Thursday, 6 May 1926
Dáil Éireann Debate
Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh  thar £1,008,974 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íochta an mhuirrir a thiocfidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1927, chun Tuarastail agus Costaisí an Ghárda Síochána (Acht Có-nasctha na bhFórsaí Póilíneachta, (1925).
That a sum not exceeding £1,008,974 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1927; for the salaries and expenses of the Gárda Síochána (Police Forces Amalgamation Act, 1925).
Mr. GOREY: in connection with this amendment, on the last day I was on the point of making suggestions as to how this amount could be arrived at. I am not in a position to produce figures to sustain this cut of £400,000. We are in a position to make suggestions as to a lesser sum, but still a very substantial sum, by which this Vote could, and should, be reduced. If I give some comparative figures as to the position in 1914 and 1920, it will explain how the cuts can be effected. I will not deal with the higher officers inasmuch as very little saving can be effected in that direction. Only a few officers have to be dealt with, and it is easy to deal with these under the sub-heads. I will deal with it when coming down to the lower ranks. In 1914 surgeons in the old R. I. C. had £400 salary, and that continued up to 1920, when those salaries were reviewed by the British Government. In 1920 that salary was fixed at £700, and that remains to-day. We know the position in 1920, and we know the position from 1916 up to 1920, and a great strain was put on the police in those days to retain their offices. We know the circumstances that brought about that rise. But the peak point was only reached in 1920. The rank of county inspector in those days carried a salary of £350 to £450. In 1920 that salary was raised to £700 —£900. In the present time the corresponding rank in our Gárda Síochána is £650—£800, very little less than the peak point reached in 1920 at the height of the trouble. The same thing applies to the D. I. His salary was £135 to £300, and in 1920 it jumped to £350 to £600. Our corresponding officer is paid a salary of £310 to £585. The head-constable of the old R.I.C. was paid 42/- per week to 46/- a week. In 1920 that was raised to £310—£355. In other words the salary of 42/- to 46/- was raised a little over £6 per week. The corresponding officer in the Gárda Síochána has now a salary of £280— £300. Sergeants in the old R. I. C. had 35/- to 37/- per week in 1914. In 1920 that was increased to £5 per week, rising to £5 12s. 6d. We pay a salary to the corresponding officers now of £4 7s. Od. to £4 18s. 6d. A constable in the old R. I. C. was paid 23/- to 31/- a week. In 1920 that was raised to 70/- —95/- a week, and we pay a salary of 60/- to 83/- a week. Up to 1920 recruits in training were paid 20/- a week. That was then raised to 70/- per week, and we pay them a salary of 50/-.
Now I am not going to make many comparisons with the police forces of other countries. I am not in the position to do so. I have not the details. Perhaps we may compare favourably with the other countries. I do not know. But I do say that in approaching this question there are only two channels in which we can obtain a reduction. We have only to consider whether we could obtain a reduction in pay or a reduction in the strength of the force. I do not believe it is advisable to have a reduction in the strength of the force. It may be said that they have not enough duties to perform. There is no reason why we should not give them enough duties to perform. There are several other activities which could be assigned to them along with what they are doing at present. I could mention one item just now. That is revenue duty from gun licences. I have been told this year in connection with gun licences that any individual who carries a licence to keep a gun, can shoot game anywhere he likes, without any interference  whatever from the Gárda Síochána. I understand that that is the duty of the revenue officer who never appears in the country to enforce the revenue laws. I have been told by officers of the Gárdaí that they have no jurisdiction to go in on the fields and enforce the Game Laws. This is a law that I hold cannot be enforced without the Gárda Síochána. They are the only people who can do it. It is ridiculous to think the revenue officers can do it. They cannot. To enable the revenue officers to put these Game Laws effectively into operation would need a tremendous force in the country. Men have gone around on week-days and especially on Sundays in battalions and they shoot game of every description without a game licence.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: It is a question of trespass largely. The Deputy knows that the ten-shilling licence is now gone and there is an all-in £2 licence, the holder of which can shoot game. Therefore, it does narrow down to the simple question of trespass on lands that people are not entitled to go in on.
Mr. GOREY: That is not my point. My point is that the holder of a permit to keep a gun has been using that permit to shoot game all over the country. They trespass on other people's land. Other people do not take the law into their own hands and there is not compliance with the revenue law.
Mr. GOREY: The taking out of a game licence. They are not taking out game licences. They do not take them out. I do say that nobody is able to deal with this particular thing except the Gárda Síochána. Their duties, I submit, should be extended in that way, and in several other ways, too. I would not be prepared to say that the force could be or should be reduced. I believe they want to be properly organised and given proper training with  regard to the fishery law also. There is wide scope for them there in enforcing the fishery laws. I cannot see that there is anybody capable of enforcing these laws except the Gárda Síochána. I am not prepared to say that the force should be reduced. I am prepared to say that the proposition of increasing it, if necessary, should be considered. I do not say that it is necessary to increase it, but I do say that if it is necessary to have it increased it should be increased in order to deal with these matters that I have mentioned.
Having made up my mind that the strength of the force ought not be reduced, the only other direction in which we can reduce this Vote is in connection with the question of salaries. Deputies know the circumstances that arose in 1920, and how they arose. When the sub-heads come to be dealt with on those items these points will be thrashed out. I do recommend for the Minister's consideration the matters I have mentioned. A reduction can be effected and, I think, considering the economic conditions of the country, that the time has arrived when serious consideration should be given to that end in order to secure possible economy.
Mr. P. HOGAN (An Clár): It is not a practice of mine to read the official reports. It is an occupation that the Minister for Industry and Commerce would describe as redundant. But sometimes one does drop on a gem that is worth reading, and usually you do find it in the speech of the Minister for Justice. Here is one which, I submit, is worth reading for the House. Advancing an argument against Deputy Heffernan's motion for a reduction, he said:—
“There is a patch in North Clare, for instance, that is just about as bad as bad can be. The conditions there are very bad from the point of view of crime. There is a very settled determination in crime, and a very settled attitude of hostility to all laws and hostility to all ideas of the administration of laws. You would not find the equal of it in any other county in Ireland.”
I do not read this for the purpose of a joke. When a Minister comes to the Dáil and hides himself behind the privileges of his position in order to libel a law-abiding people in any county in this State, it is a serious matter. It is serious when he comes here to besmirch the fair name of any body of people in the State. I hold that is a position that should not be tolerated, and I challenge the Minister to name the district and repeat the statement outside the Dáil, so that he may have an opportunity of proving that statement. He has come here and made a general statement without producing any proof.
Mr. P. HOGAN: Deputy Connor Hogan says that he can prove it. I hope he will. Deputy Connor Hogan lives in a portion of North Clare. I wonder is that the district mentioned by the Minister for Justice? I would like also to know whether Deputy Dr. MacNeill agrees with the Minister's statement. The Minister says there is not a county in all Ireland as bad—“You would not find the equal of it in any other county in Ireland.” I wonder did the Minister ever hear of Malahide, which happens to be in his own constituency?
Mr. O'HIGGINS: That is an entirely different matter. It is not a question of one outstanding crime in North Clare; it is a question of a criminal tradition and a criminal outlook on the part of a large section of the community.
Mr. P. HOGAN: I deny that there is a criminal outlook or a criminal tradition. If there is any criminality or any intention of criminality or any will to crime, that will to crime has been started by the very men who sit on the opposite benches. It is nearly time that we got away from the practice  that obtained in this country when we had such men as Lord Ashtown writing on grievances from Ireland and when we had a gentleman from North Clare also contributing his quota to the list of outrages from Ireland.
Mr. P. HOGAN: MacNamara was the name. He was a large landholder in North Clare. It is time we got away from that sort of thing. If the Minister wants to make any statement reflecting on the people of any district, he should tell us on what information he bases that statement. He should also tell us what is the attitude of the forces he sends into those districts. The Minister should tell us how many C.I.D. or plain-clothes men, whom nobody knows, are engaged in Clare.
Mr. P. HOGAN: Perhaps the Minister would tell us how many of those men are in the district he refers to, and perhaps he will tell us of the provocative attitude on the part of some of those men when they enter these districts. I will give the Minister an idea of the attitude adopted by some of his plain-clothes men in Clare. I know one district, a perfectly peaceful and law-abiding district, where it was announced that a meeting of the local branch of a trade union was to be held and a Deputy of this House was billed to speak at that meeting. Does the Minister consider it is the duty of one of his C.I.D. men, when the check at the door was relaxed, to force his way into the meeting and watch the proceedings, when he knew perfectly well it was a general meeting of the local branch of a trade union at which a Deputy of the Dáil was announced to speak? If it was urged on the meeting—on the members of the organisation—that the C.I.D. man should be ejected, what a chain of outrages you would have, all because of this particular man outstepping his duty! In other districts in North Clare the C.I.D. men have adopted a similar attitude. I do not know what the Minister considers a law-abiding citizen ! I have a certain idea of what a  law-abiding citizen is. The people in North Clare tell me that the attitude of the men the Minister sends down is provocative. Those men go into the district, not to try to prevent crime, but with the settled opinion that crime exists there already, and they act as if that were the case.
Mr. P. HOGAN: We have asked you for facts. Where are they? We are told that there was an attack on the Gárda barracks there. What were the local representations regarding that report? Does the Minister know that there was a dispute between the ordinary Gárda and the C.I.D. and that this is what it terminated in? It is not that the people of the district have shown open hostility to the Gárda. I have nothing to say to the ordinary Gárdaí; they are doing their duty all over the country as well as it is possible for men to do it under difficult circumstances.
When a Minister comes in here and, hiding behind his privileges, besmirches the character of the people of North Clare, that is a thing that should not be allowed to go unchallenged. If it can be proved that the Minister's statement is correct, it ought to be proved; if it is not proved, it ought to be denied by the Deputies who also represent the district.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: Deputy Gorey told us that he was going to address himself to the question of the pay of the Gárda. What he did, in fact, was to  read out figures showing the rates of pay in the R.I.C. in the years 1914-1920 and then he read out the figures of pay to corresponding ranks in the Gárda Síochána to-day. Having done that, he practically left the matter there. He did not say what I was waiting for him to say—that the pay of the Gárda to-day is excessive and in respect to what ranks it is excessive.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: The police pay was not advanced in 1920 because of any conditions special to this country. The pay of the police all over Britain and the area of the British jurisdiction was increased in that year, and it was not because of any special emergency or any special desire to retain the services of the police here that their pay was raised in 1920. The Deputy made no references to higher officers. Why not?
