Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £1,002,368 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1936, chun costais an Airm agus Chúltaca an Airm (maraon le Deontaisí áirithe i gCabhair) fé sna hAchtanna Fórsaí Cosanta (Forálacha Sealadacha); chun costaisí airithe riaracháin ina thaobh san; agus chun costaisí fén Acht Bunreachta (Leasú Uimh. 17), 1931.
That a sum not exceeding £1,002,368 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1936, for the cost of the Army and the Army Reserve (including certain Grants-in-Aid) under the Defence Forces (Temporary Provisions) Acts; certain administrative expenses in connection therewith and expenses under the Constitution (Amendment No. 17) Act, 1931.
I want, first of all, to draw the attention of the House to an error that appears in page 305 in connection with the Vote. There is an item, Superannuation, etc., Vote No. 16, appearing as £465,000, whereas it should be £465. That will bring down the total from £2,641,280 to £2,176,745.
The Estimates of the Army Vote for the financial year 1935-36 are based on the following establishments:—Regular Army—583 officers, 5,300 other ranks, 16 nurses, 27 cadets and 9 chaplains; Class A Reserve—4,800 other ranks; Class B Reserve—1,000 other ranks; Reserve of Officers—250 officers, and Volunteer Force—22,000 all ranks.
As regards the Regular Army, the number of officers shows an increase of 23, and that of other ranks a decrease of 50 as compared with the number provided for in the Estimate for 1934-35. Of the 23 officers, 16 are cadets who will be eligible for commissions during the financial year, four will be specially recruited for the Army Corps of Engineers, and the remaining three are three of five officers specially commissioned for scientific research in connection with experiments which are being carried out in the Army. The number of other ranks provided for has been reduced by 50, but the total number of 5,300 represents the actual average strength maintained during the year 1934-35.
The reduction in the number of Class A reservists from 5,200 to 4,800 is simply due to the discharge of men whose period of service in the reserve has expired. This factor also explains the reduction of Class B reservists from 2,500 to 1,000, but while the A Reserve will continue to be fed by transfers from the Regular Army, the B Reserve will gradually disappear, because recruiting for it has ceased, and there will not, therefore, be any further transfers to it from the Regular Army.
The Volunteer Reserve and the Officers' Training Corps have been disestablished consequent on the establishment of the Volunteer Force. Officers of the Volunteer Reserve have been for the most part transferred to the Reserve of Officers—a fact which explains the increase in that arm of the Reserve from 239 to 250. Cadets of the Officers' Training Corps and the rank and file of the Volunteer Reserve have been given the option of transfer to the Volunteer Force or of taking their discharge on terms governed by the regulations relating to those units.
The 22,000 all ranks provided for under the heading of the Volunteer Force comprise the following:—12,000 1st Line Volunteers enlisted and trained during 1934-35; 5,000 1st Line Volunteers to be enlisted and trained during 1935-36; 3,000 1st Line Volunteers to be enlisted but not trained during 1935-36; 1,000 2nd Line Volunteers enlisted and trained during 1934-35; 1,000 2nd Line Volunteers to be enlisted and trained during 1935-36.
Further in pursuance of the policy of making this force self-contained, provision has been made for the pay of 3,500 non-commissioned and 100 commissioned officers who will have undergone and passed the required tests during the financial year 1934-35.
Turning from the basis of the Estimate to the financial structure which has been erected upon it, we find that the total gross cost is £1,538,556, which represents a gross increase of £35,720, or, deducting Appropriations-in-Aid, a net increase of £26,637 on the amount granted in the financial year 1934-35. The Army Estimate, as it stands at present, is not a very compact structure, representing, as it does, many additions to the original structure, necessitated by the development of the Army. Instead, therefore, of dealing with the financial aspect sub-head by sub-head, we may get a clearer idea of what it involves if we deal with the figures under the four comprehensive headings of:— (a) Pay (including Cash Allowances); (b) Maintenance (including Rations, Clothing and Quartering); (c) Transport, and (d) Warlike Stores.
Analysing the figures under those headings, this is what we find:— (a) Pay and Cash Allowances absorb £935,216; (b) Maintenance absorbs £426,643; (c) Transport takes £62,290, and (d) Stores take £114,397, making a total of £1,538,546.
Now, stores and transport are common to all arms of the defence forces, so that it would not serve any useful purpose to determine how much is absorbed by each arm. Omitting those two aspects, and concentrating on pay and maintenance, totalling £1,361,859, we find on analysis that the cost is distributed as follows:— (a) Regular Army (5,927 all ranks), £980,461; (b) Reserve (6,050 all ranks), £97,580; (c) Volunteer Force (22,000 all ranks), £146,335, and (d) Civilians, £137,483, making a total of £1,361,859.
