Committee on Finance. - Vote 65—Army.

Tairgim:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £1,019,987 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iuíoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1937, chun costais an Airm augs 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 £1,019,987 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, 1937, 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.

'Siad seo leanas go comair na h-iomláin de ghach líon an Airm dá bhfuil soláthar déanta i Meastacháin na bliana míe naoi gcéad a sé triochadseacht triochad (1936-37):—

An Buan-Arm—Cúig mhíle, naoi gcéad, a haon is triocha (5,931) céimnigh agus seirbhísí uile.

Cúltacaí—Cúig mhíle, ocht gcéad a trí nóchad (5,893) céimnigh uile.

Fórsa na n-Oglach—Ocht míle déag is cúig chéad (18,500) céimnigh uile.

Féadaim a rádh go bhfuil líon an Bhuan-Airm, cúig mhíle, naoi gcéad, a haon is triocha (5,931), céimnigh agus seirbhísí uile, ar aon leibhéal leis an uimhir a bhí againn le roinnt bhliadhan anuas. Tá sé roinnte mar leanas:—

Cúig chéad, agus sé Oifigigh ochtód (586).

Míle, ceithre chéad, agus naoi n-Oi fi g i g h Nea-Choimisiúnta fichead (1429).

Trí mhíle, ocht gcéad naoi saighdiúirí seasead (3,869).

Dalta is fiche (21).

Seacht mBanaltraí déag (17).

Naonbhar Séiplíneach (9).

Ní miste a rádh ná gur ar an bhFórsa seo a bheidh seasamh na tíre i dtosach agus i ndeireadh báire, mar, i n-am síothchána, cuireann sé an có-ghléas tréineála ar fáil dos na fórsaí eile, agus dá n-éirigheadh géir-chéim náisiúnta, caithfí láithreacha troda do dhéanamh de ar a dtiocfadh na fórsaí eile i gceann a chéile. Dá bhrígh sin, is cuibhe cúpla focal do rádh anois i dtaobh na néithe is gádh do'n fhórsa so agus ar an bpolasaí atá ceaptha againn 'na chóir. Tá teorannta leis an mBuan-Arm i n-uimhreacha agus i n-ádhbhar de dheascaibh aon ní amháin do-sháruighthe, mar atá, ceist an chostais, ach laistigh de'n mhéid atá ar fáil, tá sé 'na pholasaí shocruighthe againn an cháilíocht is i bhfearas do dúinn i bhfearaibh is i bhfearas do bhaint amach.

Maidir le saighdiúirí, is árd an caighdeán cuirp atá againn chun liostála, agus taisbeánann rátaí isle na mortlaíochta agus na h-aicíde go bhfuil scoth ógánach na tíre ar ár gcead againn. Ach i leith ádhbhair chogaidh, tá a mhalairt de chrot ar an scéal. Ins an lá atá indiu ann, teastuigheann ó Arm, fearas, meicniú, iompar agus cúltaiscí cogaidh de ghach saghas agus de dhéanmhas reatha. Agus ba dhíchéillidhe an rud é, bheith ag leigint orainn féin nach bhfuil na neithe réamhráidhte i n-easnamh ar Arm na tíre seo. Ní féidir na h-easnaimh seo do sholáthar i n-aon lá amháin, ach sa mheastachán seo táimíd ag tosnú ar é sin a dhéanamh—rud a mhíneóchaidh, ar an gcuid is mó dhe, an méadú atá ins an meastachán i mbliana i gcomparáid leis an mbliain seo caithte agus na blianta ba dhéidheannaighe roimhe sin. Ar an ádhbhar san, tá gléasadh ár gcathanna le h-inneallghunnaí troma dhá chríochnú againn; táimíd ag tosnú ar iad do ghléasadh le h-inneallghunnaí éadtroma de phatrún a meastar, de bhárr trialacha fadálacha; a bheith ar an saghas armála is eifeachtúla de'n aois seo; táimíd ag ath-mhúnláil na bhfeithicilí troda atá ar lámhaibh againn agus dhá n-athtógáil maraon le h-innill agus le h-armáil nuadeheaptha; táimíd chun othar-chóistí atá i ndeireadh a maitheasa do mhalartú, agus tá mótar-bhotha dhá gcur ar fáil againn, leis, chun gléasanna radíó so-ghluaiste d'iompar; táimíd—de bhárr trialach géire mar adubhradh cheana—ag déanamh athnuachtainte ar fhearas radíó na háerárthachta agus na gcoisithe; agus sa deireadh, tar éis an gnáith-liúntas bliantúil de'n lón lámhaigh do chur i n-áirithe, tá roinnt eile dhá cur ar fáil againn, a rachaidh tamall fada i dtuairim ár lucló eolais, chun an chúltaisce éifeachtach is lugha do bhunú.