Mr. O'HIGGINS: We may as well have them in order to complete the picture. The inspector-general was paid in 1914 at a rate of from £1,500 to £1,800; in 1920 he was paid from £1,800 to £2,200. The Commissioner of the Gárda Síochána is paid £1,300. The deputy inspector-general was paid £1,000 to £1,200 in 1914, and in 1920 he was paid £1,300 to £1,500. The deputy-commissioner to-day is paid £1,000. The assistant-inspector was paid in 1914  from £700 to £800, and in 1920 from £1,000 to £1,200. The assistant commissioner of the Gárda is paid £900. You had a commandant at £600 in 1914, and £1,000 in 1920. You had a barrack master at £400 in 1914, and £750 in 1920, and the functions of those two officers are performed to-day by chief superintendents, whose pay is from £650 to £800.
That brings me to the point at which Deputy Gorey began. He began, I think, at county inspectors and worked down to the ranks. I agree that the three big factors in the total cost of the Force are the strength, the pay and the equipment. In the matter of strength Deputy Baxter told us the other day that there has been a small reduction. “Small” is a relative term. There has been a reduction of 20.9 as compared with the position in 1914, taking the R.I.C. and the D.M.P. together, and contrasting that with the strength of the Gárda Síochána. That is not a small reduction. Outside the metropolitan area in 1914 you had 7,859 R.I.C. To-day outside the metropolitan division you have 6,011 Gárdaí. It is a very substantial difference. Passing to equipment, I showed that in 1926 we are doing for £3 10s. per head what was being done in 1914 by Dublin Castle for £3 17s. a head. That is rather a striking figure when you take into consideration the difference in the purchasing power of money between 1914 and 1926. It is a figure, incidentally, which neither of the morning papers quoted, though it was the most important fact which emerged on the discussion the last day on the Gárda Síochána Vote. The fact was not given to the public that the equipment of the police in 1914 totalled £33,000, and that in 1926 the total is £26,870. Deputy Good got up and told us that an old business bird could not be caught by chaff, that the Minister said with certain emphasis and justifiable pride that he was doing with less police now than in 1914, which, of course, is a fact, that what he wanted was a per head comparison, and when he was given the per head comparison, at £3 10s. in 1926 for the Gárda Síochána, and £3 17s. in 1914 for the police at the time, neither of the Dublin morning  papers published it. Why? Are not the public entitled to get facts like that? It was about as important a fact as emerged in the last day's discussion.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: Important facts of that kind which the Government give out ought to be disclosed to the public. We have dealt with strength. I think the strength is not excessive. I think the reduction of 20.9 in 1914 is a very substantial reduction. When you remember that 100 Guards are on special duty, solely engaged on Customs duty on the border, and that Ardnacrusha makes a demand on fifty, I think the present authorised strength, 7,622, is not excessive for the needs of the country.
We are dealing with an amendment, and expected to take that amendment seriously. There is a reduction down in the name of Deputy Heffernan for £400,000, and the Deputy justifies that by saying that there are 2,000 too many Guards. Deputy Gorey does not think there are too many, and even suggested that there might be need, for an increase, but are we going to have Deputies voting for this amendment, one because there are 2,000 too many Guards, and the other for an entirely different reason. I think we ought to know where we stand with regard to the Farmers' Party in the Dáil. The amendment is put down in the name of one Deputy. He speaks in terms of “we.”“We” think this and “we” think that, and then we discover that “we” do not think anything of the kind, and that in fact a prominent member of his Party is not prepared to accept the fact that there are too many Guards. It is all very well to say the pay is too high. The pay of the police here is 15 per cent. below that obtaining in Britain and Northern Ireland. Deputies say it should be lower still, but you have to take factors like that into account. There has been a 14 or a 15  per cent. cut, and if Deputies are prepared to come along and say there should be a further cut, let them say it quite openly, not simply read out a column of figures and merely hint at it. I do not think there ought to be a further cut. I do not think that the 60/- for the Gárdaí after training is excessive. If you get a good man and get good service from that good man, he is not overpaid at £3 a week, and it is in contrast to a rate of from 70/- to 95/- per week in 1920.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: No, in 1914 it was from 23/- to 33/-. In 1920 it was from 70/- to 95/-, and in 1926 it is from 60/- to 83/-. What is the use of the Deputy talking of 1914? Does he suggest there should be a reversion to the 1914 rate of pay and that we should pay the Gárda Síochana 23/- to 33/- per week?
Mr. GOREY: I want to draw the Minister's attention to the difference in the state of the country in 1914 and to-day, and to find out if there is any justification for the pay to-day. If you measure the capacity of the country to pay now and in 1914, it is not fair to compare the position now with the 1920 position.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: What does the Deputy want to go back to? If he is prepared to say that the rate of pay from 60/- to 83/- is too much for the Gárda Síochána, by how much is it excessive, and what is the new rate to be?
Mr. O'HIGGINS: I do not want to queer the Deputy's pitch. I would like it to be quite smooth, but the Deputy must not try to queer mine. People cannot get away with generalities by saying that the pay is too high. If they want a reduction let them say how much they want.
AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: I would be glad if Deputies would do anything by way of speech rather than by way of interruption. Perhaps Deputies do not appreciate what rhetorical questions are. Everybody asks them, and it is better not to answer them at all.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: Deputy Heffernan based his case on excessive strength, while Deputy Gorey based his case, such as it was, on excessive pay. It is not too much to ask that a party, as distinct from a group—we had a group here once and they held themselves at liberty to differ on most vital matters —should fight these things out in private and not in the Dáil.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: What I object to in regard to this Vote is that a member of the Farmers' Party puts down an amendment to reduce the Vote by almost half a million, and Deputy Heffernan says that that is done because there are 2,000 too many police,  whereas Deputy Gorey, who, presumably, will support that amendment, says he does not think there are too many police. In that kind of situation it is difficult to know where we are. You might have this position. Deputy Heffernan says that there are 2,000 too many police, but the pay is all right, whereas Deputy Gorey says we have not too many police, but the pay is too high, and we will probably have Deputy Wilson taking a third course.
“That we, the members of the Committee of this Co-operative Dairy Society, Ltd., representing fully two-thirds of the Civic Guards district of Shanagolden, having learned with no little amazement of the contemplated removal of the Civic Guards station from Shanagolden, desire to protest in the strongest possible manner against the disbandment of the local Civic Guard station, as it is our considered opinion that any change in that direction will not conduce towards that respect for law and order, which, we believe, can best be maintained only by the continuance of the existing station at Shanagolden. We direct that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the Chief Commissioner of the Civic Guards, Dublin, and to our representative, Mr. P.K. Hogan, Rathjordan House, Herbertstown.”
That is the kind of resolution that comes in, except that it is rather milder than the average one, when there is any suggestion of closing down a Gárda station, and we, in the Department, have challenged and sifted every proposal for a new station, and have only yielded when the need for it was established to our complete satisfaction. We have adopted a most cautious and conservative attitude on the question of extending the number of stations. After we reached what we believed would be our full establishment, cases were put up so complete and convincing  that we had no alternative but to yield. Then when, here and there, we attempted to withdraw from a station, or to change to another area, the opposition was always intense, as in this case of Shanagolden.
Generally, I just want to put it to Deputies that, analysing these three big factors towards the total cost of this force—namely, strength, equipment and pay—there is no evidence of extravagance. The people are getting value for the money expended on the force, and, if the majority of Deputies believe that, then this amendment to reduce the Estimate by nearly half a million pounds should be rejected. Supposing it were not, and suppose Deputies made the mistake of taking Deputy Heffernan and his amendment seriously and the Vote were reduced by half a million, there would be no alternative but an immediate and drastic reduction of the strength. Does any Deputy think that that would not have immediate repercussions throughout the country? The thing is really as fine as this: that when Gardaí are withdrawn from their ordinary duties for some special purpose and special calls from a Department for a single week, that is reflected in the crime statistics of that week. You have always the pressure there, and when you reduce the strength that stands against that crime and pressure, you see the results reflected immediately in the statistics of that week which we get in the monthly confidential reports of the Gardaí. You could say by these statistics when there was a particular call on the police that was a distraction and diversion from their ordinary preventative and protective duties.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: I may be using the word “crime” a bit broadly. Many of the offences reported vary in degree, some being indictable offences and others less serious. But taking it generally as the offences that are reported to the police, I assure the Deputy that when there is a specially  heavy call on the police for duty on behalf of this or that department, you find that diversion of the police from their ordinary duties reflected in the statistics of the number of offences reported in that period.
Mr. JOHNSON: The point I am making is, if one thinks of this in terms of crime, it is a fearfully heavy indictment of the country to say that the people are only waiting for the removal of the police in order to commit crime.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: There again you might say that it was a very heavy indictment of the people of the country in 1922, when there was no police establishment, that people ran amok. I think it would happen in almost any country that in the absence of police supervision and the ordinary preventive measures you would have crime.
Mr. BAXTER: In speaking of crime, does the Minister take into account, for instance, the work of one member of the Gárdaí that I have experience of who brought eight cases in court which resulted in eight dismissals, one after another? Would these cases come within the category of crime mentioned?
Mr. O'HIGGINS: Offences reported —the Deputy can include under that heading anything he likes. Without just quibbling over the matter, I want to show that when the police are diverted to some special duty like a census of traffic or something of that kind on behalf of one or other department, you find that diversion reflected in the statistics of offences for the period in which they were diverted. I would not contemplate with any equanimity the reduction of the Gárdaí by 200, not to speak of 2,000, and I may  claim to know the situation rather intimately. Back since September, 1922, I have had month by month from the Commissioner of the Gárda Síochána a confidential report showing the condition of every county, and I have watched the upward curve and the improvement with considerable pleasure. But, on the question of a reduction of strength, I believe you could not reduce the strength of the Gárdaí by scores without having a reflection of that in the absence of that security of personal property which citizens at present enjoy. If the people would prefer to face that, would prefer to fall back a bit in the degree of order and protection and decency of life there is in the country and save a certain amount of money, then undoubtedly the Dáil can do that. But I do not think that is the feeling of the country. I think that the people would be glad to have even a little more security of personal property, order and decency in the general life of the country than at present rather than less, and I believe that the people are prepared to pay for it. I believe, if it is shown that there is no extravagance in the matter of pay, equipment and general maintenance of the force, that that meets the frame of mind of the ordinary citizen. I have attempted to show that, and I have gone to the point of boring Deputy Hewat, representing the business and commercial community here—to the length of boring him with particulars——
Mr. O'HIGGINS: Almost to tears— in the matter of insisting on giving him particulars of equipment leading up to the conclusion which I have spoken of. Strength cannot be gone into in just that detailed way, but I have shown a reduction of 20.9 in the strength as against 1914, and 1914 was a very normal, humdrum year, with no particular calls on the police. Then there is pay. The pay stands at fourteen or fifteen per cent. under that of neighbouring police. I do not think it should stand lower. I am not prepared to say, given a good man and a good service from him, that £3 per week is an excessive rate of pay for a rank-and-file member of the Gárda Síochána.
