HC Deb 10 April 1913 vol 51 cc1369-72W

asked the Chief Secretary what is the present amount of the Constabulary Force Fund, and what is the number of the persons who at present derive benefits from it; what is the present annual amount of the demands on the fund, what is proposed to be done with the capital of the fund, and why should not the fund so far as not required to meet the claims on it be returned to those who subscribe it; and is it proposed or intended to apply the fund when relieved, as it will within a few years be, of all claims on it to purposes different from those it was subscribed for?


The capital of the benefit branch of the Constabulary Force Fund on the 31st December, 1912, consisted of £154,000 Local Loans Stock, £221,512 Consols, and a cash balance of £2,539. On an average 160 families receive grants each year from the fund, and the total payments made in such grants is about £18,000 per annum. The capital of the fund will be required to meet future claims. It could not, at the present time, be stated whether any of the capital will remain over or not when the last claims on the fund have been paid off. It is expected that claims on the fund will continue to arise—in the ordinary course—for the next thirty years.


asked the Chief Secretary how much was contributed to the Irish Constabulary Force Fund by Sir A. Reed, who has been paid £171 out of the fund; by French, who has been paid £30; and by Reilly, who has recently died in King's County, after contributing to the fund for sixty-five years, whose orphan daughters have since been paid £6 17s. 4d. each; if he will explain the discrepancy between the amounts paid to the non-contributors and those paid to the precise class of persons for whose benefit the fund exists; and, if the amounts are governed by scale, will he say what it is; if not, will he say who settles the amounts?


As I have already informed the hon. Member, no grants of money were made to Sir A. Reed or Mr. French out of the benefit branch of the fund. Any payments made to them were made out of the reward branch, which is entirely distinct and is derived from fines and penalties, and has no relation whatever to the deductions made from the pay of these two officers while serving. The total amount contributed to the benefit branch of the fund by the late pensioner Patrick Reilly during his service and while on pension was £21 11s. 4d. He left no widow, but a gratuity of £13 14s. 8d. (£6 17s. 4d. each) was paid under a special rule to his two unmarried daughters, who were over the usual age limit. Had Reilly's wife survived him, she would have received £41 4s. In cases like Reilly's, where the contributors served in the force at a time when the rates of pay were small and the contributions likewise, the gratuities (which are largely based on the pay drawn) are also necessarily small. Payments from the reward branch, which has a separate income since 1891, are made to all members of the force who are considered entitled to them. Payments from the benefit branch of the fund to widows of deceased contributors are made according to a fixed scale, namely, 5 per cent. on the total amount of pay drawn during service, and ½ per cent. on the total amount of pension received by the deceased. This amount is increased by one-fourth for each child under eighteen years of age who is entitled to benefit. This scale does not apply in the case of contributors who were pensioned before 1874, when the scale was slightly lower.


asked the Chief Secretary what was the pay of a constable of the Royal Irish Constabulary of four, six, and twenty years' service before the passing of the Constabulary (Ireland) Act of 1908, and what is it at four, six, and twenty years' service under that Act; what pension was a constable entitled to at twenty-five and twenty-eight years' service before the passing of the Constabulary (Ireland) Act of 1908, and what pension is he entitled to at the same service under that Act; are the allowances which each man of the rank and file receives excluded when scaling their pensions; are all allowances included along with pay when scaling the pensions of officers and county inspectors; how many resignations have taken place amongst the rank and file of the Royal Irish Constabulary during October, November, and December, 1912, and during January, February, and March, 1913; have those resignations been caused by the failure of the Government to raise their pay to meet the increased cost of living; and what has been the average cost of training each of those men?


The annual pay of constables of between four and seven years' service before the passing of the Constabulary Act of 1908 was £57 4s., and under the Act of 1908 the pay is the same for that period of service. The pay of a constable of twenty years' service and over, before the Act of 1908, was £70 4s., and under the Act of 1908 the same rate of pay is granted to a constable of from fifteen to twenty-five years' service. The pension to a constable of twenty-five years' service before the passing of the Act of 1908 was equal to thirty-fiftieths of his annual pay, and to a constable of twenty-eight years' service thirty-three-fiftieths of his pay. Under the Act of 1908 the pension rates are the same, and the pension is calculated on the rates of pay existing before the passing of the Act of 1908. No allowances are included in the calculation of the pensions of the men. In the case of officers, two allowances (namely, lodging allowance and servant allowance) are by Statute included in calculating the pension. The number of resignations during the six months ended 31st March, 1913, is as follows:—

October, 1912 9
November, 1912 16
December, 1912 14
January, 1913 10
February, 1913 12
March, 1913 31
Total 92
Of these, twenty-seven resigned to emigrate, thirty-one to better their condition, five on being reported for disciplinary offences, five on account of ill-health, nine to join other police forces, two on account of inadequacy of pay, and thirteen for various reasons. Recruits in training at the depôt are housed in the same buildings as the men of the reserve force, and no separate records are kept as to the cost of the training of recruits.


asked the Chief Secretary whether he has received representations on behalf of the subscribers to the Constabulary Trust Fund, resident in county Donegal, asking that the fund may be wound up; and whether he is prepared to give effect to the wishes expressed?


I have received the representations referred to. I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to a similar question asked on this subject by the hon. Member for Mid-Armagh on the 7th instant.