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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 29 Jun 1920

Vol. F No. 15


The MINISTER FOR DEFENCE, in the course of an oral report, said that as a result of the work of the Defence Department, and owing to the efficiency of Headquarters Staff, the enemy in spite of thousands of troops, guns, aeroplanes, and all the modern equipment which they were sending into the country, had got the worst of the argument since the last meeting of the Dáil.
The enemy's new tactics were designed to provoke the Army of the Republic to come out into the open and meet them on their terms. His Department intended to use its own methods. In most parts of the country the so-called enemy police force had been driven out or confined to certain strongholds with the result that British law did not exist in those places. Consequently the Department of Defence had now to do work which it should not have to do, namely, to perform police duties, capture criminals, and put down crime and offences and so forth. That class of work was being done successfully and would be done so long as was necessary.
The Substitute Minister for Home Affairs was however anxious to take it over as he meant to draw up a Criminal Code. In connection with all this work the hearty co-operation of the Teachtai, particularly in districts in which there had been local land trouble, was essential.
The Department of Defence would provide such protection and assistance as was necessary to enforce decisions come to by the Courts set up by the Dail. It was hoped however that this portion of the work of the Volunteers would be made as light as possible, so as not to take up the time which must be devoted to their military duties.