Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £1,100,365 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1933, chun Tuarastail agus Costaisí an Ghárda Síochána (Uimh. 7 de 1925).
That a sum not exceeding £1,100,365 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, 1933, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Gárda Síochána (No. 7 of 1925).
As regards this Estimate it will be observed by Deputies that it shows a net increase of £73,939 on that of the previous year. The increase is mainly due to increases under sub-heads A and B and to a decrease in the estimated amount of appropriations-in-aid of the Vote. If the Supplementary Estimate for 1931-32 be taken into account the net increase is £44,759. As regards sub-head A— Salaries, Wages and Pay—I have some figures here relating, as the analogous figures related in the previous Estimate, to slight discrepancies under this sub-head.
Similarly I have some figures as regards sub-head B, and also as regards sub-heads C and D—subsistence allowances, and locomotion expenses. Notwithstanding all that was said to me in regard to the previous Estimate, I still think that even a cursory study of the sub-heads by Deputies interested will reveal to them practically everything that I can tell them in the way of reconciliation of these differences and what would appear to be discrepancies. Similarly in regard to sub-head E—clothing and equipment. I shall have a word to say in regard to that as part of a helpful statement which I propose to make to the House. As regards furniture, barrack bedding and bedsteads, there is an increase of £1,262 in this sub-head, accounted for in a very routine way, namely, by the necessity of providing for the replacing of an increased number of worn blankets, sheets, bedsteads and so on. That possibly will be effected by the observations which I propose to make as regards the impending gradual reduction of the strength of the Civic Guard, and the consequent inevitable decrease in the number of Civic Guard stations. Sub-head H, regarding transport and carriage, and sub-head L, as regards telegrams and telephones, I feel justified in passing over, subject to any observation that I may hear from any Deputy, who speaks on the subject of this Estimate.
The appropriations-in-aid may also be dealt with by me very shortly. As Deputies will see, the estimated amount to be received as appropriations-in-aid of the Vote shows a decrease of £7,194. Though relative to the Vote a small figure, that in itself is a fairly substantial figure, and that is my justification for offering a few words by way of explanation of that decrease in the appropriations-in-aid. The automatic reduction of the police rate in Dublin from twopence to one penny in the £ for the coming year, accounts for a fall in the estimated receipts of approximately £6,500. Deputies are aware that there has been going on for some time a gradual, automatic decrease in the police rate in Dublin. The police rate was originally 8d. in the £. It is reduced each year by one penny in the £ under the provisions of the Police Forces (Amalgamation) Act, 1925. Needless to say, it will disappear after this year. This year we are enjoying the last penny of the rate and it will disappear altogether next year. There are some slight changes owing to the Estimates for the sale of cast-off uniforms and so on not being entirely realised, but they are trivial and may be passed over. What is of substantial importance is this: that the Government hope to effect a saving of over £25,000 on the Estimates, mainly by stopping recruiting. In answer to some of the inquiries made in connection with the last Estimate, I explained that recruiting had been suspended. As I pointed out at the time, the inquiries made by Deputies would, perhaps, have been more relevant to the present Estimate than to the last. However, Deputies did make the inquiries and I answered them. I dealt with this matter of the suspension of recruiting when dealing with the previous Vote and I shall not go over it again, unless, perchance, there was some Deputy interested who was absent when I was concluding the debate on the last Estimate. If there is and if he will mention the matter, I will again deal with this question of the suspension of recruiting.
It is also intended, indeed steps have been taken, to reduce the number of men belonging to the Civic Guard in receipt of special allowances for detective work. These allowances were of a very special character, and we are able to bring them to an end. Really we are able to refrain from reintroducing them, because that is what it comes to, without in any way detracting from the efficiency of the detective branch of the Civic Guard force. The intended changes in that respect would, no doubt, interest many Deputies. What one might refer to as the normal establishment of the detective branch of the Guards is a total of 256. That is the 1930 figure, I think. Treating the 1930 figure as a normal figure for the moment, we have 256. The strength of the detective branch up to a couple of weeks ago was 414. It is found that there is a surplus of at least 158 in the detective branch, and accordingly 158, or approximately that number—all these figures, of course, are liable to slight adjustment when being dealt with by the police authorities—will be placed in uniform. That is not a very great change, because I should say that the vast majority of them, I would not like to say all of them, have already been uniformed Guards. They are merely being returned to the ranks that they formerly filled.
I should say that the economies effected by the reversion of these detective officers to their former positions will roughly amount to between £6,000 and £7,000. That is, of course, quite a substantial amount. All that is being done, as I have already stated, without in any way imperilling the police force that is required for the needs of the country. Probably the number in the detective branch is still too large for the ordinary needs of the country, the ordinary detection of crime, the ordinary duties of detectives. Some Deputies may, perhaps, think that my pace has not been rapid enough. I do not propose, unless some pertinent comment or very pertinent question demands it, to go further into that aspect of it. I am satisfied at the moment on the professional advice at my disposal that 158 members of the detective branch can be put into uniform and used for the ordinary police purposes of the uniformed branch of the Gárda without detriment. What further economies may be possible in the future, and the very near future, I am not at the moment in a position to indicate with any degree of accuracy. I think I have now dealt with everything of any real importance with regard to this Estimate.