asked the Minister for Defence why he declined to give the information requested in Parliamentary Question No. 172 of 26 March 1980 regarding equipment and weapons ordered for the Defence Forces in view of the report (details supplied) of 15 December 1978; if he will now give the information; and if he will indicate the source of the information of the article on which the report was based.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Defence Forces Equipment.
Security considerations determine the extent and kind of information which can be given in relation to defensive equipment. In the case of the Deputy's Question No. 172 of 26 March 1980, the interests of security required that particulars of the nature requested should not be divulged. Quite an amount of information regarding defensive equipment has since been furnished to the Deputy in reply to questions put down by him. If further information is required, perhaps the Deputy will submit a specific inquiry.
In regard to the press article of 15 December 1978 referred to by the Deputy, the report on which the article was based was quoted and I am not aware of the source of the information regarding defensive equipment in that report.
Has the Minister studied the report which states that all our defence secrets can be bought in London for £3? I accept the need for confidentiality, but has the Minister examined the source of the report and is he satisfied it is inaccurate and without foundation?
I do not wish to go into it further.
This is a serious matter. I accept that these matters must be kept secret, but is it true that you can have all this information in London for £3. Yet when I ask questions here I am told I cannot have the information because it is confidential. Has the Minister fully investigated the document I supplied with my question? Has he fully investigated the substance of that document, has he examined the source and is he satisfied there is no foundation for it?
I do not wish to go any further than the answer I have given.
Can I get a "yes" or a "no"? Has the source of the document been examined?
It has been examined and I do not want to go any further into it.
Is there or is there not any substance to it?
I have answered the question.