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Law And Police (Ireland)—Extra Police Tax, Cork

Volume 283: debated on Saturday 25 August 1883

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asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieu- tenant of Ireland, Whether, notwithstanding that the Assize, Quarter Sessions, and Police Court records attest the absence of any serious crimes having been committed in Cork City for some years past, the citizens of Cork have annually to pay a heavy impost for the maintenance of an extra police force, which, according to the City Treasurer's account, amounted last year to £1,022 9s. 11d.; whether this force was drafted into Cork at the time of the Fenian rising, and retained there since; whether the Rates and Taxes necessary for maintaining the City are already over 9s. in the pound; whether hundreds of citizens are annually processed, their goods sold, and their names struck off the burgess roll, because they cannot pay these heavy rates; whether two members of this extra police force are at present under arrest, charged with having committed the only fatal outrage recorded in the City since another policeman shot a man on the Western Road some years ago; whether the Cork Corporation has frequently complained of the Rates being burdened with the cost of this unnecessary extra police force; and, whether, under these circumstances, he will undertake to have this extra Police Force withdrawn, and the citizens relieved of this taxation?

It is true that there has been for some years an extra force in the city of Cork, for which the city has to pay, and the diminution of serious crime is considered to be in a great degree attributable to the presence of the police. Many persons, however, interested in the peace of the city consider the force to be too small, and the Corporation recently complained to the County Inspector that there was not sufficient Constabulary supervision over several matters in the city. The County Inspector had to reply, that with the number of men at his disposal he could do no more than at present. I am informed that it is the case that the city rates are over 9s. in the pound, of which the charge for extra Constabulary forms a very small fraction. No doubt, many persons are annually processed for nonpayment of rates; but there is no reason to think that the removal of the extra Constabulary would make any practical difference in this respect. It is true that two sub-constables were recently charged with being accessory to the death of a poor man named Leatham; but after an investigation which lasted four days, the magistrates refused information on the ground—first, that the evidence did not connect the accused with the occurrence; and, secondly, that the medical testimony went to show that death was the result of natural causes. The other fatal occurrence referred to by the hon. Member is as follows:—In 1878 a police patrol saw a man knock down a watchman by striking him with a hatchet on the head. They believed him to have committed murder, and called on him, in the Queen's name to stand, and, on his refusing to do so, they fired after him and killed him. A Coroner's Jury returned a verdict of "Justifiable homicide." I do not think I can hold out any immediate prospect of a diminution of the extra force.

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether, notwithstanding the fact that the citizens of Cork have to pay over £1,000 per annum for an extra Police Force, the Police authorities charge the Executive Committee of the Cork Exhibition over £20 per week for Police on duty there; whether he is aware that the Exhibition has been organized by a Committee composed of men of all religious and political opinions, and presided over by the Earl of Bandon; and, whether, since the funds of the Exhibition were not provided by voluntary subscriptions from all parties, for the promotion of Irish industries, he will instruct the Police authorities to supply the Police necessary for protecting the exhibitors' property free of charge in future, and to refund the moneys already paid by the Executive Committee of the Exhibition?

The charge made in this case is in accordance with the invariable practice in such cases, both in England as well as Ireland; and I regret that I see no ground upon which an exception can be made in favour of the Cork Exhibition. The Government keep a reserve force for emergencies like this among others.