Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Defence Forces' Clothing Contracts.

asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if, in relation to tenders for the supply of clothing [details supplied] for the Defence Forces and his Department which were submitted by the Limerick Clothing Factory, he will state (a) to whom the contracts for the clothing in question were awarded, (b) the details of the contracts, (c) the price in each case, and (d) if he is satisfied that trade union rates of wages are paid to workers in the concerns which obtained the contracts.

Orders for the items referred to, with the exception of one item the requirement of which was cancelled, were arranged with the following firms:— John Ireland and Son Ltd., Dublin; McGonnell Bros., Ltd., Dublin; Callanan and Co., Ltd., Dublin. I have no reason to believe that the firms which secured the orders are not complying with the terms of the Fair Wages Clause which is incorporated in the contracts.

It would be contrary to established practice to disclose details of contracts or contract prices.

Would the Minister not agree that the prices of these Government contracts have been disclosed in the past, and would he not further agree that it would be in the interest of the firm concerned to know by how much they were beaten?

That view is not shared by the Department. Neither has it been shared in the past because it has not been the practice to disclose these prices.

Would the Minister agree now that in all justice it would be only fair to furnish the price to this firm?

I do not see any reason to depart from what has been the practice for years.