§ SIR JOHN COLOMB (Great Yarmouth)
To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, whether he can state by what method the reduction of the Royal Irish Constabulary is to be carried out, whether in anticipation of the Land Purchase (Ireland) Bill becoming law, or after it has received the Royal Assent; and if the latter course is to be pursued, whether the reduction will be effected in globo and immediately on the passing of the Bill, or by a gradual process; and if by degrees, whether the reductions will be regulated by reference to, and pari passu with, the extent of transactions of land purchase.
(Answered by Mr. Wyndham.) Reduction in the strength of the force will be effected mainly by the cessation of recruiting. The reduction now being carried out arises from the improvement which has manifested itself in the condition of the country, and which is largely due, no doubt, to the introduction of the Land Bill. It will continue to be effected by gradual process extending over a period of years. Broadly speaking the reductions will proceed pari passu with the development of land purchase, but they will not necessarily be regulated by the latter consideration.