Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Defence Forces.

asked the Minister for Defence if he will state when it is proposed to provide long-service medals for members of the Defence Forces.

The terms of a Defence Force regulation to govern the award of service medals to N.C.O.s and men of the Forces have now been approved by the Government and it is hoped to have the regulation promulgated and the manufacture of the medals put in hands at an early date.

Major de Valera

asked the Minister for Defence if he will state the total effective strength of (a) the Defence Forces, Permanent Force (exclusive of chaplains, cadets, members of the Army Nursing Service and personnel of the Reserve undergoing training); (b) the First Line Reserve, and (c) the Second Line Reserve (F.C.A.) on the 31st March, 1951, in each case.

The approximate total effective strength of the Defence Forces on the 31st March, 1951, in the various categories was as follows:—

(a) Defence Forces (Permanent Force)

7,781

(b) Reserve—First Line

5,528

(c) Reserve—Second Line:

F.C.A.

22,597

An Sluagh Muiri

191

Major de Valera

asked the Minister for Defence if he will state (exclusive of chaplains, members of the Army Nursing Service and personnel of the Reserve undergoing courses of annual training) the actual number of (a) regular officers; (b) regular N.C.O.s; (c) regular privates, and (d) cadets serving in the Defence Forces, Permanent Force, on the 31st March, 1951.

The approximate numbers in the different categories were:—

(a) Regular Officers

1,101

(b) Regular N.C.O.s

2,418

(c) Regular Privates

4,262

(d) Cadets

96

Major de Valera

asked the Minister for Defence if he will state (a) the number of persons who presented themselves as recruits for the Defence Forces (Permanent Force) during the calendar year 1950, and (b) the number of such recruits accepted and attested in the same period.

The number of persons who presented themselves as recruits for the Defence Forces (Permanent Force) during the calendar year 1950 was 3,345.

The number accepted and attested during the same period was 1,732.

Major de Valera

asked the Minister for Defence if he will state the number of (a) N.C.O.s, and (b) privates of the Defence Forces (Permanent Force) who failed to reattest on the expiry of their current period of service during the calendar year 1950.

The number of (a) N.C.O.s and (b) privates of the Defence Forces (Permanent Force) who failed to extend their service, or re-engage on the expiry of their current period of service during the calendar year 1950 was (a) N.C.O.s 83, (b) privates 566.

When there is a danger of an immediate war any ex-officer of the Army who asks a question like that in order to give publicity to the world with regard to our Defence Forces does not do it in the interests of his country.

Major de Valera

The Labour Party are very anxious that we should not talk about defence and I wonder why. Is Deputy Larkin anxious that we should not talk about it?

We were in the Defence Forces before you were.

Major de Valera

I do not know why you are so anxious that we should not talk about it.