Mr. JOHNSON: I should like just to say a word on a matter that the Minister has opened up which, to my mind, is one of the most serious statements ever made in this House. I refer to the statement that the people are in such a state of mind as immediately to add to the number of offences reported as soon as there is any withdrawal of the number of Gárdaí or diversion from their normal occupation and duty. I am not doubting for a moment the Minister's statement, but it is so serious that it would be important to have a closer inquiry. I feel sure these offences are catalogued and classified, and it would be some satisfaction to know that the offences which increase in number with the withdrawal of the Gárda are minor offences—offences against order, regulation, statute, and not what might be classed as crimes of violence against persons or property— in fact, what might be called moral offences. It would be a fearful state of things if we had to admit that it was only the presence of the Gárda that restrained people from committing those offences. It is very hard for me to believe it at any rate, and I think that if it is shown by the Minister's records that the latter statement is the truth, then a Commission of Inquiry composed of clergymen, moralists and educationists is imperatively demanded.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: Is the Deputy not making a mistake in speaking of the people of the country? It is not the people of the country—using it in that broad sense—who commit crimes and so on. It is a certain number, a very small number of the people of the country, and here, as elsewhere, you have people with a lawless frame of mind and a criminal outlook who will take advantage of such opportunity as is offered.
Mr. JOHNSON: He suggests that there is found spread over the country a certain criminal class, waiting for the opportunity, waiting for the absence of watchfulness, to commit those offences.  If that class is not evenly spread over the country, if it is in a particular place, then one would say that it is bad administration from the police point of view if you relax vigilance in that particular place.
I think the whole position as shown to us by the Minister deserves very close investigation. It is rather a tremendous indictment of the character of the people. I do not distinguish between this alleged criminal class, that is waiting always for the opportunity to commit offences, and the average man. I do not think that there is such a thing as a criminal class waiting for the absence of supervision to commit offences. There are criminals who are frequently found out and frequently find themselves in prison. There are many other criminals that do not find themselves in prison because they are not found out. I make the suggestion to the Minister that it would be worth while giving to the Dáil the fullest information that he has graphically or by means of a statement upon the matter, because it is certainly worthy of the closest inquiry.
Mr. BOLGER: I wish to express agreement with the statement made by the Minister. I do not believe that the country would stand for any reduction in the Gárda, and I do not believe the country wishes any such thing. I also agree with Deputy Gorey that the activities of the Gárda might be extended. There are many ways in which they could be of more service than they are. One is in regard to unlicensed gunmen to whom Deputy Gorey referred. They are trespassing upon other people's property. I think there might be more activity also displayed by the Gárda in the prevention of road trespass in many parts of the country. There was a letter in the papers yesterday showing the necessity for more supervision with regard to road trespass. I think it might be pointed out to the Gárda by the Minister that they might give more attention to road trespass.
Mr. BAXTER: There is a point I want to touch upon, and which I deliberately avoided in the discussion the other day, but which I think might properly be brought to the notice of the Minister on this general discussion with  a view to getting some information upon it. Apart altogether from the number of the Gárda, there is the question of the organisation of the force in the country. We recognise that, on the whole, and in the conditions, the force is satisfactory. But there is the consideration that it is a new force, composed entirely of young men, the great majority of whom had not great opportunities for education and for the understanding of the problems with which they find themselves confronted when sent down the country to handle the people, for that is what their work amounts to. Their ability to preserve the peace is very largely determined by their ability to understand the people with whom they come in contact.
The Gárda, I hold, will not be doing the best in maintaining order and winning respect for the law by trivial prosecutions and by exasperating action. There is necessity, on the part of the Gárda, to be able to discriminate between what cases should be taken to court—in what cases it is wise to take action and in what cases it is wise to leave action alone. I suggest, on many occasions better results could be obtained by suggestion and advice to many of the people that the Gárda come in contact with, in the rural district, than by taking men to court for petty offences. That is more than a matter for the ordinary Gárda. It is a question of the organisation and outlook of the whole force.
I was rather impressed by certain action that was taken, whether by the Minister for Defence or by the Army officers, or by whom I am not able to say, when certain public men were secured to lecture to the officers of the Army. I believe that was a step in the right direction. In discussing with some people some of the lectures given, one learned gentleman suggested that when “citizenship” was the subject of discourse it might not be out of place sometime to get some of us members of the Dáil to attend that lecture. But undoubtedly I feel there is a great necessity that the Gárda as a whole, and their officers particularly, should be brought together, and that problems of life with which they have to deal  should be brought before them, perhaps by their more experienced officers, and if not, by people from outside. Their duty as citizens and the example, as citizens that they should give to the people among whom they move to keep the peace, should be explained.
Officers in turn should impart that information to their own men in such a manner as would be understandable, so that the members of the Gárda might be imbued with that spirit and set an example to the people by carrying out their work in such a discreet and sensible manner as would inculcate respect for the Gárda as citizens and respect because of the manner in which they discharge their duties. I am not able to say whether that aspect of things is considered, but I think the visits of senior officers to junior officers and the visits of junior officers to those under them would produce an excellent spirit. I would like to have some information as to these matters. I would like to know if lectures or discourses of the nature suggested are given to these officers. If such is not done, I suggest the Minister should give the matter his consideration.
Mr. E. DOYLE: I listened with interest to this discussion, and would not, as a matter of fact, have intervened in the debate were it not that my colleague, Deputy Bolger, mentioned that the Gárda were not zealous enough in looking after road trespass. Now here is a case, the particulars of which I have received from a publican in the town of Carlow, in regard to the zeal of the Gárda. He says an employee of his as yardman and messenger for the last 12 or 14 years on week-days and Sundays was prosecuted and fined for being found on his premises on a Sunday. He says that on that particular Sunday there was an election meeting held on behalf of Mr. Bolger, T.D., and he let the man off to co-operate with the election party to procure Mr. Bolger's return.
Before he comes out the Guards come along, find him on the premises, and the result is that he is summoned to the court where he is fined 2/6 and the publican £2. I think that is overzeal instead of the inactivity that prevailed hitherto. I would be glad if the  Minister would take that into consideration. Guards who travel too quickly in that way are, I think, a danger to the good government of the country.
I am actuated in doing so by more reasons than one. In the first place, the Minister for Finance under the new procedure of balancing the Budget by taking the difference between the two sides, has allowed for £650,000 to be saved under various sub-heads of the whole. I do not object to that procedure on the part of the Minister, but I reckon that he has not taken the Dáil into his confidence, by indicating, before  the money is voted, under what sub-heads he will save that amount. If we vote the Estimate as printed we will be assured at the end of the financial year that there is a deficit of £650,000 which must be found by extra taxation.
Speaking on behalf of the people I represent, I say that there must not be extra taxation. When we cannot find where the Minister for Finance means to make a saving we must make provision by reducing the Estimate by the amount he is short in his Budget. That is one of the reasons why I urge a reduction. I will indicate to the Minister for Justice, not in general terms, but in specific amounts, how there could be a saving. I do not mean to interfere at all with the Gárda Síochána in Dublin. Numbers of these men have transferred from the old police force and if interfered with they would resign and there would be no saving. In addition, the Corporation of Dublin pays a considerable sum for the services of these policemen. For these reasons these men are entitled to better conditions than men serving in rural areas. My amendment deals only with 5,516 members of the Gárda Síochána in rural areas. It does not propose to interfere with the Detective Division but with men in sub-stations in the rural districts who, now that we have reached a state of tranquillity and stability, have very little to do beyond the ordinary routine work of a barrack.
In view of our financial position and the necessity of having no increased taxation next year, and not from any antipathy towards the force, I think we should make the reduction I will indicate. The Minister for Justice spoke about a man leaving the depot getting £3, and said that he was worth it. It is not £3. It is £3 10s., as there are boot, clothing and bicycles, rent, fuel and light allowances, as well as free medical attendance. In fact, each Guard really receives about £3 10s. weekly. Contrast these figures with the amount paid in 1914, when the policeman received £1; plus allowances, or probably 25/- or 30/- weekly.
Mr. WILSON: He received from 23/- to 31/- aften ten years' service. At first he received 23/-, and after two years got an increase of 1/-; after three years another shilling, and if he got married he was allowed one shilling for rent of a house outside barracks. When he reached 30/- per week he got a rent allowance of 2/-. To-day a twenty years old boy, coming out after six months' training, gets £3 per week, an allowance of 1/6 for boots, 1/6 for uniform, 2/- for a bicycle, as well as rent, fuel, light and free medical attendance. I contend that in no other department of Government, and in no business—not even in the Civil Service —could a young man earn such emoluments. Even a national school teacher, about which there is so much talk, would not receive that amount. The national school teacher has six years' preparation. A boy entering the bank starts at £100 a year and in the railway service with £90 yearly. There are, according to the Estimates, page 251, 2,377 postmen working for 6d. an hour. There are 1,326 earning from 18/- to 41/- in a service that does not pay its way. There are 266 postmen earning from 16/- to 49/-, with an efficiency bar at 40/-. Contrast that particular service with the service that is now under discussion.
Mr. WILSON: I want to contrast the position of the man with £3 leaving the depot and that of the man with 16/-, plus 90 per cent. bonus. That is the comparison. There is an increase of £57,000 in this Estimate this year, and my amendment will mean that there will be an efficiency bar for two years in this young force, the cost of which is abnormal because it is a new force. You have officers, very good men, I believe,  after four years' service in a position that they would not otherwise attain in twenty years.
It is unreasonable that young men like those, gaining positions which they never expected to reach, with the emoluments which those positions entitle them to, and not accustomed to the luxury which such a high salary provides them with, should not have a bar put to their increases for a couple of years in the interests of the force. It is in that way that I mean to effect the reductions.
There are twenty District Superintendents at a salary of £650-£25-£725, plus £120 motor allowance, plus house and uniform. I am not saying anything against these men, but in an ordinary country they would not have reached that position until they would be 40 years of age, with the experience of life which that would bring them. I say it is against the interests of the force that these men should be brought to the maximum of their scale in such a short time, and I suggest that there should be a bar put for a couple of years to their increases. For that reason, I suggest that twenty District Superintendents should be reduced by a sum of £100 each. That would give you a round sum of £2,000. That, in effect, will mean that they will not get the £25 now that is on these Estimates for them. It will only throw them back four years and it will do something towards making them worthy to receive the salary of £800 eventually.
There are 106 Superintendents who rank with the old District Inspectors. The District Inspector, in the olden times, was on sergeant's pay when he went into the depot. He came out of the depot at £130 a year, which eventually increased to £250, and he was allowed £50 for a house and £50 for a horse. Our Superintendent gets £310-£10-£350 - £400-£20-£500-£520-£20-£585, plus house, uniform, travelling allowance, medical attendance and motor car. The motor car allowance is £120, as against £50 in olden times for a horse. I believe there are less officers now than there were in olden days, and, considering that the motor allowance is more than twice as much the allowance given for a horse, it  should be possible to do with fewer officers. But I do not put forward that suggestion. What I suggest is that the efficiency bar should be applied, that they should get no increase this year, and, in fact, that the salary be put back £50 in the case of Superintendents. That would give you £5,300.
