CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. - OCCUPATION OF DURROW CASTLE.

To ask the Minister for Defence if he is aware that Durrow Castle, Durrow, Leix, was commandeered and occupied by National troops from May until August, 1922, and that during the period of occupation considerable damage was caused to valuable furniture (which it had been arranged to dispose of by public auction), and other property, resulting in a considerable loss to the owners (Maher Bros.); whether the military evacuated the premises without handing over possession, and have refused to accede to the request of the owners to send down a representative to take an inventory of the damage and missing articles, if he can arrange to have the request of the owners carried out without delay, thereby enabling them to dispose of their property and save any further and unnecessary liabilities against the State.

The premises were occupied by troops about the period mentioned, but no definite information is available as to the extent of the damage caused by the occupation. A request was received on behalf of the owners that an inventory of the damage to furniture and fittings should be taken, but it was not possible to accede to that request until definite arrangements had been made for dealing with claims of the kind. It has now been arranged that the Office of Public Works shall be responsible for payment of rent in respect of Army premises, and of compensation for damage caused by troops during the occupation, and particulars of this claim are being forwarded to be dealt with by that Department.