To ask the Minister for Defence why Joseph Guilfoyle, Patrick Guilfoyle, Patrick O'Reilly, Joseph Rourke, all of Kilbeggan, Westmeath, were arrested and sent to Templemore detention camp; whether those men, amongst others, were doing volunteer duty, in safeguarding the property of the people of Kilbeggan, up to the time of their arrest on the 12th January. Further, to ask, if subsequent to their arrest the bank and four shops in Kilbeggan were robbed by armed raiders, and if he will order their immediate release, as the men and their parents are supporters of the Government.

The men in question were arrested on the charge of robbery under arms and threatening people on the night of the 4th January. They were not officially on Volunteer duty. Shops have been raided several times since their arrest. It is not proposed to release them.

May I ask a supplementary question, or, rather, may I make an appeal to the Minister for Defence?

An appeal cannot be made in the form of a supplementary question.

Well, then, may I ask the Minister for Defence to reconsider this matter with a view to having the men released.

The men were arrested on a charge of robbery under arms. It is not proposed to release them. I am not in a position to say when they are likely to be charged.

It is a wrong charge.