§ Colonel Sir JAMES CRAIG
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he can state how many head constables of the Royal Irish Constabulary under fifty years of age have been passed over for promotion since the 1st September, 1917: what are the ages of the head constables so passed over; is he aware that these men are active policemen, and that a number of these men would have been promoted if it were not for the operation of war measures, and will steps be taken to modify the regulations on this subject. and thus prevent the infliction of disabilities on deserving men; will he say what was the service in head constable's rank of the head constable last promoted from seniority list; is he aware that the constabulary regulations are being violated in promoting to district inspector rank head constables of under three years' service; Seeing that there is no age limit for promotion of any other rank in the constabulary except head constable, will he say what is the necessity for maintain- 1589W ing it to the detriment of this particular rank; why are head constables when their names are reached on seniority list not brought; before a board of their officers to determine their fitness for promotion; are head constables notified of the fact when passed over for promotion; and, if not, why is this not done?
§ Mr. DUKE
Since the 1st September, 1917, twenty-five head constables of the Royal Irish Constabulary under fifty years of age have been passed over for promotion to the rank of district inspector, their ages varying from forty-eight to fifty years. The reason for not promoting head constables of forty-eight years of age and over to the higher rank were explained in a written answer to a question by the hon. and learned Member for North-East Cork in Monday's OFFICIAL REPORT. The Inspector-General informs me that the operation of war legislation has not been found to interfere with the promotion of head constables. Owing to the suspension of the examinations for cadetships during the War and the necessity for filling certain vacancies head constables have obtained more than their normal propor-1590W tion of promotions. The last head constable promoted from the seniority list had only two years and seven months' service in the rank of head constable when promoted. The Regulation does not invariably require three years' service before promotion. The cases of all head constables under the age limit laid down in the Regulations are considered when their turn on the seniority list arrives, and their fitness for promotion is determined by the Promotion Board. It is not customary to notify head constables that they have been passed over for promotion, and I see no reason for any change in this practice.