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County Down Constabulary

Volume 91: debated on Tuesday 19 March 1901

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I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, with reference to recent promotions to the position of acting sergeants in county Down, whether he will make personal inquiry I into the statement that the promotions have been made on their merits; and whether he will ask for a detailed explanation of the appointment of six non- Roman Catholics to one Roman Catholic in a county where the Roman Catholic constables outnumber those of all other denominations.

I have made personal inquiry and have received the assurance of the Inspector General that promotions in the constabulary in Down, as elsewhere, are strictly governed, not by considerations of religion, but of merit. I may mention that an examination of the records show that the religions of men serving in the force throughout Ireland on the 1st January last were as follows:—Head constables: Roman Catholics 170, Protestants 81; sergeants:: Roman Catholics 1.334, Protestants 535; acting sergeants: Roman Catholics 305, Protestants 118; constables: Roman Catholics 6.230, Protestants 2,147.

I am much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for the trouble he has taken. Will he kindly further ascertain why there has been only one Roman Catholic promotion as against six Protestants in this county?

I imagine it was because there were six Protestants fit and only one Roman Catholic.