Ag iompódh dhúinn anois ó riachtanaisí na gcoisithe go dtí na neithe is gádh do'n Airtléireacht, chífimíd gurab í caindíocht níos mó ná cáilíocht atá i n-easnamh. Is de'n aois seo ár n-armáil —comh fada is a théigheann—agus ár lón lámhaigh, ach níl ár ndóithín díobh againn. Le blianta anuas, cuir i gcás, aontuigheadh gur cheart dhá bhriogáid airtléireachta do bheith againn agus trí batairí ocht bpúnt déag agus bataire amháin de ghunnaí Howitzer (ceathair poinnte cúig), i ngach briogáid díobh san. Ach d'aimhdheoin go raibh sé 'na pholasaí shocruighthe againn an fearas sin do sholáthar, tá curtha siar againn, arís agus arís eile, an dara Bataire Howitzer do cheannach chun gleasadh na dara briogáide do chríochnú. Rud eile, socruigheadh cheana ar an ngádh atá le cúltaiscí ár ndóithín de lón lámhaigh throm, ach ní raibh an cómh-aontú céadna ann i dtaobh na tréimhse aimsire 'na mbunófaí na cúltaiscí sin. Ins an meastachán seo, dá bhrígh sin, tá iarracht dhá déanamh na h-easnaimh sin do shlánú, leis na gunnaí atá riachtanach chun críochnú na dara briogáide de'n Airtléireacht, agus leis na cúltaiscí de'n lón lámhaigh throm atá ar iarraidh, do sholáthar chómh tapaidh agus is féidir é.

Ceist eile a bhí le réidhteach ins an meastachán seo do b'eadh gléasadh an Aer—Chóir. Ceist an-chasta iseadh i mar gheall ar an bhfás teicniciúil gan sos atá i gcomhuidhe ar siubhal i gcómhacht coinnéanmhach agus i gcómhacht toghaileach aer-árthachta na h-aimsire seo. Ní acfuinn dúinn 'nár náisiún mbeag bheith ar chó-chéim leis an bhfás mí-chuibheasach sin, ach ar an dtaobh eile, 'sé is lugha is gádh dhúinn ná gan faillí do thabhairt ann an uair atá cosaint ár dtíre féin dhá ceapadh againn. Níl na meaisíní seo againn-ne as feidhm ar fad, ach ní ghabhann leo, ach an oiread, an dul chun cinn is déidheannaighe atá déanta i bpatrún agus i gcómhacht na h-aerárthachta. Meaisíní iseadh iad a céadcheapadh chun treincála nó chun geárr-eitill amháin. Tá céin ar aghaidh ceapaithe againn i mbliana go soláthróchaimíd dhá mheaisín fhaideiteallacha dhá-inneallacha i dtreo agus go mbeidh an Cór suas agus anuas leis an bhfeabhsúchán teicniciúil is déidheannaighe i n-eoluíocht na h-aerárthachta. O's ag labhairt ar an dtaobh so de'n cheist dom, ní miste a rádh nach bhfuil ar aigne againn na cosanta aer-bhaoil do leigint i ndearmhad. Tá gunnaí aer-bhaoil againn, ach má tá, ní leor linn a bhfearas, agus tá ceaptha againn, mar sin, na gunnaí do ghléasadh le h-aontáin sho-ghluaiste soluis chuardaigh ionnus go mbeidh siad éifeachtach d'oidhche is de ló.

Ag seo agaibh ar fad, na neithe is gádh do'n Bhuan-Arm dá bhfuil soláthar éigin déanta ins an meastachán so. Fé mar atá feicthe cheana, níor bhféidir líon an Bhuan-Airm d'ísliú a thuille gan bheith ag cur isteach ar na dualgaisí a bhíonn aige le cóilíonadh i n-am síothchána. I n-am géir-chéime. chaithfeadh sé tuitim siar ar a chúltaca féin atá có-ghléasta 'na chúig cathanna agus tá an gnáth-sholáthar déanta againn ar an bhforas sin. Foluigheann an soláthar sin líon iomlán de 5,893 Cúig mhíle ocht gcéad a thrí nóchad (céimnigh uile), agus tá sé roinnte mar leanas:—

Oifigigh—dhá chéad a trí is dachad (243).

Cúltaca de'n ghrád A—ceithre mhíle is naoi gcéad (4,900) (Céimnigh eile).

Cúltaca de'n ghrád B.—seacht gcéad is caoga (750).

Ins na figiúirí sin tá slighe ceapaithe ins an gcéad áit d'aistrithe ó'n mBuan-Arm, agus ins an dara h-áit don ghnáth-imtheacht a éirgheann as scur fear a mbíonn a dtéarmaí seirbhíse istigh ó am go ham. An méid adubhradh ar ghléasadh an Bhuan-Airm, baineann an céadna le n-a Chúltaca.

Ach má bhíonn ar an dtír seo coidhche seasamh i gcoinnibh ionnraidh, 'sé fórsa na n-Oglach a bheidh 'na fhíor-chúltaca aici fórsa atá dhá úsáid mar láthair thréineála d'ógánaigh an náisiúin; agus dá bhrígh sin is ceart gach misneach i ngach slighe is féidir do thabhairt dó. 'Sé 18,500 (ocht míle déag is cúig chéad) is líon iomlán d'Fhórsa na n-Oglach dá bhfuil soláthar déanta agus tá sé roinnte mar leanas:

Dhá Chéad (200) Oifigeach.

