§ Mr. GINNELL
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he is aware that Constable Michael Ronaghan, of county Donegal, has been compelled to contribute to the Irish Constabulary Force Fund for thirty years and is compelled to continue contributing to it though he, his wife, and his children are debarred by the rules from ever obtaining any grant from that fund owing to his having married without permission; that he is compelled to pay £2 12s. per annum for barrack rent though denied barrack accommodation for his family, while other married constables, when not accommodated, are not required to pay this; that he is denied the allowance usually made to married constables for rent of lodging outside; that his payments to the fund amount to £29, compound interest on the same £29, deductions for barrack rent, £64 16s., usual lodging allowance withheld from him for twenty-three years, £85 16s., and contributions to cleaning of barracks, £13 16s., all 1686W diminishing his nominal remuneration by £222 8s., for which nothing is given to him or his family; that his daughter has died of destitution; that his eldest son is sickly from the same cause; that the rules of the service require him to maintain himself in physical efficiency though not enabling him to give his family the necessaries of life; will he say whether this man has been so treated for marrying without permission; and will he see that Constable Ronaghan is not further punished for this disclosure, which he has no power to prevent?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The pay of all members of the force, whether married or single, who were appointed before June, 1883, is, by Statute, subject to deduction for the Constabulary Force Fund. As Constable Ronaghan married without leave no gratuity can be paid under the rules of the fund to his widow or children, nor can he be exempted from deduction for barrack accommodation under Section 2 of the Constabulary Act, 1883, or draw lodging allowance for his family. All men, married and single, contribute to the cleaning of the barracks. There is no foundation for the statement that the constable's daughter died of destitution. The disability under which the constable labours is a purely legal one, and I will look further into the matter to see whether there is any possible way in which any relief can be obtained.
§ Mr. GINNELL
asked the Chief Secretary whether he is aware that the rules of the Irish Constabulary Force Fund are such that the children of a deceased contributor, no matter how young and needy, get nothing from the fund if their mother has died before their father; that the widow and children of a constable who has been for some time before his death incapacitated by physical or mental infirmity get nothing from the fund, no matter how long the constable may have contributed to it; and, no other known benefit fund contributed to by employeés being so administered as to produce such results, whether he will now have this fund closed and distributed among the survivors of the contributors whose property it is?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The hon. Member is under a misapprehension. The death of a subscriber's wife does not disentitle his children to benefit. Children born before a subscriber's retirement on pension are eligible for benefit up to eighteen years of age. Unmarried daughters, born before 1687W the subscriber's retirement, who are left without a mother, are eligible so long as their father continues subscribing. The second paragraph of the question is not quite understood. Physical or mental infirmity in the case of a subscriber does not disqualify the wife and children from receiving benefit if the subscriptions are kept up. Should it happen that a married subscriber becomes mentally and physically unfit, either before or after his discharge on pension, his wife is invited to continue the contributions while drawing the pension so as to preserve benefit for the family. With regard to the last paragraph of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to the replies given to his previous questions on this subject.
§ Mr. FLAVIN
asked the Chief Secretary whether he is aware that the Listowel Rural District Council, at their meeting on the 28th February, 1913, unanimously passed a resolution asking to have the Constabulary Force Pension Fund wound up; and, if so, what action will be taken in the matter?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
I have received a number of resolutions asking to have the fund wound up, and can only refer the hon. Member to the numerous replies given to previous similar questions on this subject.