There are 27 Inspectors who rank with the old head-constables, who received £2 a week. These men are getting £280-£10-£320, plus all the allowances. They could afford to lose £40 a year. That would be £1,080. There are 1,099 Sergeants. A reduction of 7/6 per week would give you £21,430. There are 4,264 Guards, and a reduction of 5/- per week would give you £55,432, making the gross total what is shown in my amendment.
This is not, in fact, cutting their wage. This 5/- in the case of Guards means merely, preventing them getting an increase this year of the 2/6 or 2/- they would be entitled to, plus a year thrown back on account of the newness of the force. I maintain that that is a fair and reasonable suggestion.
Deputies will recall that I did not agree with all that was said about economy in the newspapers. I pointed out the difficulties there were in finding any Vote on which a reduction could be made. But there must be a saving of £600,000 this year, and there are only certain services on which that saving can be effected. This is one of the services where a saving can be effected, and it is up to us, who talk about reducing taxation, to show how it can be effected. I agree with the Minister for Justice that a good man is worth £3 per week. But a good man who has done only six months' training could very well wait a couple of years before getting his £3 a week, and he should not be getting automatic increases as at present. The financial circumstances of the time necessitate a reduction of expenditure, and I think this amendment is one which the House ought to support. The Minister for Justice will not agree.
Mr. WILSON: I know from the Minister's previous attitude. The Minister for Finance is really the culprit. He balanced his Budget this year in a most scientific manner. He deducted one side from the other and he said: “Now we must make this saving of £650,000.”
Mr. WILSON: The Minister for Finance, if that was not the case, should have indicated to us, before we voted this money, how the £650,000 is made up. We would then be in a better position to decide. I think that until that method is adopted it is our duty to refuse to vote these Estimates. I have made a reasonable case and I ask the Dáil to agree with me in this amendment. Men employed on the railways are working twenty years before they get the same salary as a man leaving the depot. In the Post Office, men are started at a much lower basic scale than they are in the Gárda Síochána. And that, notwithstanding the fact that in the Gárda, of every four men who enter, one can become a sergeant, and of every twenty-five who enter, one can become a high officer. There is no service I know where such an opportunity is given. There is no such thing as nomination as in the old system. All the officers come from the ranks. In a service like that, men ought to be willing to enter at a lower rate. Take the case of a young man entering the service of a bank. He will have spent two or three years at a secondary school. That means that he is living for that time at the expense of his parents, and after ten years a boy in the bank would only have the same pay as a six months' recruit coming  out of the Depôt at Phoenix Park. The same thing applies to railway employees and in business outside the city of Dublin. I contend that I have made a reasonable and definite case to the Minister for Justice for the amendment.
Mr. HENNESSY: It would be just as well to know where we are before this amendment is put. I would like the Dáil to understand my position in the matter. Deputy Wilson is a sound economist on behalf of the Farmers' Party, and I am surprised at him putting forward an amendment of this nature. One big thing we have to consider is whether we are to have a respectable police force, decently and properly paid, or whether we are to have a police force miserably paid and open to corruption.
Mr. HENNESSY: The nation has expended a very large amount of money in creating the new police force, a force which in a short time has become a highly efficient and a highly organised one, and I think the nation owes a deep debt of gratitude to the Commissioner and Deputy-Commissioners who have given us this force in such a short time. The police to-day have to perform ordinary police duties, as we knew them performed by the R.I.C. under normal conditions in pre-war days. These duties, it must be conceded, have very largely increased because of the degeneracy and the demoralisation that set in as the result of war conditions in this country, so that the ordinary duties in pre-war times bear very little comparison with those of to-day. The young police force of to-day has much more responsible duties to perform than the R.I.C. had under normal conditions. In addition to these duties many others are cast on them. The Minister has told us that  they have now to take the agricultural census and the population census; they have to guard our fisheries, they have new duties under the School Attendance Bill, and they have many other important duties which I cannot enumerate at the moment. For all this a man is paid £3 a week, and he is expected to give the State a decent and honest return for the money he gets. We have no complaints that he does not, and still we are asked to reduce that pay considerably. What would the net result of that be? People who come from other countries will tell you of the corruption that exists amongst the police forces in those countries. Are we to set out here on Deputy Wilson's amendment to introduce corruption amongst our police? How can you possibly ask a man to work as an honest policeman at 30/- a week?
AN CEANN COMHAIRLE: I see no such suggestion in Deputy Hennessy's remarks. Deputy Hennessy is pursuing a line of argument that is quite legitimate. If Deputies do not agree with Deputy Hennessy, there is perfect freedom of debate. Perhaps Deputies will remember that our main purpose here is debate, and the reaching of decisions after proper debate. The essence of debate is that we must listen to other people expressing views with which we do not agree—views with which we sometimes violently disagree. When you have a Minister saying: “Does the Deputy contend so and so?” there is no necessity whatever for the Deputy to answer, and when a Deputy says: “Surely the Minister for Finance  does not think so and so?” the Minister for Finance should possess his soul in patience and reply at leisure.
Mr. HENNESSY: I do not think that the Farmer Deputies, or any others, can charge me with taking up too much of the time of the House in debate. I always like to leave as much time as I possibly can to them, and even though I disagree with them on many points that they put forward I never interrupt them. I think, therefore, that when other Deputies rise the Farmer Deputies should, as you, sir, have suggested, listen patiently and afterwards speak against the points put forward. I was on the point, when interrupted, that members of the police force here are human beings, exactly like the police in all other countries, and, I have no doubt, are as open to corruption as the police forces in America, France, or Great Britain. I do not suppose that they carry angels' wings under their tunics. I maintain that we should keep our police force in the same state of efficiency and good organisation as they are in to-day. I think it is in cumbent on the Minister to improve it rather than to allow it to go back to a less organised and less efficient state. You cannot possibly do that by reducing the men's pay from £3 to £2 or some other figure that Deputy Wilson suggests. Is it not a fact that to-day, even with this £3, there is an exodus of these men to the United States, where they can earn larger money? I understand that there is a very big percentage of resignations. The men who came in for the last two years are picked men. Whom are we to get instead? A very inferior type. I think  more money should be spent in the organisation of the force, on the detective branch of the force, in training men to look after food and drugs and weights and measures. Some money has been saved, I believe, on these particular branches of the Department for the last two years, and you know the result. We have one weights and measures man doing the work for a whole county. How can you expect that one man would do the work of the whole County Cork, for instance, and do it well—look after the whole weights and measures and food and drugs work of the whole county? He could not possibly do it, and the community is suffering because of light weights, perhaps, and because of poor food. I maintain that a larger amount of money should be spent on this particular branch.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: I would like to be a little clear on what the Deputy means. What I have down here is that he proposes to take from 20 Chief Superintendents £100 each; from 126 Superintendents £50 each.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: 106 superintendents, £50 each; 7/6 per week off sergeants, and 5/- per week off Guards. The reduction of £100 in the pay of Chief Superintendents would amount to £2,000. The reduction of £50 in the pay of Superintendents would amount to £5,300. I have here a note that the proposed reduction in the pay of Chief  Superintendents is equivalent to four increments, and similarly in the case of Superintendents. Does the Deputy mean that £100 should be taken off the pay of these 20 Chief Superintendents or does he mean a four years' halt?
Mr. O'HIGGINS: We are dealing with this year's Estimates. We are dealing with the pay of the force for the financial year 1926/27. I want to know what is the Deputy's proposal for that financial year?
Mr. HENNESSY: I think the cases that have been put forward by Deputy Wilson, of postmen and others, have no analogy to this case. Our police have responsible duties to perform. They have the life and property of the State to protect and preserve, and I maintain that the young men coming out of the depots charged with such onerous and responsible duties should be paid a reasonable and suitable wage for doing that particular work. I maintain that if you lower that wage much below the present rate you will drive the best men out of the force, men you have already trained, and you leave young married men charged with these onerous duties open to corruption. I do hope that the Minister will not accept the amendment.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: The Desborough scale came into force in 1920. Since then, I think I am right in saying, there has been no change except here. We are about 15 per cent. below the scale of pay obtaining in Great Britain and Northern Ireland—something between 14 and 15 per cent. I think it is  nearer to 15 per cent. I can give the Deputy a table showing the rates of pay prevailing in 1920 in the R.I.C., and, perhaps, if he is interested he might note it down, and to be just to Deputy Gorey's point of view I think I will give also the 1914 rates. The Inspector-General in 1914 had a scale of salary from £1,500 to £1,800. In 1920 that changed from £1,800 to £2,200. The Commissioner to-day, who is the corresponding officer, has £1,300. The Deputy Inspector-General had in 1914 from £1,000 to £1,200, and in 1920 that became £1,300 to £1,500. The Deputy Commissioner of the Gárda Síochána has £1,000. The Assistant Inspector-General had in 1914 £700 to £800, which became in 1920, £1,000 to £1,200. The Assistant Commissioner has £900. Then you had two officers whose functions are performed by our Chief Superintendents. You had the Commandant and the Barrack Master. The Commandant's pay in 1914 was £600, and the Barrack Master's was £400. Those became in 1920, £1,000 and £700. As I say, their functions are now performed by Chief Superintendents, whose pay is from £650 to £800. The Surgeon of the R.I.C. in 1914 received £400; in 1920 he received £700. Our surgeon is paid £700. County Inspectors, who correspond to our Chief Superintendents, received in 1914 pay on the scale of £350 to £450. Under the Desborough scale that became £700 to £900. We are £650 to £800. D.I.'s received in 1914, £135 to £300, and the 1920 rate was £360 to £650. Our Superintendents, which is the corresponding rank, £310-£585. Head-constables, 1914, £2 2s. to £2 6s. per week; rate in 1920, £310-£355; inspectors to-day, which is the corresponding rank, £280-300. Sergeants, in 1914, 35/- to 37/- per week, became in 1920, 100/- to 112/6 per week; our sergeants, 87/- to 98/6 per week. A constable, after training in 1914, 23/- to 31/- per week, rate in 1920, 70/- to 95/- per week. Guards, after training, 60/- to 83/- per week. Recruits, in training in 1914, 20/- per week; in 1920, 70/- per week, and in 1926, 50/-.