Míle dhá chéad is ocht n-Oifigigh Nea-Choimisiúnta déag (1,218).

Ocht míle cúig chéad is dhá Oglach ochtód (8,582) den Treas Tosaigh (liostálta cheana).

Cúig mhíle (5,000) Oglach den Treas Tosaigh (le liostáil ar feadh na bliana seo chughainn (1936-37).

Míle cúig chéad (1,500) Oglach den mheán-treas (liostálta cheana).

Míle cúig chéad (1,500) Oglach den

Mheán-Treas (le liostáil ar feadh na bliana seo chughainn—1936-37) (míle naoi gcéad a sé triochad— seacht triochad).

Cúig chéad (500) Oglach den Treas Deiridh.

Maidir le líon láithreach an Fhórsa— timcheall le 10,000(deich míle) céimnigh uile—tá luigheadú beag le tabhairt fe ndeara i gcomparáid leis an tréimhse céadna sa bhliain seo caithte (1935). Is féidir an luigheadhú seo do mhíniú ar dhá shlighe:—San gcéad áit—nidh nách iongnadh—mhaoluigh ar dhíoghrais chuid des na nóibhísigh le déine na tréineála agus an smachta a bhaineann le fórsa míleata; agus san dara h-áit, ní raibh na coinghíollacha seirbhíse mealltach go leor, i dtuairim cuid eile dhíobh, toise an costas pearsanta a ghabhann le freastalacht ar thréineáil agus ar champaí. Go deimbin. níl sé ar ár gcumas an chéad nidh do leigheas acht táimíd tar éis an dara nidh d'infhiúchadh go géar. De bhárr an fhiosrúcháin sin, mhol lucht ceannais an Airm go dtabharfaí aisce mar chostaisí, do ghach óglach ag a mbéadh uimhir áirithe campaí oidhche freastalta, agus ag a mbéadh an cúrsa orduithe den tréineáil bhliantúil críochnuithe. Chun buadha an mholta sin do mheas, ní mór thabhairt chun cuimhne ná coimeádann an gnáthchúltacaire a chuid éadaigh phearsanta ar dí-shlógadh, ach go ndeineann sé é do thabhairt i seilbh don CheathrúMháistir a bhíonn freagrach 'na shlánchoimeád go dtí go slógtar an cúltacaire arís.

Ar an dtaobh eile, coimeádann an t-óglach a chuid éadaigh i dtreo is gur bhféidir dó bheith i láthair i n-éide ar pháráideanna áitiúla, ar chigireachta, ar thréineáil no ar aon fheidhmeanna oifigiúla eile dá mbaineann leis na h-óglaigh agus dá dtionóltar 'na líomatáiste féin. Nuair a thagann óglaigh ar a dtréineáil bliantúil is minie a cítear go mbíonn gádh le baill áirithe a gcuid fearais d'athnuachtaint agus fágann san gur ar an óglagh i gceist a luigheann costas na mball nuadh. Ní théigheann a chuid pháigh i gcóir na gceithre lá dhéag (14) den tréineáil bhliantúil thar phúnt is ocht scillinge (28/-) agus d'fhéadfaí an chuid is mó den airgead sin do chaitheamh ar na baill nuadha. Is minic, de dheascaibh seo a fágtar gan pinginn, ar deireadh na tréineála é, agus dá bhrigh sin, tá lucht ceannais an Airm tar éis chur ós ár gcomhair gur cheart aisce éigin mar aon le n-a chuid pháigh do bhronnadh ár an óglach chun na costaisí réamhráidhte do ghlanadh. Tá déanta againn do réir an mholta sin agus tá dhá mhile fichead, ocht gcéad is ocht bpúint deag (£22,818) ar fáil anois chun an moladh do thabhairt chun críche i rith na bliana airgeadais seo chughainn. Luigheadú éigin ar an méid seo amhthach iseadh an t-ísliú a deineadh ins na deontaisí airgid dos na sluaighte ó seacht is raol (7/6) agus cúig scilling (5/-) an duine go dtí bunráta de dhá scilling (2/-), chun deontaisí liostála agus tréineála, fé seach.

