asked the Minister for Defence whether he considers that when the Army purchases supplies without opening an account, they are entitled to preferential prices; and, whether in view of the numerous complaints that have been made by motor agents throughout the country, he will have directions issued that ordinary retail purchases on the part of the Army are to be paid for at ordinary retail prices?

Mr. HOGAN (for Minister for Defence)

Purchases by the State are ordinarily made under the system of competitive tender. In emergencies, such as have existed, that system had necessarily to be departed from and purchases had to be made direct. In such cases the prices to be paid are carefully assessed on rates prevailing for similar goods at the time in the area, due regard being paid to the interests both of the State and the trader. In the circumstances no directions of the nature referred to in the second part of the question can be given.