CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - COMMANDEERED CARS.

asked the Minister for Defence whether he is aware that responsible officers under Captain Callaghan commandeered from Mrs. Sarah M. Donlon, Longford, on the 7th August, 1922, her five motor cars and returned same through Captain D. Molloy, Transport Officer, on the 13th August, 1922, seriously damaged and injured, whether Mrs. Donlon's account for damage and injury to the cars, particulars of which have been supplied, together with an account for motors supplied to the Army in the months of September and October, 1922, and in the months of April and May, 1923, amounting to £507 2s. 0d., have not been paid, whether repeated applications with particulars have been supplied, and why payment of this account has been so long delayed.

The five cars in question were not commandeered for military use. They were taken on the 7th August, 1922, because they were being used by claimant's son to carry arms and ammunition for Irregulars. Her son was arrested on the same day. The cars were returned to her on the 13th August, 1922. While in military custody they were used only when no other transport was available, and were properly cared for. When handed back they are stated to have been in as good a condition as when taken. Claimant was requested to send a mechanic to the Barracks to have the cars examined before being returned, but she refused to do so.

A claim for £460 16s. 0d. for alleged damage to the cars while in military custody, has been furnished, and is at present under investigation. Hirage accounts amounting to £33 18s. 0d. for September and October, 1922, and April and May, 1923, have been received. Their settlement has been unduly delayed, but is receiving attention at present.

Arising out of the Minister's answers, I desire to ask what importance he would attach to that paragraph in the answer in which it is mentioned that the cars, when handed back, "were stated to have been in as good a condition as when taken"— how much reliance does the Minister place upon that?

The statement is made on the authority of our responsible officer.

Well, we know in what condition the cars are when they are handed back. We know the state they are in.