Volume 2 (1922) / Pages 85 - 86
The House meet at Quarter after Two of the Clock, Mr. Speaker in the Chair ALLEGATIONS AGAINST SPECIAL CONSTABULARY
1. Mr. M'GUFFIN asked the Minister for Home Affairs if his attention has been called to an article from the pen of Louis J. Walsh, in the Freeman's Journal" of 9th March, in which, amongst other things, it is suggested that members of the "B" Specials when on duty are in the habit of spending their time drinking in public houses; whether it is not a fact that it is strictly against the regulations to do any such thing, and that the utmost care is taken by officers to see that their men faithfully carry out their orders and comply with the regulations, and whether, seeing that statements and insinuations of this kind are clearly made for propaganda purposes in England and elsewhere in order to discredit the Ulster Administration and to cast a slur on a body of men of whom loyalists are justly proud, any effective steps have been taken by way of counterpropaganda to deny such charges; and whether any official contradiction has been given to the various statements and suggestions made in this article?
The MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (Sir Dawson Bates): I have seen the article referred to. The hon. Member is quite right in his statement that Police on duty are not allowed to enter public houses for the purpose of drinking, and I may add that breaches of the regulations in regard to this are rare. I agree that the report referred to, and other equally unfounded reports, are published to discredit a Police Force of whom I can speak in the highest terms, but the fact that this report is over the name, of Louis J. Walsh, and appeared in the "Freeman's Journal," renders it hardly necessary to contradict it, and it is impossible for the Government to deal with every malicious statement which appears in print. This Government have already publicly declared their intention to stand by their Police, and the Police are well aware of the Government's intention to support them in their difficult duties.
Mr. M'GUFFIN: Arising out of that answer, might I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he considers that the granting of certificates for the establishment of wet canteens in connection with the barracks for the Special Constabulary is conducive
to temperance and sobriety amongst the members of that force?
Sir DAWSON BATES: I think I might have notice of that question?
Mr. M'GUFFIN: In consequence of the unsatisfactory nature of the answer I will feel compelled to raise the question on the motion for the adjournment this evening.
EXTENSION OF UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS.
2. Mr. DONALD asked the Minister of Labour whether he is in a position to state what further provision by means of legislation or otherwise the Government propose to make towards unemployment, seeing that the 5th April is the first date on which those who have drawn the first six weeks' extension will be out of benefit, and whether a statement will be made on this subject before that date?
The MINISTER OF LABOUR (Mr. Andrews): I am in frequent communication with the Minister of Labour of the Imperial Government, but I regret that I am not yet in a position to make a statement on the matter. I certainly hope, however, that the statement will be made well before April 5th. In the meantime I may say that it has been decided by the Cabinet of Northern Ireland that we should make the same provision in Northern Ireland in regard to unemployment benefit as is made by the Imperial Government.
Mr. DONALD: Thank you.
ORDERS OF THE DAY. CIVIL AUTHORITIES OF NORTHERN IRELAND (SPECIAL POWERS) BILL.
Order for Second Reading read.
Motion made and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Second Time."
THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS (Mr. Megaw): I regret the occasion on which it becomes necessary for me to move the Second Reading of this Bill. Unfortunately, the Attorney-General, to whom the task has been entrusted, is unwell, and so the work devolves upon me. I regret as much as anyone that it has Became necessary to introduce a Bill of this kind, but we must realise facts, even if they are disagreeable, and not make the same mistake as the Imperial Government, who tried to form facts in accordance with their wishes. Our task as a Government is a very difficult one indeed. This morning's papers, apart from anything which may have occurred before, would leave one under no delusion on that head. We have got to undertake the task of governing North