asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether any firms outside Great Britain were invited to tender for the execution of repairs to the ss. "Helga," and, if not, whether there was any reason for restricting tenders to these two countries; and whether, in all future contracts, if it is decided not to confine tenders within Saorstát Eireann, he will invite tenders from other countries besides Great Britain and Ireland.

(replying forMinister for Industry and Commerce): The invitation of tenders for the execution of repairs to the ss. “Helga” was confined to recognised firms within the Saorstát and Great Britain in view of the fact that the overhaul of the vessel was many months overdue. There is no intention to confine future contracts to Great Britain and Ireland, but it must be borne in mind that in matters affecting shipping a considerable expenditure of time and money is involved in despatching vessels to shipyards outside these islands.