Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Armoured Vehicles.

164.

asked the Minister for Defence whether it is proposed to increase the strength of the armoured sections of the Defence Forces; and, if so, the estimated increase in the number of armoured vehicles; the types of vehicles involved, giving separate figures in respect of armoured cars, trucks and armoured personnel carriers respectively; when he intends to purchase such vehicles; and from what countries.

It would not be in the interests of security to disclose the information sought by the Deputy.

What does the Minister propose to do about the situation? Time and again we have drawn attention to the fact that the Army are not equipped to do their job. I think the Minister has a responsibility to tell the elected representatives what he proposes to do and when. He knows that if you decide to buy material now you must wait a year for delivery.

We are more efficient than that. We shall get some of our requirements very shortly. We have taken our responsibility seriously and we are conscious of the need to provide transport and weapons of various kinds. We have taken the measures necessary to procure them within a very short time.

Would it be possible to give the House the total amount of money involved?

It would be unsatisfactory to give it in a bulk amount.

It is a separate question. The question only deals with numbers and the amount of money does not arise.

It is a matter of national importance.

We are getting good value for our money.

Surely the Minister does not consider it a risk to security to make a statement on the number of armoured cars we are going to buy and the amount of money we are going to spend on them. In fact it would help the security of the State if the strength of the Army were to be increased and people knew it.

It would be entirely contrary to practice to make disclosures of this kind.

We were told about the minesweepers; why not about this?

That is a different matter.