I n-am síochána deintear éifeachtúlacht Airm do mheas ón tslighe 'na gcólíonann sé a ghnáth-dhiúitéthe no aon fheidhmeanna neamh-ghnáthacha dá gcuireann an Rialtas air. I rith na bliana seo caithte ar thrí ócáidí móra taisbeánadh go soiléir don phobal a éifeachtúlacht agus atá an t-Arm. Ba í Stailc Bhóthar-Iompair Atha Cliath i míosa tosaigh na bliana 1935 (míle naoi gcéad a cúig triochad) an chéad ócáid. Ar fhógra ghairid agus gan aon ullmhúchán roimh-ré, glaodhadh ar Chór Iompair an Airm feithiclí dóthanacha do sholáthar agus d'oibriú chun na seirbhísí iompair atá riachtanach do shaol tráchtála Atha Cliath do coinneáil suas. Go ceann dhá mhí nó mar sin, bhí an tseirbhís sin ar fáil ag an gCór gur iomparadh dhá mhilliún, céad agus naoi míle ochtód, sé chéad agus cúig paisnéirí triochad (2,189,635), agus gur taistealadh céad agus ocht míle ceathrachad, sé chéad agus seacht míle slighe caogad (148,657); agus d'aimhdheoin nár deinadh a gcuid laraí ar dtúis chun paisnéirí d'iompar, do chóilíonadar an dualgas sin gan oiread agus díobháil chuirp amháin agus gan ach tionóiscí suaracha dá gcárraí. Ní beag mar theistas ar a gcúirtéiseacht agus a stuamdhacht fé choinghíollacha deacra, a bhfuil ráidhte cheana ins na páipéir nuaidheachta.

Ba é an "Tattoo" a bhí ann i Meán Fóghmhair seo caithte an dara h-ócáid mhór 'na dtugadh caoi don phobal an t-Arm d'fheiscint ag gníomhú. Ní h-aon chuid de ghnáth-fheidhmeanna an Airm na taisbeántaisí seo agus ní ach go h-annamh a cuirtear a leithéidí ar siúbhal mar gheall ar an ndianullmhúchán a ghabhann leo roimh-ré. Gan trácht i n-aon chor ortha mar thóicheastail, nílid gan tairbhe ón dtaobh míleata féin. Taisbeánaid a áilneacht is a bhíonn an dril mhíleata nuair a deintear í le cruinneas rithime agus go bhfíoghruightear patrúin shamhaltánacha tríthe. Tástálann siad oilteacht na saighdiúirí agus cuireann siad 'na luighe ortha an sprid fhoirinne sin ar a mbíonn "morale" Airm bunuithe. Is leor mar fhiadhnaise ar éifeachtúlacht an Airm ar an ócáid sin an líon daoine (105,000) do bhí i láthair ag an Taisbeántas.

Tá sompla eile den sprid fhoirinne chéadna againn san ard-chaighdeán do bhain an Fhoireann Marcaidheachta amach i gComórtaisí léimnighe idirNáisiúnta na bliana seo caithte. Gan trácht i n-aon chor ar na duaiseanna dár ghnóthuigh na h-oifigigh 'na nduine is 'na nduine, d'eirigh leo na bhfoirinn, cuirn chúig náisiún nó a gcoibhéise do bhreith leo i ndiaidh a chéile, ar chúig taisbeántaisí idirnáisiúnta, i Lonndain, i Lucerne, i mBaile Atha Cliath, i Nuadh-Eabhraigh agus i dTorontó. Is iongantach an ghníomhaidheacht í sin—gníomhaidheacht nar bhféidir a bhaint amach gan an có-oibriú beo bríoghmhar agus an tsár-obair fhoirinne ní h-amháin des na h-oifigigh i gceist, ach fós, de gach oifigeach, oifigeach nea-choimisiúnta agus giolla go raibh baint aige le Scoil na Marcaidheachta.

There are one or two questions which I want to ask the Minister for Defence on this Estimate. He has referred in his statement to the necessity for building up warlike stores, but really I find it hard to believe that any adequate case can be made—certainly there has been no attempt to make it so far—to justify an increase of £71,475 in the annual expenditure for warlike stores. This House is asked to supply, under sub-head P, of this Estimate, £160,683 for the purchase of warlike stores. If the country were in a state of unrivalled prosperity, and the Minister came to the House and said that the prestige of certain parts of the Army required that elaborate stores of ammunition should be accumulated, and that he was prepared to recommend an expenditure of this kind, it might be worthy of consideration; but, when we are told by various other Ministers that desirable amenities must be foregone because they are not prepared to ask the Treasury for money, it seems to me a perfectly astonishing course that we should be asked to spend in this year £110,261 on ammunition, apart from the other warlike stores that are included under sub-head P. What is all the ammunition for? What are we going to do with it? Are we going to store it? My recollection, from my experience on the Committee of Public Accounts, has been that wastage has continually occurred in connection with Army stores. Stuff has been put into cellars and arsenals and store rooms of one kind or another in different parts of the country, and has so deteriorated that it had to be disposed of eventually for a tithe of what it originally cost.

