CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. - MOTORS COMMANDEERED (CLAIMS FOR COMPENSATION).

SEAN O'LAIDHIN

To ask the Minister for Defence whether he is aware that National troops commandeered two motor cars, the property of Mr. John Grenham, Connaught Street, Athlone, on 12th July, 1922, whether one car was returned in a damaged condition on 1st September, 1922, and if the authorities have received a bill for repairs of same. Further, whether another car was taken by National troops on November 9th, 1922, and whether this car is now lying useless in Custume Barracks, Athlone. Further, whether and when it is the intention of the Minister to compensate Mr. Grenham for loss sustained, to the extent of£1,486 12s., from 12th July, 1922, to 1st January, 1923.

Two Ford cars were commandeered on the 12th July. A bill for the repairs to car returned on the 1st September has been received. It appears that the car commandeered on or about the 9th November is lying in Custume Barracks, Athlone. I am making inquiries into its condition. The whole question of compensation in respect of commandeering of motor cars is at present under discussion with the Ministry of Finance.

Is the Minister aware that this particular man, Brennan, has lost his trade through the commandeering of these cars? There were three of his cars commandeered, and he has lost practically all his trade in consequence. These customers that used to hire his cars for the purpose of driving them to different places in the country have had, of course, to engage other cars, and this man now claims the sum of £1,486 12s., which is the total amount he has lost, and I would ask the Minister to consider the necessity of paying this amount at the earliest possible moment.

That is a matter for the Ministry of Finance.

SEAN O LAIDHIN

To ask the Minister for Defence if he has received a claim for compensation from Michael Dillon Conroy, Abbey Street, Roscommon, in respect of a Ford motor car, commandeered by National troops last July, and returned in October with all the removable parts missing, and the car rendered useless; and if so will he see that this claimant is compensated for his loss. Whether the same claimant has been compelled to continue supplying the National Forces in Roscommon with motor cars and parts, and has received no payment for these supplies since 1921, notwithstanding that the account for same has been furnished on numerous occasions, and as Mr. Dillon Conroy is in consequence in a bad way financially, will he see that his claim receives immediate attention.

I have not yet been able to trace a claim in respect of damage to a Ford car alleged to have been commandeered, but I have received a claim from Mr. Conroy for hirage and for repairs and parts supplied. That claim is receiving urgent attention.

May I ask the Minister for Defence whether he is aware that Mr. Conroy, of Roscommon, has had to sell the remainder of his cars in order to meet his debts while he is still owed a huge sum of money by the Army?

I am not aware of these facts.

I will give the Minister the particulars, and will he make enquiries?

I wish you would.

SEAN O LAIDHIN

To ask the Minister for Defence whether he is aware that Mrs. Walshe, Connaught Street, Athlone, has lodged a compensation claim for a motor lorry commandeered by the National troops; further, is he aware that this car is at present lying in Poole's Garage, Athlone; and as Mrs. Walshe was depending on this lorry for a livelihood, will he see that the lorry is repaired and returned to the owner immediately.

I have received the claim. The lorry was returned to Mrs. Walshe on August 23rd, and is, I understand, now in Poole's garage. The question of compensating Mrs. Walshe for any damage done to the lorry is receiving attention.

To ask the Minister for Defence whether he is aware that recently, in different places in Cork County, private motor cars, lorries, and taxis have been destroyed by the Irregular forces operating against the Government, the reasons advanced by those people for such wanton destruction being that National troops were using private cars. Whether the Minister is also aware that, as a result of this destruction of motor vehicles, the whole Motor Trade Association of Cork City and County is absolutely breaking to pieces, and a large number of men are, as a result, being disemployed. Whether the Minister will refute this statement of the Irregulars, and otherwise, as far as possible, afford protection to the motor trade.

I am aware that the Irregulars in Cork County have issued notices prohibiting motor traffic, and have destroyed private cars found in use. It may have been necessary for our troops to commandeer private cars from time to time. The general point raised by the question has been under consideration.