Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers (Resumed). - Army Border Patrols.

169.

asked the Minister for Defence the total mileage of Border roads covered by the national Army stationed at Tannaghouse, Cootehill, County Cavan, in (a) Clones Garda district and (b) Monaghan Garda district.

Army units stationed in Border posts do not patrol or keep records according to Garda districts. In any case, for security reasons, the information requested by the Deputy could not be furnished.

I do not see any danger to security in asking the mileage of the Border covered in the Clones Garda district and the Monaghan Garda district. If one were to make a telephone call to either of the Garda district offices one could be given this information. I do not think this involves any secrecy.

In the first place the military do not keep such records. In the second place I cannot see any point in the question.

170.

asked the Minister for Defence the distance from the Army base at Tannaghouse, Cootehill, County Cavan, to (a) Munnilly bridge, (b) the Border at Scotstown and (c) the Border at Moybridge.

The distances by road are:-

(a) ten miles approximately,

(b) 23 miles approximately. The distance in this case is from Cootehill via Scotstown to the nearest point on the Border, as Scotstown is not on the Border,

(c) 27 miles approximately.

I want to ask the Minister to consider seriously establishing even a small unit of the Army in the Clones and Monaghan Garda districts because, if we were to have a similar occurrence to the one on Thursday of last week, the local people might take up the fight on behalf of the Garda with the British forces before the Army would have time to arrive. In one instance they are 27 miles from a critical point on the Border. Members of the Garda will be forced to take cover between groups of armed men. This has already happened along the Border at Culloville. In the interests of protecting the Garda who deserve our compliments the Minister should consider establishing a small unit in each area. I am not saying that accommodation——

We cannot discuss this.

This is very important.

Might I point out to Deputy Fox that he cannot abuse the privileges of the House in this way? Speeches are not allowed at Question Time.

I am not abusing the privileges of the House.

If the Deputy wishes to put a question he is entitled to do so.

I am asking the Minister to consider seriously establishing a unit in each of those areas to protect the gardaí and to assist them.

If the Minister were going to do that he would hardly tell the British army.

171.

asked the Minister for Defence if he will consider establishing additional Army bases convenient to the Border in (a) the Clones Garda area and (b) the Monaghan Garda area.

The disposition of troops in Border areas is determined by the exigencies of the service from time to time.