I should like to ask the Minister this question also. Where is it proposed to purchase this ammunition, or is it proposed to manufacture it here? I understand that the Minister purposes establishing a munition factory in this country, but the form of the Estimate suggests that in the current financial year he is going to go into the market and buy the ammunition referred to in his Estimate. If that be true where is he going to buy it? That is one question I want to ask him. The second is in connection with the other warlike stores referred to in sub-head P—guns and carriages, armoured cars and miscellaneous warlike stores. What country of origin is going to supply these items? That is a very important question. I have no doubt some patriots on the Fianna Fáil back benches will be going down the country and saying that we have purchased the machinery wherewith to blast the base, brutal and bloody Saxon out of existence, and then we will discover that all the materials are coming from Sheffield. Where are the aeroplanes which the Minister intends purchasing going to come from? Are they American aeroplanes or are they British aeroplanes or are they continental aeroplanes? When he comes to answer that question I should be glad if he would tell us what inquiries were made as to the most modern types of aeroplanes available. I understand that both in regard to military aeroplanes, and machine guns, to which he also referred in his statement, recent research has produced very striking advances. Those are highly technical questions, and one would expect that the Minister would inform us that he had set up some committee of responsible Army officers who would give him expert advice on these problems. I understand that the most modern machine gun is of Czecho Slovakian manufacture. I understand that the most effective military aeroplane of the bombing class is at present avail able from British manufacturers. When the Minister refers to the two military aeroplanes which he has added to the equipment of the Army he does not tell us what is their nature. Are they bombing planes or are they survey planes or what is their nature? For what purpose does he intend to use them?

I recognise that the Minister, in a desire to make a gesture towards the language movement, undertook what appeared to be for him a heavy burden in reading his statement here to-day from an Irish text. The net result of that performance is that his introductory statement on the Estimate contains no information at all. I think that is a pity. I am all in favour of making every gesture that can be reasonably made in order to promote the Irish language, but I do not think that the occasion of introducing a very important Estimate of this character should be spoilt by an attempt to introduce it in a language which the Minister clearly does not know, and in which he finds the greatest possible difficulty in expressing himself. It denies to the House information which it ought to have. Some general observations have been made in the course of his statement with reference to the Volunteer Force. We learned that a number of volunteers who enrolled have since withdrawn, but that on the whole the Minister is not dissatisfied with the general progress of the Volunteer Force, and that he now is of opinion that the ultimate safety of the territory of Saorstát Eireann depends upon the Volunteer Force, which is going to become the mainstay of our national defence in time to come. One finds it hard to choose a suitable word to describe all this, but it is all great nonsense, because the Minister knows as well as I do that the armed forces at the disposal of our Government, with the equipment they have, would have no more chance of defending this country against a European power with a desire to attack it than the Minister would have of defending the country single handed.

That does not by any means mean that the Army is not a very valuable asset to this country. It is something of which we ought to be proud; something of which, in my opinion, we have every reason to be proud; something which we ought to do our utmost to keep up to the highest pitch of efficiency, but when we set our minds to keeping it up to the highest pitch of efficiency we should have present to our minds, in my submission, the primary purpose for which we require the Army at all. To my mind there are two purposes for which this House can reasonably maintain and support an Army in this country. One is because it is essential that, in the event of civil disturbances of any kind, the elected Government of the people would have at their disposal an effective weapon in the last extremity to assert the supreme authority of the legitimately elected Government of the country; and secondly, that there should be at all times the highly-trained nucleus of an army which would, in times of national emergency, serve as the officers and trainers of a larger body if the full national resources had to be mobilised in any particular circumstances. To tell the House that the future defence of this country depends on the Volunteer Force is to my mind the purest nonsense, and, when we come to examine that question of the Volunteer Force, I think the time has come to ask ourselves whether the Volunteer Force is in fact an asset at all.

I find it difficult to make out from these Estimates what annual sum the Minister expects to be liable for in respect of the Volunteer force. The only sub-heads which I can find as referring directly to the Volunteer force are sub-heads Y. (3) and Y. (4), and they, taken together, represent a sum of only £3,800. In view of the fact that the Minister speaks of recruiting an additional 5,000 men in the coming year, I assume that there is concealed somewhere in this Estimate a reference to some other expenses. I do not know whether sub-head M., which provides for clothing and equipment, makes allowance for Volunteer uniforms as well as for regular Army uniforms, but I do submit that the Volunteer force as at present constituted is not worth what it is costing us.

As I have pointed out already, when the proposal was first brought before the House for a Volunteer force, it was introduced with a good deal of high-falutin, and we were told that the Volunteer force was a great gesture of conciliation on the part of the Fianna Fáil Government. It was going to provide a platform upon which men unhappily divided in the past would be provided with an opportunity of joining hands in the common service of the State in the future. We were told that the second and third line Volunteers were to provide a platform on which those parted in the past would have an opportunity of coming together again. Then, of course, at a very early date, it became perfectly clear that the second and third line Volunteers were a blind and virtually do not exist at all. The whole force consists practically of first-line Volunteers who were children in arms, or at school, when the civil strife was proceeding in this country, so that that justification for the institution of the Volunteers fell to the ground the moment the force took shape.

The second justification for their establishment was that they would provide a great fighting force to defend the coasts of this country. When you look at the equipment that is available to our fighting forces, it becomes manifest to every reasonable man that for the purpose of meeting external aggression from a formidable military power, which would have at its disposal sufficient naval accommodation to approach our shores at all, our Army would not be in a position to make any serious resistance; nor do I think it would be possible for any Minister for Defence in any Government in this country to build up an army which would offer serious resistance to any external power of such dimensions as would command a fleet adequate to reach our shores at all. I think any Minister who sought to build up an army designed to resist external aggression of that character would be a fool, and an irresponsible fool, so that, of course, that justification for maintaining the Volunteer force is absurd on the face of it.