Our percentage cut on the 1920 rates is, in the case of the Commissioner,  35 per cent.; in the case of the Deputy Commissioner, 28 per cent.; the Assistant Commissioner, 18 per cent.; Chief Superintendent, 9 per cent.; Superintendent, 11 per cent.; Inspector, 12 per cent.; Sergeant, 13 per cent.; Guard, on completion of training, 13 per cent.; Guard in training—a recruit—28 per cent.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: I have not that worked out, but these percentages represent the difference in the pay of the Gárda Síochána to-day and the corresponding ranks in Britain and Northern Ireland. I just put it to Deputies that things being as they are, and having no brass wall around your country, that is a factor: what the men who do substantially similar work, and who hold corresponding rank in your neighbour police forces, are in receipt of. We are lower, quite considerably lower, than the neighbour police forces, and I do not think it would be wise for Deputies to attempt a greater discrepancy than that. I think you have got to have a police force, that is a substantially contented force, feeling that they are well off, perhaps better off, than the same kind of men as themselves who are not in the force. You cannot bring that particular position down to the rank of outside positions. You have to have a man in the frame of mind thinking that he was lucky to get in and would be unlucky to get out, and further, you have to get the pick of the young men of your country for this particular work. If you do not you will have a bad police force. We went out for that from the start; we took the point of view that this was highly important work for the future of the country, and that we should be able to get the pick of the young men of the country. The greatest possible sifting and rejecting went on in the building up of this force. The standard was extremely high and the competition  extremely keen, and I think it is necessary not to have in your police force the frame of mind that thinks in this way: “Well, I can go out in the morning and do as well outside. Why should I put up with this severity and discipline, why should I put up with this constant humdrum routine, and have this feeling that I am never off duty and have to be on the mark all the time and so on.” If you bring it down on a parity with the positions which the same kind of men are able to get in civil life, then I do not think you will have a good police force. It is economy to pass Deputy Wilson's amendment, but is it the right kind of economy, is it true economy, and is it going to result in a real saving?
Mr. O'HIGGINS: I do not think so. You will not get as good men for your Guards, you will not get as good men for your officers. We are fortunate in our higher officers, in the chief superintendents and superintendents. I have met every one of them. Last year, when I went around the country with General O'Duffy, we interviewed personally every officer in the Gardá Síochána. The feeling I had at the end of that round of inspection was that the country was extremely fortunate in the type of men that had been secured for these positions. I would not like to see any worse type handling the very responsible work they have to do. It is all right for Deputy Wilson to say that they are young men, and that in another kind of situation they might be forty or forty-five years of age before they would attain the same rank. The same might be said in many spheres. They have attained that rank, and they are doing the work to the complete satisfaction of their senior officers, and I think, although we are a country not easily satisfied, to the substantial satisfaction of the citizens of the country. That fact cannot be blinked, and their age must not be reared up against the men as if it were a stigma or a crime, if they are doing the highly responsible work which fate, if you like, has allotted to them well and satisfactorily, and I believe they  are. The difference between 1922 and 1926 did not come about by chance, and it is, as Deputies will agree, an amazing difference, a difference which, in 1922 or 1923, few men would have been so bold as to prophesy, and yet it is there. It is there, because all through the country efficient, active, and energetic men were labouring to bring it about. No doubt it is there also because, as passions died down, you had a return to sanity and to an orderly outlook on the part of the great mass of the citizens, and a growing public opinion against lawlessness and against anarchic tendencies, but it is there, too, because active, efficient, and alert young men faced their responsibilities and laboured to bring it about. It has been brought about, and I dissent from the point of view that now, just when Deputy Wilson is able to say with complacency and equanimity that there is what he calls a normal situation in the country—that the moment you have attained that the thing to do is to turn round and cut the pay of your police, which, as Deputies know, has already been cut within the lifetime of the present Government, and reduce the figure substantially below that of the neighbour police forces.
Deputies think and suggest that if we could begin all over again we would get wonderful results for a much lesser sum. I doubt it very much. The good thing is worth paying for, and you seldom get it without paying for it. Let us get back to 1922 and assume a country without a police force. Let us take the idealistic conceptions of Deputy Heffernan, partly shared by Deputy Johnson with a kind of philosophic doubt as to whether the present system is after all the right thing. What would the people do thrown like that on their own resources? They would proceed to try and build up in their own way a police force, they would proceed to try and get active, efficient, and responsible young men to take on the task of preserving order in their own areas. They would get it after awhile and after a great many disappointments and disillusionments in the young men. They would find that in numbers and in pay, and in  every other matter, it came to much the same thing, if not more, and they would have this disadvantage which Deputy Cooper put his finger on, that your men would be functioning in their own areas with all the drawbacks and the difficulties which that involves, subject to local ties, local pressure, and so on.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: Well you can unduly localise it. Deputies, and Deputy Baxter in particular, spoke and it made an impression on me, about the outlook of citizens towards the police, that people were not inclined to put their back into keeping order or into moulding public opinion in favour of order because someone else was there to do it. But these Guards are just the kind of men that the people, left to themselves in the way which Deputy Johnson envisaged, would select to do the work. Sooner or later after a period of disorder people would find it necessary to have someone paid ad hoc and assigned ad hoc to the work of the preservation of order and the detection and prevention of crime. To do that they would find it necessary to pay them, and they would pay them with all the disadvantage of functioning in their own areas. That arrangement would work out, I suggest, much less efficiently, and I feel it in my bones, also, that it would work out much less economically than the present system. Is anyone prepared to take a given division, I do not care where you take it, in Louth, Meath, Carlow, Kildare or anywhere else, and take the strength of the Gárdaí—officers and men—functioning within that area and say that the people left by themselves, without the interference of the State as such, and the Government as such, would throw up a police force of smaller numbers and smaller pay who would do the work of preserving order and maintaining the security of person and property over that area more cheaply and efficiently than it is being done by the centrally governed police force? It does come down to that, taking a given division, and assuming that division to be thrown on its own  resources, would there emerge from that situation a local force that would do the work as efficiently and more economically than, if you put it that way, the quota of that division's contribution to the cost of the central force. That is really the thing that would be at stake, and we have our own very definite view on that. I think the local force would be less efficient and quite as costly as the contribution of that area towards the central force.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: I ask Deputies to think over Deputy Wilson's proposal seriously, as it envisages a cut of £100 in the salaries of chief superintendents, £50 in the salaries of superintendents, 7/6 a week in the case of sergeants and 5/- for Guards, and simply to put it to themselves whether it is wise to attempt to make a wider gap between the pay of these men and those holding corresponding ranks in the neighbouring forces. I do not think it is.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: If I thought it was I would be here proposing it myself, just as we came to the Dáil and proposed the cut which has already been made. The Minister for Finance with my full concurrence came here to propose that cut when we thought it right and advisable. I do not think this proposed additional cut is wise. I do not think it is true economy. Perhaps the most important thing in the country at its present phase of development is that the police should be contented and feel that they are well off in comparison with the same kind of men in civil life as themselves. Talking about a bank clerk is not really relevant, nor is the statement that the bank clerk accepts less than the Guard after training receives to-day. He does, and no doubt in accepting it he adverts to such consideration as the social standing he takes and is able to maintain with that position. That is a consideration to him.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: You might tell him, with truth, that if he were a seavenger under the Dublin Corporation he would be getting more. “Well,” he says, “I do not want to be a scavenger under the Dublin Corporation. I will take this smaller sum and maintain the social standing and prestige which I can maintain in the employment of the bank.” There are all kinds of inequality like that. If, instead of doing long tots in the bank, he were delivering milk for a Dublin milk dealer he would be receiving 65/- a week, and if he were milking cows for a Dublin milk dealer he would be receiving 80/- a week, but he does not feel that it is his vocation to deliver milk or to milk cows, and he does the long tots in the bank, because that fits in with his conception of his own social standing and prestige. You need not be delving around for contrasts. You will find many contrasts and inequality of pay for different kinds of work. You need not line up to it on that point of view.
If Deputies think the present pay of the police ought to be reduced there is Deputy Wilson's proposal, a very moderate proposal if the Deputies think a reduction advisable. If they think it is advisable, it is not an extreme proposal, but I could not recommend a further reduction. I think the discrepancy that exists between our rates and the rates of pay in our neighbouring forces is just about as much as you can afford without risking discontent, discontent that will react on the efficiency, alertness and general morale of your forces, which ought not to be lightly jeopardised.
Mr. GOREY: The Minister has made a very reasonable case and he has talked in reasonable language, but I cannot accept the position that he puts up. When he compares the salaries of our forces with the salaries of neighbouring forces he ought to give us a little more information. We ought, for instance, be told how much per head policing costs in Great Britain and what it costs here. I make the assertion that the cost of policing per head  of the population here is five or six times what it costs in Great Britain. I do not know the exact figures. I suppose those in a position to give the exact figures can give them, and I speak under correction.
Comparison has been made in relation to the Gárda Síochána and the old R.I.C. It has been said that the Gárda Síochána have to-day more difficult duties to perform; the times are different. I say that is not so. I make the assertion here, and I challenge anybody to contradict me, that the Gárda Síochána, are better received in the country, have the co-operation of the people and are doing, except in a few areas, much more effective work than the R.I.C. ever did. They are better received by the people and are more in touch with the people. It is easier for them to do their duty than it was for the R.I.C. in their day.
It has been stated by some Deputies that if the pay of the Gárda is reduced according to the terms of Deputy Wilson's amendment they would be open to corruption. I am not as sensitive on that matter as some Deputies. My experience may not be as unfortunate as the experience of some Deputies with regard to temptations. I do not know what the experience of Deputies has been in regard to temptation. When we examine the question what do we find?
I want to deal not with the high ranks but with the low ranks of the Gárdaí. At present the Gárdaí are in receipt of £966,000 odd. If you take the present strength of the Gárdaí at £3 a week per man you get a sum of £847,650 odd. I maintain that even with the cut Deputy Wilson suggests the Gárdaí will still be receiving over £3 a week, plus allowances. The Gárdaí have already had a certain amount of service and they will be substantially well over the figure of £3 a week, plus allowances, even if we accept the cut that Deputy Wilson suggests. I wonder will that convince some Deputies that corruption ought not to enter into the question?
I agree with the Minister that the Gárdaí should feel they are better off than the rest of the community; to do good work they should have a feeling of contentment. I maintain that they  have a feeling of contentment and will have that feeling even with more drastic cuts than the cut suggested by Deputy Wilson. I know something about the Gárdaí and recruitment for the Gárdaí in the country. I know there are numbers of young men of good education and position who are continually requesting Deputies and others to use their influence to try and get them into the Gárdaí. They are the pick of the country, as the Minister describes them. There are any amount of fine young men available; they are only waiting to find out when and how they can get into the Force. There was a question raised about resignations from the Gárdaí and it was stated they are going to America. I want to know from the Minister if that is so what are the causes?
Mr. GOREY: There are, perhaps, other reasons. Possibly these people who resign and go away find it is the best way to get out; they find the best method is to resign from the Force and clear out of the country. It is not because of low pay or anything of that description that they resign; it is for other reasons that are, perhaps, better not explained. It is probably because some of them find matters too hot for them here.
