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Ulster Special Constabulary

Volume 154: debated on Monday 15 May 1922

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will consider the advisability of discontinuing the subsidy towards the maintenance of the Ulster special constabulary, in view of the conditions which exist in the area under their control, where houses are forcibly entered and the occupants taken from their beds and shot, as in the case of the three brothers McKeown, at Magherafelt, County Derry, during the curfew hours, when the only persons permitted to be in the streets or out of doors are the special constables and Crown forces; and whether, in view of their incapacity to protect life and property, as is demonstrated by the nightly occurrences of this character, he will at once withdraw the grant towards the support of these forces?

I cannot admit the insinuation, which is a repetition of one frequently made during the time when His Majesty's Government was responsible for law and order throughout Ireland, that, because an outrage is committed during curfew hours, it necessarily follows that the outrage has been committed by police or military. The reply to the rest of the question is in the negative.