The third and main justification is that it provides a useful training ground for young people. I deny that, I do not think it is a useful thing to train the entire juvenile population of this country in the use of arms. Every dictator-ridden country in the world at the present time believes in conscription. They believe it is a good thing to introduce every young man in the country to militarism. They think it a good thing to mould his mind along lines of militarism. I do not; I think it is a disaster for any country the youth of which begins to believe that militarism and militaristic organisation is the ideal towards which every patriotic man should aspire.

What about the Blue-shirts?

I suppose they are relevant to the discussion now, and I am very glad Deputy Davin has raised that point.

An interjection which is out of order does not operate to bring such a matter into order.

I thought you would not object, Sir, because I think we can make an antithesis between the spirit underlying the League of Youth and that underlying the Volunteer force.

The League of Youth is not in this Estimate.

Nor should it be.

And that being so may not be discussed.

Perhaps the reason why it is not in the Estimate may be brought before the House. There may be envisaged certain organisations which are more appropriately affiliated with political parties. It would be highly improper for any responsible Minister for Defence to set on foot a national force on lines strictly analogous to those of an association which, of its very nature, is political in its character. Certain associations will spring to Deputy Davin's mind. I think the Minister would do very wrong if he attempted to draw an analogy between the force he would be justified in establishing and any such force as those which Deputy Davin and I may think of, but I do believe the Minister did strike on something in connection with the Volunteer Force which he might be much better employed in developing than in developing the thesis that the Volunteer Force was to act as an effective defence force for this country. That is the interest which he has displayed in Sokol and gymnastic exercises of that kind. If the Volunteer Force in this country become a force for the physical training, completely disassociated from militaristic activities, of the young people of this country, under the patronage and direction of the Department of Defence, it might be a very useful organisation and it might serve a very useful purpose generally. There does not seem to me to be any necessity whatever for imparting the militaristic flavour in order to maintain its success.

We have the absurd situation at the present time that with the military training made available by the army authorities to the Volunteers, the Volunteers are quite unable to deport themselves in a way which compares reasonably with the regular Army on public occasions. We could not expect them to bear arms with the same efficiency and address as the regular soldiers of the Army, and I doubt if I do the Minister an injustice when I suggest that, as a result of his realisation of the fact that the Volunteer Force was quite incompetent to bear military arms, with any appearance of efficiency, instead of realising that be ought not to furnish them with arms at all, he requires the Army, which was quite capable of bearing arms, as arms should be borne, to carry them much as the Volunteers carried them, in order to conceal the inability of the Volunteers to carry out the martial exercises which the Minister required them to carry out on the parade occasion. I think regular soldiers should be allowed to carry arms and should demonstrate their capacity to carry them as soldiers should. I think it is indeed a pity that their efficiency and smartness should be deliberately degraded on a number of occasions in order to cover up the unavoidable inefficiency in military exercises of a body like the Volunteer Force.

Now, let me touch on another aspect of this problem that is not going to be popular with many elements who come to consider it, but is, nevertheless, one in respect of which I ask the Minister for a very explicit statement when he is dealing in reply with this Estimate. Forces which are organised along militaristic lines in this and every other country have found it necessary, where these bodies of men were brought together under military conditions, to impart certain instructions in hygiene of a character that is not familiar to the average young man or youth in rural Ireland. If one of the results of enrolling tens of thousands of young fellows in the Volunteer Force, and bringing them on rare occasions to rallies at certain centres in the country is to make available to them, and in fact to force upon them, certain instruction in hygiene, which may be necessary when dealing with the regular Army, which has to be provided, not because every man in the regular Army requires it, but because certain individuals require it, and it is necessary to make it available to all in order that it will reach certain individuals who, in fact, do require it, I think that is a great mistake. It is an unpleasant duty for me to refer to a matter of this kind, and I feel bound to elaborate it for a moment lest any misapprehension should be created in the public mind.

Everybody who has given any thought to the matter knows that certain instruction in hygiene is given in the regular Army. To those who only take a superficial view that suggests that the entire personnel of the regular Army requires hygienic warning and hygienic advice of that kind. Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth. But, it has been the experience of medical officers in most armies in the world that, in order to get information to those individual members of an army who require such advice and remonstrance, the only effective way of doing it is to make it available to all. Otherwise, if you adopt a selective scheme with a view of seeking to give it only to those who actually require it, it might happen that one individual or two or more will not get the instruction and the therapeutic guidance necessary, thus becoming a source of infection to the whole body of the men in the camp or in the barracks. That is an evil which is no doubt deplored by the Minister and by every high officer in the Army, but is recognised as a necessary evil to avoid greater evils.

