[ WRITTEN ANSWERS. ] - CATTLE SEIZED IN CO. WESTMEATH.

asked the Minister for Defence whether he is aware that cattle, the property of Messrs. Joseph Keegan, Derrymore, John Fagan, Ballinagore, Toarlismore, Kilbeggan, and Joseph Gormly, Glengorm, Kilbeggan, were seized from the lands of Mr. Crosbie, Glengorm, Kilbeggan, by National Forces, that the said land was rented by him to the above-mentioned gentlemen; whether the Minister has received claims in respect of these cattle, amounting to £20 from Mr. Joseph Keegan, £40 from Mr. John Fagan, and £15 from Mr. Joseph Gormly; and, further, whether it is his intention to compensate these men, or, alternatively, to return the cattle.

The cattle referred to in the question were seized by troops as they were trespassing on lands which had been taken possession of illegally last August by Mr. Crosbie and his brother, who retained possession of the lands until 12th instant, when they were cleared of trespassing stock by the Military Authorities. There can be no doubt but that Messrs. Keegan, Fagan and Gormly were aware that they could acquire no legal grazing rights on the lands in question from Mr. Crosbie, and that they were grazing the land illegally. I have received claims in respect of the cattle from the above-mentioned gentlemen.

The seized stock have been sold, and the proceeds of the sale have been retained by the Military Authorities pending a decision by the Dáil on the general question.