asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the Government will take steps to embody in an Act of Parliament, to be passed this Session, the various pledges they have given guaranteeing the pensions and compensation payable to public servants in Ireland who may retire or be discharged from their offices?
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what are the conditions under which the persons referred to in Article 10 of the Irish Treaty can retire, or are liable to be dischaged by the Irish Free State Government; and whether the British Government will guarantee the salaries and pensions of existing civil servants who elect to serve under the Irish Free State Government, and in so doing have regard to Sections 55 and 56 of the Government of Ireland Act, 1920?
The conditions under which the persons referred to in Article 10 of the Treaty can retire or be discharged by the Free State Government is a matter proper to be dealt with in the Free State constitution or in the Act confirming that constitution, and I cannot anticipate what those provisions will be. The compensation which they will be entitled to receive in the event of dismissal or of retirement in consequence of the change of Government will, as the hon. and learned Member is aware, be not less favourable than that accorded in like circumstances by the Act of 1920. In reply to the last part of the question, I can add nothing to the assurance given by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House on 19th December last.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that he told me, in reply to a previous question on the same subject, that the very points on which I am inquiring were under discussion between His Majesty's Government and the Provisional Government, and are we to understand that these civil servants are to be left to the tender mercies of the Free State Government?
This is a very important matter. Will the right hon. Gentleman answer the first part, whether the conditions of their retirement or discharge will not be dealt with by His Majesty's Government in some way in view of the fact that these questions are not dealt with under the Act?
I have done my best to answer the question. I regret the answer is unsatisfactory to the hon. Baronet, but it is an answer, I think, that adequately protects these officials, whose service no one appreciates more than I do, and whose interests he has so often championed.