What I deplore is the possibility that that necessity for universal instruction should be extended to the whole Volunteer force, and that, having imparted instruction of that character to the entire personnel of the Volunteer force, that that personnel should be returned to the country. I am not in the position to say it is being done, but I am asking the Minister to inform the House fully as to his attitude in regard to that matter, and to inform us whether the same instruction is being afforded to the Volunteer force as is being afforded to the regular Army; whether, in his opinion, it is necessary; and, if it is necessary, will not a greater evil accrue from information of that character being disseminated wildly throughout the country by impressionable youths who only attend short periods of training and who carry away from that training only a very hazy and, possibly, inadequate understanding of the entire volume of instruction that they may have obtained during the period in which they were in camp?

I should like to join, however, with the Minister in his expression of cordial congratulation to the regular Army on their performance at the tattoo which, I think, reflected great credit on the Army, and which was a source of legitimate price to the citizens of the country at large. It is no new thing for all sides of the House to be afforded an opportunity of congratulating the Army on their equestrian successes, and I think we can with confidence hope they will be continued to the credit of the country, as they have been in the past.

So far as the regular Army is concerned, it is noteworthy and gratifying to everybody concerned with the welfare of the country to observe the high standard of efficiency and the sound military spirit which pervades all ranks. It is a source of infinite gratification to both sides of the House, I have no doubt, that we have succeeded in establishing in this country a military spirit, founded on no aggressive or bellicose foundation, but on the sound constitutional theory that the Army is the servant of the people and accepts the orders of the people through the elected Government of the people. Possibly, with the passage of this year, it will be no longer necessary to comment with gratification upon that aspect of affairs, because it will become so well-established, has become so well-established, that it is no longer a reason for expressing congratulation. But we have been some time developing out of a period of flux and obscurity, and during that time the Army has been a model to various other branches of the public life of the country in its understanding and effective discharge of the duties and responsibilities cast upon it. May it long continue so. I should be grateful if the Minister could see his way to deal with the specific points I have raised on the Estimate introduced.

Gearoid Mac Partholáin

Ní mór an moladh atá tuillte ag an Aire mar gheall ar an meastachán seo a thabhairt isteach i nGaedhilge agus nílim ar aon intinn leis an Teachta atá tar éis labhairt nár cheart gan é bheith i mBéarla.

Támuid ag cur síos ar chosaint agus ba mhaith an úirlis cosanta an Ghaedhilge don tír seo dá mbeadh sí ag 'chuile dhuine ann.

Ní móide go mbeidh orainn an tír seo a chosaint ar namhaid thar lear fhad is a bhéas Arm againn dhe chineál eicínt ach da mba rud é nach mbeadh Arm againn bheadh an tí i mbaol uair ar bith a mbeadh troid no acrann ar siúl idir na naisiúnaibh.

Ba mhaith liom níos mó airgid fheiceál dá chaitheamh ar na hOglaigh. Teasthuíonn allúntas níos f e a r r dh'airgead phóca nuair a bhíonn siad ó bhaile ghá dtréineál no ins na campaibh cinn seachtaine.

Is maith liom gur thug an tAire an meastachán seo isteach i nGaedhilge. Ba bhreágh liom an Ghaedhilge mhaith a cuireadh ar na téarmaí teicniúla. Spáineann sé go bhfuil an teanga náisiúnta feilteach don críoch seo ar chuma ar bith.

This is the first time, so far as I can recollect, that we have had an explanation of policy, if we can regard this document that has been issued as such, and it brings up the question which I put to the Minister a couple of years ago as to the advice on which this Volunteer force was established, whether it was upon expert army advice or otherwise. If my recollection is correct, the Minister's reply was to the effect that it was Government policy. The only information that we got about it other than what is in this document is in the returns that have been published in the Estimates showing a very large increase in the cost of the Army during the last few years. On page 304 of the Estimates, we find that the sum required is £1,529,987. It is a very big sum. It is a sum which over a period of years came in for very considerable criticism from various political and non-political parties in the State. I wonder was it honest criticism? Certainly, if it was, it must also be added that it was innocent criticism if we include the Ministerial Bench as having any responsibility for it. The Army Estimates have gone up in the last couple of years to the extent of £300,000 to £400,000 a year. That is the increase in the Army costs. We are entitled to know whether or not the Army machine has improved and whether we are getting value for the money.

The only indication of policy one sees, so far as the Minister's statement is concerned, is in the purchase of more munitions, an increase in the artillery by a battery of Howitzers, and an increase in the gun section-that is an increase in the heavy machine-gun section and in the light gun section. The increase in the cost of munitions in the current year is a pretty considerable one if they are meant as stores, to be piled up and to be kept in stock. The House ought to be told how long the life of such munitions is estimated to be. If my recollection is right, a short time ago there was an explosion in the Magazine Fort of some old munitions that had been left there. Generally speaking, stocks of munitions are expensive articles. I presume the same thing might be added with regard to the maintenance of the 18-pounders and the other sections of the artillery that are indicated in the report.

However, to come down closer to business, it has been freely rumoured throughout this country that men who have had Army service here have left the Army, have joined the British Army, and that they are very welcome in the British Army when they have been given good training here. If that be so, we have been at expense providing well-made material for other armies. I think if that is so the Minister ought to have some information on it. The question arises at once as to whether it was desirable to get rid of men who had cost so much to make them efficient soldiers. What was at the back of it? Was it necessary to get rid of them to make way for others, or is there to be no such thing in this country as the professional soldier? If the small army we have got is to be regarded as a means of expanding in times of necessity or stress, how much weaker will it be by reason of the loss of the men in question?