We have been asked whether we want a respectable police force or a corrupt police force as they have in other countries. Well, we will make the choice and say that we want a respectable force. But we do not contend for a moment, nor will we allow anybody to suggest—of course they will suggest it but we will not accept it—that this cut is going to corrupt them. I doubt if even a much greater cut would corrupt them.
Mr. GOREY: They are going to live on air with a nice mixture of £3, plus allowances, in their pockets. We are told that the Gárda Síochána have more duty to do than had the R.I.C. I say that the Gárda have less to do than the R.I.C. The R.I.C. had very disagreeable duties to perform during the land war. Perhaps Deputy Hennessy remembers it. It is all an illusion and I do not think anybody means it; even the Minister does not, I think, mean it, when he suggests that the Gárda will not be as contented, as efficient and as clean if this suggested reduction takes place in their pay as they would be had the purchasing power of money remained as it was in 1923. The purchasing power of money is much better to-day than in 1923. I submit that £3 to-day is worth more than £3 10s. when the Gárda were appointed. Money is likely to be still more valuable.
No hostile suggestion is made in any way on our part. We do know the capacity of the country to pay is not as good as it was when this force was established. Even the police force must cast in its lot with the rest of the community. We are not making wild demands or suggestions; we are just asking the police, as we will ask every other service, to cast their lot in with the people and bear their share of the common depression. I have been in these Benches since the Estimates began to be discussed and I was expecting to hear from the disciples of the “Irish Times” and the disciples of other newspapers here what they had to suggest in the way of economies. I have been disappointed. Their favourite disciples, whom they have been always lauding to the skies, have suggested nothing so far in the way of economies. I hope they will waken out of their lethargy and do something to show they deserve the support and the clap on the back that they have been constantly receiving from the “Irish Times” and “Independent.”
Major COOPER: I do not know to whom Deputy Gorey is referring. If he is referring to me in his last remarks I wish to say that I am not a disciple of any newspaper. I may be a prophet in a newspaper, but I am certainly not  a disciple. I have tabled amendments that would reduce the Estimates very substantially. I did so before Deputies in the Farmers' Party put down any amendments. If there are any disciples of those papers they are in the Farmers' Benches.
Major COOPER: The Deputy's amendments will come under discussion very soon and Deputy Wilson can then express his views on them. I was drawn into this debate by Deputy Gorey. I want to enter a slight correction both to Deputy Wilson and to the Minister for Justice. Deputy Wilson assumed that the wages of the R.I.C. before 1920 were perfectly satisfactory to the R.I.C. The Minister for Justice told us that the wages of the R.I.C. were increased as a result of measures taken in Great Britain and not as a result of any particular demand here. They are both wrong. I was at that time in very close touch with the circumstances.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: May I correct the Deputy? It is a small matter. What I did say was that they were increased all over the area of the jurisdiction of the British Government and not because of any special circumstances or conditions here.
Major COOPER: The Minister said that, and the Minister was unconsciously wrong. There were special circumstances here. I was then in close touch with the then Inspector-General of the R.I.C. He was a fellow-county man of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, who reminds me very much of him in many ways. The only difference is that he was removed from his position because he would not agree to the policy of frightfulness that was then about to be put into operation. I am not quite sure about that as regards the Minister. There was a time in 1919 when there was grave discontent in the R.I.C. on account of the inadequacy of their pay.
Major COOPER: It was before the risks had become serious. That was before it had become acute; that was before the shooting of District Inspector Hunt, and that was one of the earliest incidents. The risk then was not serious. The trouble was economic. There was apprehension at the time that there was going to be either a mutiny or a strike on the part of the R.I.C. These special circumstances existed. The British Government, like all Governments, tried to save their faces, and as there was a committee then sitting to inquire into the terms of the British Police Force, they included the R.I.C. in their terms of reference and the R.I.C. got a very substantial increase. It is not correct to say that the R.I.C. were contented with what they were getting in 1919.
Major COOPER: It was suggested that they go back to the 1914 scale. This is not 1914. A great many people to-day are getting smaller incomes than in 1914. But nobody who is working is working at the wage paid in 1914. The Farmers' Party know that.
Major COOPER: They are getting less income. They are not paid by the week. The man paid by the week is getting very much more than he was getting in 1914. The year 1914 is not a fair parallel. Deputy Wilson made a good case and a strong case, and I think while it is very desirable that we should pay policemen adequately, they should be beyond the reach of suspicion. I think Deputy Wilson made some case for a revision of salaries in future but you cannot do anything that would affect men now in the service.
Major COOPER: , No, I do not think that is fair dealing and is likely to provoke some discontent and possibly the danger of mutiny. But I do say  that as regards the recruits, the new entrants into the Gárda, the Minister should take into account the fact that there is a great demand on the part of the best youth of the country to enter the force. I know that at present every Deputy is being besought to use his influence to get candidates accepted for the Gárda, and on economic grounds alone I suggest that the Minister might consider a revision in the future scales of salary. I think, however, that Deputy Wilson's amendment would be too drastic. But the principle of it is a sound principle, and a principle that the Minister might well take to heart.
Mr. JOHNSON: I am interested in this discussion, more particularly because of the arguments adduced by the Minister in his last speech. I think his arguments were convincing. I think the case made by Deputy Wilson is not sufficient to justify us in supporting his amendment. I think it is quite in order and germane to ask the Minister why he should take this particular view of this problem, and detach it from his view of similar proposals in other relations? Some little time ago, referring to the question of pay of certain classes of people in the country, he said: “I do not stand for 32/- a week as an ideal wage. But it must be remembered that Ireland is a poor country and farming is its present basic industry. At present the farmer, who is the food producer, and his agricultural labourer are down at bedrock, fighting for their lives, one working at 25/- a week and the other not clearing his overhead expenses. Yet they are the only producers of wealth in the country. The country's economic position is unsound because of the position of the farmer. For that reason the Government are not justified in indulging in schemes that are not economic or reproductive.” He was supported in that view by the President. “A certain wage has got to be fixed,” the President said. “Is it to be fixed for the same class from which both parties come? I presume that would be admitted. From what class of labour are the Gárda drawn? Very largely from the agricultural labourer.”“It is a case of the normal working of  supply and demand,” the President said. Is this to be a case of the normal working of supply and demand? Apparently not. The Minister is right now but he was wrong then. The Minister for Industry and Commerce also had something quite apposite to say when he said in respect of the other problem but not of this: “I am not going to allow two thousand sheltered workers with certain specified requisites to get a bigger wage than the ordinary two hundred and twelve thousand farm labourers——”
Mr. JOHNSON: I am not going to deal with the Shannon Scheme. I am only illustrating the difference in view the Minister has to-day, in defending the position of men who joined the Gárdaí as against other classes of workmen in the country. I am comparing his views on one class of workers with his views on the wages of another class of workmen in the country. He now refuses to apply the same standard to the other class of workers on certain grounds which he outlined here to-day. The grounds that he has outlined here to-day are quite sound, just and satisfactory, but they are absolutely opposed to the grounds on which he opposed the payment of a decent standard of wages to another class of workers in the country.
Mr. HEWAT: Following on Deputy  Gorey's remarks, I feel that it is necessary for me to make a few comments on this matter and to explain the position in which I find myself with regard to Deputy Wilson's amendment. I have never maintained in the matter of economy more than that the whole situation should be carefully examined in the light of any savings that could be properly made. In that respect I regret that the first vote that should come up is the Gárda Síochána, because, I think, as regards any criticism I may make on Government expenditure, this is perhaps the vote which I, representing the commercial community, least wish to criticise adversely as regards either the pay or the standing of the force. I think the Minister gave a very clear exposition of his views with regard to this force. I should like to say that as a champion of the force he stands pre-eminent, and I think he is defending a force which the public and more especially the part of it which I am supposed to represent, will appreciate in connection with the services and organisation that has been built up during a time of great stress and trial. In criticising this vote I am handicapped by the fact that I think we must recognise that the services rendered to the country by the organisation is very creditable to all concerned. As far as I am concerned I have to accept the Minister's statement that at present the country is not prepared to take on themselves and off the shoulders of the Gárdaí a sufficient amount of the civic duties that would permit of the reduction of the force at present. When I say at the present time I should like to say that I hope, and I think everyone will hope, that the steady progress, in the direction that has been indicated here, must, of necessity, in the course of time, make the Gárdaí force of to-day excessive in number for the requirements of the community they are supposed to keep in order. Therefore, while I say for the present time I qualify that by saying that I think the force as it stands to-day should be a maximum and descend gradually in numbers as opportunity offers.
Mr. HEWAT: I will confine myself to the rates of pay. I maintain in the present situation that the Minister has laid down a fair case, and I think it is not controverted by the fact, as Deputy Gorey points out, that there is a great rush of candidates for the position of Gárda. One could appreciate that if such was the case. Anyone who has anything to do with employment, in any direction, is in exactly the same position of being overwhelmed by applications for positions. If we were to give appointments to all those I think we would have to consider the payment of a very much wider circle than is represented by the Gárda. I say with full responsibility that there is a definite, decisive demand for reduction of expenditure on the part of the Government. I think I may venture the opinion that we should contemplate it in that direction and take up this matter of the paying of those forces. I take the responsibility of saying that I cannot support Deputy Wilson's amendment, notwithstanding the fact that I represent, as far as I can, the fairly generally held opinion that the expenditure of the Government on administrative services is excessive.
Mr. HEFFERNAN: Deputy Hewat says that there is a definite, decisive demand from the public for a reduction of expenditure. I believe there is, and it is because of that that I feel it is a demand which is justified and backed up by Deputies. We on those benches are facing an unpleasant duty when  clearing up those Estimates and working under great difficulties owing to the fact that we have not full information at our disposal. We are attempting with our limited resources to see whether representations can be brought about. We attempted to deal with this Vote in another manner in the beginning. We attempted to deal with the system of policing in this country. That has been dealt with. I am not yet convinced that there are not considerable possibilities of reduction in the expenses of the police force owing to a changed outlook on the part of the Minister and on the part of the citizens. I recognise the fact that such a change must be gradual and slow, but I think that is the direction in which we ought to work. We are as I said already, simply imitating and perpetuating the old system of police, and if that is all we can do, what is the use of getting our own Government at all?