On a previous occasion we stated that our defence policy was, briefly, to have a small standing highly-trained Army which would serve as a pivot around which might, if necessary, be organised, developed, and trained, the entire man-power of the State. In the light of the figures just given it is clear that the most economical method of carrying out that policy, and of making full use of the standing Army is to develop the Volunteer Force along the lines begun during the past financial year.
The cost of transport, £62,290, is made up as follows:— (a) mechanical transport, £26,490; (b) horse transport, £15,845, and (c) rail transport, £19,955, totalling £62,290.
The cost of conveyance by rail shows a decrease on that for the previous year, but the provision for horse and mechanical transport has had to be increased in the case of the former, because of the increased cost of maintenance, and in that of the latter because of the necessity of renewing cars and lorries which have outlived the period of their economic existence.
As regards stores, there is also an increase due to the necessity of renewing aircraft, which has become obsolete, and has had to be put out of commission. In connection with stores generally, it should be noted that in relation to the total cost of the Army, we are spending less on warlike material and equipment than any other country in Europe, with the possible exceptions of Albania and Bulgaria. This is principally due to the fact that hitherto we have concentrated more on man-power than on mechanical power. We are not, of course, neglecting the aspect of mechanisation, and as far as our resources permit, we are making every effort to familiarise the Army with this new form of defence. We are, for instance, training the troops in the use of modern tanks, new mechanical fighting vehicles, the latest pattern of trench mortars, the latest models of heavy and light machine guns, and the most up-to-date methods of wireless telephonic and telegraphic communication in the field. Our efforts in this direction have so far been mainly experimental, but we hope with the lessons thereby acquired to provide the Army gradually with the most modern equipment which our resources can afford.
Reverting to the formal printed Estimate, there are a few points which would seem to require explanation. The first is the provision for compensation, sub-head U. This is not a new sub-head, but a reinstatement of an old one. Up to the year 1928-29 compensation was treated as a separate sub-head, but from that year, as the amount required was small, it was no longer treated separately but was included under sub-head X, "incidental expenses." This year, as the amount required has again become large, it has been decided to make it the subject of a special sub-head. It includes: (a) the former provision for compensation arising out of accidents in which Army vehicles are involved; (b) provision for property commandeered or damaged by the National Army which is necessitated by the passing of the Damage to Property Act, 1931, and (c) a new provision to compensate officers or men who are killed or injured during training, and who cannot be dealt with under the ordinary Pensions Acts.
There is also a new sub-head for "Honoraria to Secretaries of Sluaighte." This was included under sub-head C of the previous year's Vote, but as the secretaries are not strictly either civilian or military subjects of the Department, it has been decided to make separate provision for their service. Included under sub-head X are two new items—one for a military tattoo, and the other for assistance to athletics and gliding. For the former a token sum of £10 is required to authorise the holding of the tattoo, and for the latter a sum of £500 has been asked to promote by means of trophies, etc., the development of sport and athletics in the Army, and to enable the Department through the Army Air Corps to assist the development of gliding.
At the military tattoo, which will be held in September, we hope to be able to give a demonstration of the Sokol system of physical culture, which, under the guidance of an officer of the Czecho-Slovakian Army, is being taught for some months past at the Military School at the Curragh. Every modern nation has realised the importance of physical culture not only for its soldiers but also for the general body of its citizens. In CzechoSlovakia, for instance, it has been inculcated as a national duty, and has formed no small part in the national revival of that country. The characteristic of the Sokol system is that it stresses the sport, games, or playing aspect of the exercises, and thus eliminates the fatigue element in them. It is obvious that such a system opens up a wide vista of possibilities for developing physical culture in this country, and it is hoped that in time we shall be able through the medium of Army instructors to introduce the system into our schools and colleges, and thus stimulate the physical development of the nation.
The outstanding fact of importance in the life of the Army during the year has been the development of the Volunteer force. Applications for enrolment have exceeded all expectations; enlistments have been so numerous that we have had to seek the help of the ordinary civil medical practitioners in examining the applicants; and barracks have had to be opened as depots to provide training centres for recruits. The training of the Volunteers has taxed the resources of the regular Army almost to the limit, but to the credit of both officers and men it must be said that they have thrown themselves into the work with energy and enthusiasm. Many of the Volunteers after completing their initial training, have undergone special courses of training in the technical branches of Army service, and have returned to their local units as instructors. Under the circumstances we have had to concentrate mainly on the development of the first line of the Volunteers, but during the coming year we hope to be able to give more attention to the organisation and training of the second and third lines, the recruitment of which has also been quite satisfactory.
The physical well-being of the Army is excellent, its discipline even under the stress of the past year has been all that could be desired, and no higher tribute could be paid to its morale and efficiency than the manner in which it has during the year faced the task of handling and training some 5,000 reservists and some 12,000 Volunteers.