asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether he is aware that the Minister for Finance of the Irish Free State has refused to grant the pensions of £30 per year claimed by the widows of ex-Sergeant Patrick Cummins and ex-Constable Jeremiah Brosnan, both of the Dublin Metropolitan Police; and whether he will inquire into these two cases in view of the joint obligations under the agreement of this country and the Irish Free State?
Mr. J. H. THOMAS:
I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply which I gave to him on this subject on the 6th of May last. The inquiries to which I then referred are not yet complete, but I hope to be in a position shortly to communicate the results to the hon. and gallant Member.
It is not a simple matter. The amount may appear small, but the hon. and gallant Gentleman knows perfectly well that the question of principle as to who is liable is involved, and that is not so simple as would appear at first sight.
Is it not clear from the Debates on the Irish Treaty that the Free State Government took full responsibility for pensions for these people, and, if the Free State Government denies its responsibility, is not this Government responsible?
An answer to that question cannot be given across the Floor of the House. The hon. and gallant Gentleman knows perfectly well that that is a very debatable subject as between the two Governments.