HL Deb 04 August 1882 vol 273 cc741-3

asked the Lord Privy Seal, Whether he can give the House any details with regard to the alleged strike for increased wages which is said to have taken place among the members of the Royal Irish Constabulary? In putting this Question, he wished to observe that almost the only bright spot which was to be seen for the last two miserable years in the gloomy picture which Ireland presented was the unswerving loyalty to the Crown, very often under circumstances of great difficulty, exhibited by the members of the Royal Irish Constabulary; while the manner in which they had performed their difficult, arduous, and very often most irksome duties had won the respect and admiration of all honest men. It was, therefore, with feelings little short of dismay that he read the reports which had appeared in the newspapers of the discontent, if not disaffection, which had appeared in their ranks. He saw in a newspaper that morning a statement to the effect that the men in a certain district were so disgusted with the manner in which the Government had treated their mild demands, that they had come to the determination, if the Government did not at once take their grievances into consideration, to lay down their arms, and refuse to obey orders. If the report were true, nothing more startling had been heard of since the Indian Mutiny. He had no doubt, however, that it was a statement which was much exaggerated, and he trusted not only that the Government would be able to re-assure their Lordships on that point, but also that they would state that they were prepared to deal both fairly, fully, and generously with the question, and thus satisfy a body of men of whom it might well be said they were sans peur et sans reproche.


, in reply, said, he was happy to be able to inform the noble Earl (the Earl of Milltown) that the report that had appeared in the newspapers on this subject was greatly exaggerated. There was no reason to believe that the Royal Irish Constabulary had exceeded their legitimate rights in the manner in which they had urged their views upon the Government as to their position. It was perfectly true that they did think that their condition, in certain respects, ought to be improved, and some of the matters to which they attached importance would be provided for out of the grant of £180,000 which was now on the point of being voted in the House of Commons. The remaining questions which they had raised were being carefully inquired into; and he might mention one gratifying circumstance which would show that the Royal Irish Constabulary was not an unpopular Force—that it was not looked upon in Ireland as a Force which it would be disadvantageous for any educated Irishman to belong to—the fact, namely, that the recruiting of the Constabulary for some months past had been going on in the most satisfactory way.

House adjourned at Six o'clock, to Monday next, a quarter past Four o'clock.