Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Defence Forces Personnel.

17.

asked the Minister for Defence the number serving in (1) Army; (2) Naval Service; (3) Air Corps, and (4) FCA on 1 March 1973, 1977 and 1979.

As the reply is in the form of a tabular statement, I propose, with the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, to circulate it in the Official Report.

Statement

Strengths of (1) Army (2) Naval Service (3) Air Corps (4) Fórsa Cosanta Aitiúil on dates shown.

(1)

(2)

(3)

(4)

Date

Army

Naval Service

Air Corps

FCA

28 February 1973

9,714

407

514

16,315

28 February 1977

13,390

576

718

16,765

28 February 1979

12,230

652

687

17,870

Strength returns of the Permanent Defence Force are compiled for the last day of each month.

As there are only nine or ten figures involved it should be possible for the Minister to give the answer now.

The Minister is entitled to have a tabular statement-reply circulated with the Official Report.

And it is not the practice for Deputies to ask what is contained in a tabular statement.

This is the second time today that the Minister has refused to answer a question. In these circumstances, what is the point of his being here?

The Deputy is surely being facetious.