total number of the constabulary force might not be somewhat reduced, but at the present time such a reduction was out of the question. If this conspiracy had not so disquieted the country, it would have been his duty, in recommending that the pay of the force be increased, to ask the Government to consider whether its total number might not be safely reduced, while at the same time their pay should be augmented. One fact would probably be sufficient to show that this course might be taken:—The present number of the constabulary, if kept up to its proper quota, was precisely the same as it was thirty years ago, whereas the population of Ireland was no more than two-thirds what it was at that period. No question of reduction could be entertained now, but hereafter it would be a proper matter for consideration whether the number of the force might not be safely reduced. He would take this opportunity of acknowledging the invaluable services performed by the Irish constabulary while the Government were engaged in endeavouring to suppress the conspiracy. It was not too much to say that the conduct of the force during the whole of this period was beyond all praise. In a force entirely recruited in Ireland, more than two-thirds of the number being Roman Catholics, and drawn from all classes of people, there was not one, or more than one, single case in which the fidelity of any member of the force was open to the smallest suspicion. And when it was remembered that it consisted of 10,000 men, he thought it would be admitted that no country possessed a force of a more thoroughly satisfactory and loyal kind. Independently of the general reasons which existed for increasing the pay of the constabulary, he felt glad that the opportunity of increasing it should present itself at this time, and that Parliament was able in this way to mark its sense of the services of that excellent and valuable force.

Motion agreed to: Bill read 2a; Committee negatived; and Bill to be read 3a To-morrow.

House adjourned at Seven o'clock, till To-morrow, a quarter before Three o'clock.