Mr. HEFFERNAN: Deputy Wilson puts down a very moderate and reasonable amendment and that is met by a very strong argument to show that it is inadvisable to carry out Deputy Wilson's suggestion in regard to the reduction. I believe the Minister's arguments are not sound because I maintain that all matters of this kind have to be relative and that we have to take into account the actual reductions we are proposing. If Deputy Wilson had proposed an amendment reducing the pay of a Guard to thirty shillings a week, such a reduction would have sent the good man out of the force and attracted only a very inferior and unsuitable type of recruit. I am sure that with the reduction of five shillings per week in the Guards we would still secure the quality of the men we will get. I can tell, from my own experience, that we Deputies are visited from time to time by excellent young men of good physique and good character who are anxious to get into the Gárdaí, and I believe if those men knew that the pay they were offered when they entered the Guards would be £2 per week they  would still come forward. It is all very well to talk of £3 per week as if it were rather small pay in this country. It is not. The Ministers and Deputies know what an extremely difficult thing it is for a young man to get into a position when he comes out of school and how difficult it is to get a position of £3 a week. It is all very well to talk of social advantages which young men get who go into the banks. I believe the day of social advantages has gone, and if Guards continue to get their present pay they will be regarded as the social equals, if not the social superiors, of the men in the banks. Nowadays your social status is judged by your salary per annum or your profits per year. The Minister gave us figures with regard to the rates of pay existing in 1914, 1920, and the present rates of pay in the Civic Guards. He gave us some percentages of the decrease in the rates of pay at present in existence in the Civic Guards, and the rates of pay fixed in 1920, but he did not give us the percentages of increase in regard to the pay of the police in 1914 compared with that of the Guards at present. A constable in 1914 started with 23/-. A Guard starts with 60/-. That is an increase of 261 per cent. A recruit started with 20/- in 1914. Now he has 50/-, which is an increase of 250 per cent. I maintain that the R.I.C. in 1914 found no difficulty whatever in getting suitable recruits and, in spite of that, we still see fit to offer an increased pay of 260 per cent. notwithstanding the fact that the cost of living has only gone up ninety per cent.
Mr. HEFFERNAN: That is an increase of one hundred and fifty per cent. Where it was 100 it is now 250. Other things have to be taken into account in regard to the Gárda, such as the youthfulness of the whole force and the shortness of its existence. After all, if you compare, as Deputy Wilson pointed out, the position of a Chief Superintendent appointed, say, three years ago, at a salary of £650  with that of a County Inspector who had a salary of from £350 to £450 in 1914, you must take into account the fact that the latter class of men spent years of strenuous work, passed many tests and examinations, and stood the test of time before they reached their rank, whereas our Chief Superintendents, acknowledging that they are men of capacity, and that we have no complaint about them, are men who have risen, perhaps, from minor posts, or come from the university or college straight into this salary. That aspect must not be overlooked. You can take the same thing, from a superintendent down to a sergeant, and you have, at the present, outside the Dublin Metropolitan area, over a thousand sergeants. As the Minister knows, those men would have taken probably fifteen years' service as constables, sometimes twenty, before they reached that rank in the old days, whereas our present men stepped straight into their stripes. The Minister deals with the percentage reduction of the force by 20.9 per cent. since 1914. I think the Minister omitted to say that up to the taking over of the system by the present Government and up to the time of the Treaty, the city of Belfast was policed by the old R.I.C.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: In 1914 there were 7,859 R.I.C. in the twenty-six counties and 1,276 D.M.P. The total was 9,135. The present authorised strength of the Gárda is 7,222, the exact difference being 1,913.
Mr. HEFFERNAN: Another thing which must be taken into account in regard to the cost of the police is the extreme burden which the country has to bear because of the police who have left the country. In pensions to the R.I.C., combined with the pay to the Guards, which will increase from year to year, taxpayers are actually paying out of their pockets approximately three and a half millions at present. I think it is up to this Government to do everything it can to maintain law and order at the least possible expense.
The vital thing to be taken into account in connection with the examination of the Estimates is the capacity of the country to pay, and the resources  of the people to pay. When comparison is made with the pay of the police in England the resources of the two countries ought also to be compared. Ministers themselves have proved several times that we have not in this country the resources which Great Britain has. One of the great difficulties in connection with the whole of our services is that slavish imitation of the rates prevailing in Great Britain for work of a similar kind.
Mr. HEFFERNAN: Or Northern Ireland if you like—regardless of the capacity of the people to meet them. With regard to Northern Ireland, when the Minister of Finance there is in difficulties about his special constabulary and finds that the expenses are more than they can bear, he goes across to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, makes a deal with him and comes back with something satisfactory for his Government. I am sure the Minister for Justice does not believe that he can rely on the English Chancellor of the Exchequer when he is in a fix. We have to shoulder our own burden and face our own financial liabilities, and in view of the fact that there is, as Deputy Hewat says, a definite, precise demand for a reduction in expenditure by the people of the Saorstát, I believe that the Minister ought to accept this very reasonable amendment which Deputy Wilson has fully justified.
Mr. MULVANY: I wish to say a word on the general principle involved, as the details of the question have been well debated. As regards salaries, wages, pensions and general taxation, I think the question for this House and the country to consider is what the country is able to bear and able to pay. We of the Farmers' Party have a fair idea of how things are in the rural areas. We know that the ratepayers and taxpayers are finding it very hard to meet their liabilities. I think I would be safe in saying that 75 per cent. of the ordinary ratepaying and taxpaying community are hardly able to meet their liabilities, and a great portion of that 75 per cent. are not able to meet their liabilities. As I said, it is a question  of what the country is able to bear and what the people are able to pay, and I maintain that the country is taxed to an extent that it is not able to bear and which it will go down under very shortly if something is not done to lighten it. I wish to draw the attention of the House to a case brought under my notice last week when a rate collector in my district was going about in pursuance of his duties.
Mr. MULVANY: Perhaps I will get an opportunity some other time. I am very sorry that I cannot at present refer to it. I think we must all agree that it is about time reductions were made. We must begin somewhere, and the move that has been made by the Farmers' Party for a reduction in the pay of the Gárda Síochána is a step in the right direction. I hope before the Estimates are finished that we shall introduce amendments to have reductions made in other departments and that we will succeed in having those reductions made.
Mr. BAXTER: Before the amendment is put, I should like to ask the Minister if he will give a reply to the expression of opinion from me with regard to the general organisation of the force in the country and what the position is with regard to what I might call the discipline and education of the force. I should like to have a statement from the Minister as to whether that aspect of the organisation of the Gárda Síochána is being given consideration to or whether it is worth any consideration from him.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: The points of view that the Deputy gives expression to are nearly always worthy of consideration. This particular point of view is no exception. I did not deal with the  matter, and that perhaps was an omission on my part. The position really is that you have at headquarters the Commissioner and competent experienced police officers in various capacities, and there is a point of view there as to the requirements. The Commissioner of course works down through his hierarchy, through his chief superintendents and so on, and the chief superintendents at fixed intervals come to the Depot for conferences. There are discussions there with the Commissioner, the Assistant Commissioner, and the Deputy Commissioner. These conferences, I think, take place once a month, and the point of view of the senior officers is communicated in that way to the chief superintendents, through them to the district officers, and through them down to the inspectors and sergeants. In that way contact is maintained, and so far as possible, in a force of the kind, something like uniformity in outlook and standards is also maintained.
I have not much sympathy with the point of view that there should be picking and choosing, so to speak, and with the point of view that “irritating pin-pricks and so on should be avoided,” because that becomes a question of every man applying his own standard as to what is trifling, and as to what is irritating. It would be better that the police should have the feeling that the Dáil has approved and adopted the body of law that at present exists in the country, and that if at any time the Dáil consider that a particular law should be amended or repealed the Dáil will attend to it. But while the law is there it is for the Gárda to enforce it. We had an example of the condition of feeling in regard to these matters here this afternoon. Deputy Conlan referred, in a contemptuous way, to prosecutions for road trespass, and, after a few minutes, another Deputy was emphasising the seriousness of that very offence. So that each man will have his different point of view. To one man the poor man having his cow on the roadside to get a mouthful of grass is a small matter, but to the fellow who breaks his neck coming round the corner in a  motor car after colliding with the cow it is a big matter.
Mr. WILSON: In moving this amendment, I was under the impression that the Minister would, at least, have accepted the alternative proposition that this is not the time when normal allowances and increases for these men should be allowed. If he had met the reductions set forth by saying that for this and the next year he would refuse to grant any increase in salaries to officers and men of the Gárda he would in that way meet the situation as well as it could be met at the present time. It is useless for us to bring forward reasonable amendments. This is a reasonable amendment, but the silver-tongued Minister is able, by his eloquence, to convince and cajole the people who sit behind him that he is taking the proper course when he says, “follow me and you are safe.” I contend that a reasonable proposition such as this, based on actual figures and comparisons worked out carefully, ought to have consideration from the Minister and ought satisfy him and those associated with him. Comparisons with the Northern police and the police in England do not hold at all. The Northern police officer is a man of 30 or 40 years of age. Our officer is a young man with 3 or 4 years' service and to stop an increase to him is nothing. Comparisons with 1914, I think, are ridiculous. I did not base my argument on the figures of 1914. I based it on the present standard, less a reasonable reduction or, at all events, a block in the increases of pay for the present. The conditions in this  country to-day vary very much from the conditions in England. When you remember that the best offer to the miners was 20 per cent. increase on the 1914 rates, you cannot but be astonished to find that the increases in this country are from 100 to 200 per cent. over 1914, and that these are recognised and legalised by law. Six hundred and fifty thousand pounds of money has to be found somewhere, and we will not stand for excessive taxation next year. If the Minister for Finance can show us where reductions are to be made in other Votes we will not press this amendment, but until that is done I do not see any way of dealing with the matter except by resisting every Vote.
Mr. MacCURTAIN: I would like to make a remark about one point that Deputy Wilson has made. As one of those whom he suggests are to be led by the nose or cajoled by the Minister for Justice I ask is it a fact that when these young men entered the Gárdaí Síochána they did so under a contract from which it follows they are justly entitled to this increase in pay? Are these the terms of the contract on which they are employed? The conditions of employment of these young men were set forth when they entered the force, and they were led to believe that their emoluments would increase by a certain amount each year. That is one of the inducements held out to enter the force. Does Deputy Wilson  suggest that it is a reasonable proposition for the Minister for Justice to deprive these men of the pay they were led to expect they would receive before they took on the job?
Mr. O'HIGGINS: On that I would like to say a word. Deputy MacCurtain is right. There is a reasonable expectation, though there is no express contract. It would be open, apart from the wisdom of it, to the Government to make this reduction that Deputy Wilson has suggested and it would not lie in the mouth of a Gárdai or an officer of the Gárdaí to say that we had in some way broken a contract with him. He comes into the Gárdaí and he has, of course, expectations that the pay will remain and that increments will be paid and so on, but it is not quite as specific as that. It is not a binding contract.
Risteárd Mac Liam.
Patrick J. Mulvanny.
