I see by the Estimates that the present cost of the Gárda Síochána is a total sum of £1,912,958. I consider this amount is excessive and unjustifiable. The number of officers and men and women police is 7,213. This figure is out of all proportion to the needs and requirements of this country. In the Estimate for 1918-19 the cost of the R.I.C. for all Ireland, and also the D.M.P. force, was £1,200,339. The number of officers and men for the thirty-two counties, including 1,254 officers and men of the D.M.P., was 11,121. We have, therefore, a comparison between 1918-19 and the present year. We had then for all Ireland 11,121 officers and men, costing £1,200,339, and now for the Twenty-six Counties we have 7,213 officers, women and men, costing £1,912,958. If we except the Minister for Justice, how many Deputies on the Government benches would not have told us in 1918, and did tell us then, that this country was over-policed? How many Deputies opposite who were then on the Sinn Fein platform were not of the opinion that the force should be reduced? I think every Deputy on the Government benches at that time advocated the reduction of the police force; they told us that this country was over-policed. People were told to vote Sinn Fein and the minute Sinn Fein would get into power the police force would be reduced. They said then that they did not require 11,121 officers and men, costing the country £1,200,339. Have these promises been carried out? Has the police force been reduced, have the expenses been reduced, and are the people able to pay for the present cost of these forces? I submit that that has not been done and there is no effort being made by the Government Party to do it.
We will be told from the opposite benches that a big police force like the Civic Guards is a necessity in this country. It is, of course, a necessity, a necessity to give the hangers-on of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party jobs—to provide jobs for them. That is the only necessity I see. In this force we have five commissioners, in receipt of £5,300; we have 159 superintendents, receiving £77,003; we have 55 inspectors, receiving £16,693. That is a total of 219 officers, receiving £98,996 in salaries, and they have allowances to the tune of £15,165. That makes a total for officers, combining salaries and allowances, of £114,161. We have 1,287 sergeants receiving £323,228; 5,703 guards and four women police receiving, in all, £1,013,257. That is, the rank and file, numbering 6,994, receive between them £1,336,435 per annum in salaries. We have a further charge for rent and accommodation allowances, amounting to £29,188; boot allowances, £27,425; allowances for casual expenses for officers and men employed on detective duty, £4,000; allowances for members employed on duty in plain clothes—officers and men —£4,415; allowances for men engaged on transport work, £1,008; subsistence allowances payable to officers and men absent on duties from their stations, £4,750; locomotion expenses, £56,500; clothing and equipment, £25,370; furniture, barrack bedding and bedsteads, £1,450; barrack maintenance, £760; transport and carriage, £9,710; fuel, light and water, £18,050; law expenses, £384; medical expenses, £7,840; telegrams and telephones, £14,600.