CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. - MOTORS COMMANDEERED.

To ask the Minister for Defence if he is aware that Messrs. A.J. and L.P. Gilmarten, of Rosses Point, Sligo, have had their charabanc requisitioned for the transport of troops many times between last May and the present date; that it was on each occasion returned in a damaged condition; that it is now, and has since November 19th, when it was last so requisitioned, been in the use of the Army at some place unknown to its owners; that this charabanc was one of the main sources of livelihood of the proprietors, who are now, as a direct consequence of these circumstances, being dunned by creditors; that the proprietors have on many occasions presented their account for payment, and have asked for the return of the vehicle in question; and that they have not as yet received even the courtesy of an acknowledgment of their communications. And to ask, further, if the Minister will direct that this matter be given immediate attention, the charabanc returned, if possible, and the bill for hire and compensation paid without further delay?

I am informed that the charabanc was requisitioned as stated, but at the moment I do not know what its condition was or is at present. It is now at Westport, and arrangements are being made for its return to Messrs. Gilmarten. Communications from that firm have not, it appears, been received at Headquarters in Dublin. The account will, however, receive urgent attention. With regard to the general matter of payment in respect of motors, that matter was before the Treasury, and it was definitely settled during the past week, and a Claims Arrangement Committee has been actually set up this week to deal with these claims, and we are going to clear them off pretty quickly.

DOMHNALL O MOCHAIN

To ask the Minister for Defence if the Government has taken any steps to compensate those parties whose motor cars were commandeered for military purposes by the Irish forces prior to the Truce of July 11th, 1921; and, if not, what procedure it is proposed to adopt for the purpose of investigating such claims, and if the Government holds out any prospect that such parties will be compensated within a reasonable period for the loss they have sustained in this manner, because, as such a long time has now elapsed since the period referred to, the parties involved are naturally anxious for some definite information and assurance from the Government that their claims will be promptly investigated, and the payment of awards made without undue delay.

It is not the intention of the Government to make any provision for compensating parties whose motor cars were used for military purposes by Irish Forces prior to the Truce of July 11th, 1921. In the struggle to deliver this country from British occupation the principle was adopted, for the economical prosecution of the struggle, that just as each area of the country should provide its quota of men to carry on the work of resistance there, it should provide the material means for supporting those men and helping them to carry on the struggle according to the particular conditions and needs of each area. The population generally supported and financed the soldiers in many ways—feeding them, furnishing them with housing accommodation, and in many cases clothing them. The occasional use of motor cars must be regarded as among those other services provided for the soldiers by the population generally, and not unwillingly.