CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. - SHANNON BRIDGE ROBBERIES.

To ask the Minister for Defence if he is aware that two armed men demanded admission to the Hotel, Shannon Bridge, Offaly, at 2.55 a.m. on 24th December, 1922, stating that they were members of the National Army, and having been allowed inside under threats, held up the proprietor and robbed the premises of £83 in cash, and goods valued at £100; whether National troops (who are stationed in the street about 50 yards from hotel door) were actually outside for a period of 45 minutes, if a military enquiry has been demanded and held, and if so, with what result; whether he is aware that numerous robberies have taken place in this area during the past two months, and seeing that the National Army now serving in this area (nearly all local men) have failed to take any effective measures to trace or deal with the culprits, if he will state what steps he proposes to take for the protection of the innocent and inoffensive section of citizens in the area.

It appears that two armed Irregulars demanded admission to the Hotel, Shannon Bridge, at the time and on the date mentioned, and that they took goods to the value of £103 and £82 in cash. A sworn inquiry into this matter has been held, but full particulars are not yet available.

There is a post of 18 troops—none of whom are local men—stationed in Shannon Bridge, about 130 yards from the hotel door. There were no National troops outside the hotel during the raid.

Numerous robberies by Irregulars have taken place in the district, but all steps possible under the present circumstances are taken to safeguard the interests of the civilian population of the district.