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Major COOPER: I move amendment 4—that sub-head E be reduced by £3,000. I congratulate the Minister on his reduction in the Vote for clothing as compared with the Estimate for the R.I.C., but I want him not to grow weary of well-doing. I want him to reduce his own Estimates as well. This particular item is £3,000 higher than last year. The Minister has explained that that is because of the triennial renewal of the tunics of the D.M.P. I think it is rather an unscientific system that all the tunics of the D.M.P. should have to be renewed every three years, instead of being carried on from year to year. But I want to suggest to the Minister that there are fields for economy, especially in the case of the Metropolitan Division of the Gárda, even if he has to renew these tunics. The cost of the London Metropolitan Police, per head, for clothing is £8 15s. 4d. It is impossible to work out the figure for the Metropolitan Division of the Gárda because renewals are carried over many intervals, but the cost of clothing for the Gárda as a whole is £7 10s. 0d. per head. The scale of clothing in the country is very much lower than in the Metropolitan Division, and I do not think it is unfair to say that the cost of the Metropolitan Division for clothing per head is at least £10 per year. I want to put up definite, specific economies to the Minister. The Metropolitan Division get two dress tunics every year. These dress tunics are expensive. They cost twice as much as a serge frock. I would suggest that one dress tunic and two serge frocks would suffice, and the serge frocks might be worn on normal duty in the centre of the city.
Major COOPER: It would save the cost of one dress tunic, or £2 for every member of the Metropolitan Division in every three years. Then, again, I find that the provision of great-coats for the Metropolitan Division is considerably in excess of the supply of great-coats for the Gárdaí in the country districts. The Gárda in the country gets one great-coat and one waterproof coat. The Gárda in the Metropolitan Division gets two great-coats, one waterproof and one cloth cape. There is just as much rain in Listowel and Westport as there is in Dublin. If the Gárda in Westport or Listowel can do with one waterproof and one great-coat, what justification is there for giving two great-coats, one waterproof and one cloth cape to the Gárda in Dublin? I think if the Minister would revise the scale, he would find that it could be reduced.
I would suggest to him that he should abolish the cloth capes. A cloth cape is an expensive garment. It costs  29/6. It does not protect a man from the rain. It only protects his shoulders and its advantage is that it is good to run in. It does not impede a man when he is running. But, in all my experience, I have never seen a man of the D.M.P. or of the Metropolitan Division of the Gárda running either after a criminal or away from him. I would suggest to the Minister that a revision of the scale of clothing of the Metropolitan Division is overdue, and that he should get his Estimates down to the level of previous years by such revision, instead of increasing them by the sum of £3,000, as he has done this year.
Mr. O'DOHERTY: I am inclined to agree with the general idea put forward by Deputy Cooper, but I am not altogether convinced by the figures he has quoted us. I am not sure that the savings he estimates would work out.
Mr. O'DOHERTY: So far as the D.M.P. are concerned, whatever assistance they can get in the matter of clothing, they deserve, as Deputies, with experience of travelling through Dublin, will admit. Deputy Cooper's objection was mainly to the cape. How the Dublin Metropolitan traffic man could carry on without the cape it would be difficult to say.
Mr. O'DOHERTY: The waterproof coat is too heavy. It is too warm. In the cape there is a certain amount of protection and the policeman can take it off, if he be so inclined. That cannot be done with the waterproof coat so conveniently. On the whole, I am inclined to agree with Deputy Cooper, that the Minister might look into the question, but I do not agree fully with all the Deputy's conclusions.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: I explained the increase in this Vote by stating that the triennial issue of tunics falls due to be made in the Metropolitan Division this year. I went on to say that when I was going into this question of equipment first the disparity between the  initial equipment cost of the member of the Metropolitan Division and the cost of the member of the Gárda outside Dublin struck me as a very considerable one indeed. On inquiry, I found that that was really an accidental difference that had grown up by the fact of having two forces for some time prior to the Act under which amalgamation was brought about, which difference has survived up to the present. Taking a longer period— a nine year period—there is, in fact, little difference, if any, in the cost.
It works out this way: A Guard outside the Metropolitan Division receives in nine years ten frocks, sixteen trousers, three breeches and three great-coats. A Dublin Metropolitan Guard receives over that period eight tunics and frocks, as against ten in the other case. He receives the same in the matter of trousers, and he receives four great-coats, one more than the outside Guard. The R.I.C. used to receive in the nine years' period sixteen frocks, twenty trousers and four great-coats. So that both the Dublin Division Guard and the Guard outside Dublin are substantially below these figures in the matter of frocks and tunics—ten and eight as against sixteen, in trousers sixteen in each case, as against twenty in the R.I.C., and great-coats, four Dublin Metropolitan Division and three outside the Dublin Metropolitan Division to four R.I.C., over the nine years' period. The periods of re-issue vary a little, and that is due to an inheritance. When we amalgamated the Dublin Metropolitan Police with the Gárda Síochána we gave tenure in the Metropolitan area to existing members of the D.M.P., and in some other respects, too, we have had to continue the Metropolitan Division as a self-contained Division of the Gárda Síochána, with some of the differences which prevailed prior to amalgamation between the members of that Division and the members of the force throughout the country. Disparities of this kind will disappear in time.
Taking the sub-head as a whole, the differences are rather apparent than real. But under this sub-head we are not in an apologetic mood. I showed that we are doing to-day for £3 10s. per  head per annum what was done in 1914 for £3 17s. per head per annum, and I think that that is rather an accomplishment when you consider the difference in the value of money. It is just a question whether that can be continued. I think that we are fortunate to have it so low, and I think we will be very fortunate if we are able to keep it so low. I could not, of course, at all contemplate a further reduction of that sub-head. That, in my opinion, is the bone. You could not get it any lower than that, and it is a feat to have got it so low.
There is just this point about the difference in the initial cost between the Metropolitan Division and the outside men, and that is an inheritance. I think that in time, in this respect and in certain others, uniformity will come, but when we were dealing with a body of men such as the D.M.P., with their own esprit de crops, their feeling of separateness from the other police, and when we were approaching the delicate matter of amalgamation, it was a matter of going slow and meeting as many objections, reasonable or unreasonable, as could well be met. Just as we guaranteed tenure to the existing D.M.P. men, so in other respects we have not interfered with the kind of stereotyped, vested rights that were in existence. These anomalies and disparities will tend to disappear, and I think in due passage of time the idea of a self-contained division within the Guards will disappear too, because, of course, recruiting now is to a single force, and a man is liable to be sent anywhere we wish to send him, the tenure idea applying only to the men who were in the D.M.P. at the date of amalgamation. The difference, taken over the long period, is a small matter and I do not think that equipment could be regarded as excessive in either case. There is, just on account of that accidental circumstance of a re-issue falling due this year, an increase in the Vote because of the re-issue for the Metropolitan Division.
Major COOPER: Therefore I must continue to pick the bone. The Minister has not shown that the cape is in any way necessary to the efficiency of the Metropolitan Division. He has merely based his plea for it on the survival of old traditions. I have worn a cape on duty in my time, but I never attached any passionate interest to it as an old tradition. I do not think that Deputy O'Doherty's point that it gives more protection from rain than a raincoat and is less warm, is a very substantial one. Again, the Minister has not replied to the point I put up that the Metropolitan Division should have frocks, which cost 30/-, rather than tunics, which cost £2. I would say that one dress tunic for State occasions is quite enough for the Metropolitan Division. For occasions such as lining the streets or assisting at some ceremony it is very desirable that they should have tunics, but otherwise their duty would be done with greater ease in a frock, and that would mean a considerable saving. I want to call attention to the Minister's statement that this Estimate has increased from last year and is likely to increase. The Minister said that it was likely to increase rather than to be further reduced, and that he had cut it down to the bone. I suggest to the Dáil that we ought to check increases in Estimates by every means in our power. We have been told that there is to be no committee of inquiry, no Geddes committee, but that the Dáil is the place to check these things. We are trying to check them in the Dáil. It will waste a certain amount of time, undoubtedly.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: May I say that it is the per head Estimate that I regard as being down definitely as low as it could be down. The other Estimates will vary. This year, because it happens to be the re-issue year of the Dublin Metropolitan Division, it is up. I do not anticipate that it will be up next  year; it is quite as likely to be down. I said the rates in matters of contracts and so on, were about as close as we could get them.
Major COOPER: I withdraw, and I hope that my withdrawal will be taken note of by the Press. The reduction of the Estimate by 10/- per head is in a great part due to the fact that the helmet has been abolished in rural areas. The helmet, when new, cost about 12/6. That is not the entire factor, because prices are different. I could not discuss a per head equipment unless I had the cost not merely of the whole equipment but of the individual articles of equipment of the Dublin Metropolitan Division. Again, I congratulate the Minister on that reduction, but I want to go into the matter to see whether further reduction cannot be made. The Minister has told the Dáil that he is considering the equipment of the Dublin Metropolitan Division. I suggest the best way to get effective consideration, and consideration within a reasonable period of time, is to vote the money for equipment that the Minister got last year, and then if, after a detailed examination of the other costs of equipment, he finds he cannot carry on, let him come back to us and ask for a supplementary estimate. There was, in the last year we have any knowledge of, an over-estimate of £11,000 on the Gárda Síochána. That is for the year 1924-25. The margin of that over-estimate would cover the £3,000 by which I seek to reduce this Vote. If we are to exercise rigid and careful financial control, I suggest that we do not grant more than we did last year. If the Minister has really to get more let him bring in a supplementary Vote and justify it. I think Ministers are too frightened of supplementary estimates. I think over-estimation is tending to become a habit and, therefore, I urge the Dáil to support my amendment.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: I have not very much to add. Naturally we would desire  to work towards uniformity in the matter of equipment as in the matter of many other things pertaining to the force, and we will try to secure that. I am not a tremendous partisan of the cape. The question whether that distinction might disappear is something that could be looked into. I do not know whether there is any strong feeling about it in the Dublin Metropolitan Division, but it is something that could be considered. I think there is not very much in the Deputy's point, about the helmet accounting for the difference between the £3 10s. and the £3 17s. The helmet, no doubt, was fairly costly at the start. It was a matter of 12/6 or so, but the helmet lasted a man his time in the force and over a period its cost would not amount to anything considerable. On the grounds of over-estimation, I would like to point out that for 1924-5 the estimate for clothing was £28,050, of which £27,613 5s. 9d. was expended. There was a saving of £436 14s. 3d., so that we did not go too wide of the mark in our Estimate in that particular year, although it was one of the early years of the force, and over-estimation or even under-estimation might have been excusable on grounds of lack of experience.
Mr. JOHNSON: In regard to sub-head N, could the Minister tell us, as the Estimate for telephones shows a considerable increase, whether it is an estimate for additional equipment services rather than for the number of messages? I draw attention to it for the purpose of eliciting information and to satisfy, perhaps, some curiosity.
Mr. O'HIGGINS: I said I think, in speaking to the Estimate, that this was an increase and that I hoped that that particular Vote would continue to increase, because what it means is that more stations are being linked up. The Post Office, while it has really served us quite well in the last couple of years and is meeting our requirements quite rapidly, has still a long way to go before there will be what I consider adequate communication between a given station and its divisional headquarters.
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