What has the Minister's experience been regarding the Volunteer force, no matter how high have been certain representations that have been made in connection with an institution of that sort? Some 20 to 25 years ago this force went by the name of the militia. The general impression regarding the militia was that a member of the militia could not compare with a regular soldier. It could not be expected that a man with a week's or a fortnight's drill in the year could be put on the same par with the man subject to military discipline from one end of the year to the other. The question is how far this new body is costing money to get together. Will the Minister tell us whether military cars go around and collect volunteers during the evening and then bring them home at night? If that is so, it is an expensive method. In fact, the cost of the volunteers and reserves as set out in the final pages of the Estimates amounts to £152,278. For the last year it is up by something like £5,000. Will the Minister assure the House in respect of that particular service that it is efficient to the extent of the extra £5,000? Another thing to which I should like to draw attention is the item in the Estimates for clothing. This is down somewhat considerably— £47,000 against £110,000 for last year.

On Easter Sunday last year there was a parade of soldiers through the city. It was a very wet day, and those men so engaged must have been drenched. I wonder, in respect of that particular experience, whether the Minister has thought fit to provide the men with waterproof cloaks or capes, such as are worn on the Continent? I was informed—I do not know whether it is true—that some of the men were sent to their stations many miles in railway carriages without any change of clothing. If that be so, they were certainly inviting colds and other indispositions from which even soldiers possibly may not be immune. The parade on that particular occasion occupied some hours. It has been stated in some Press publications that we do not often see the Army on parade, but I hope that we are not going to become accustomed to parades of the Army for political purposes. It would, however, be useful and serviceable if there were more frequent parades of the Army, and it is to be hoped that steps would be taken in connection with those parades to see that it would not be extra work on the men and, if it should so happen that the weather was bad, some provision should be made for their comfort when the parades are over.

There is one other item in the Estimates which appears to me to be small. I do not know whether it provides for what it appears to me to make provision for. I see that, under the heading of Animals and Forage, for the purchase of horses there is a figure of £2,610. It is something over what was provided last year. If it means anything in connection with jumping horses, I have again to raise the question that if the Army is having the advantages that it has, and is in a position to produce well-trained animals and that good prices are offered for these animals, there is no earthly reason why they should not be sold, and the Army can purchase others. There are other activities which, if there were profits, the Army might enter into; these would be of service to the Army itself and to the members thereof. There are occasions upon which, I am told, fairly big prices have been offered for our Army horses. Why I would like to see these horses sold is that there are others who sell Irish horses which have not got the same good character, and I hate to learn of a horse being sold out of this country which is not sound. There are Army horses for which good prices would be paid, and they would be sound.

Mention was made in the course of the Minister's statement about two occasions upon which the Army popularised itself during the year. I do not think it was absolutely necessary to mention those two occasions. The tattoo was certainly a great success, and it reflected great credit upon the Army. An outstanding feature was the fine spirit that was shown, the efficiency of the troops, and so on. Mentioning those things brings us to the point that we seem to be always having to praise something that we have got ourselves. Other countries have armies and they do certain things and the governments of those countries do not think it necessary, in the case of a report such as this, to mention the matter. The Minister mentioned that 148,000 miles were covered by the Army in a period of two months during the transport trouble. That amounted to about 2,500 miles a day. There were 25 cars engaged, and it worked out at merely 100 miles for each car a day. That is not a very big performance. I feel quite sure if the Army were called upon to work day and night upon a job like that they would do it.

Why those things have got to be said now is because of the different line taken up a few years ago in connection with this institution. It would be well for all political parties in this State to realise that whatever there are of State institutions in this country, the people who decry or belittle them are not those who are acting in the best interests of the State. If less of that had happened years ago, there would be less necessity now to bring into bold relief the admiration and the joy certain people feel when they see those national institutions in operation.

Obviously, the carefully-laboured, long-drawn-out and boring statement in ungrammatical and badly-pronounced Civil Service Irish with which the Minister introduced this Estimate was for the purpose of mystifying members of the Fianna Fáil Party, who could not understand it and were, therefore, left in the dark as to the absence of any Government policy with regard to national defence. We are, presumably, discussing only the Estimate for the coming year. In other countries it is usual for the Minister responsible for national defence to give a general outline as to the strategic and defensive position of the country generally. That was omitted by our Minister to day. The only piece of information in that connection we have to go on was the pledge which was given last year by President de Valera that this country, under no circumstances, would be used as a base for hostile operations against Great Britain. He claimed to speak, not only on behalf of his Government, but he claimed, also, to speak on behalf of future Governments. That, of course, was inaccurate. He made that statement gratuitously and he got no thanks from the British for making that statement. The reason why he got no thanks from the British was because the British were fully aware that it had no value whatsoever, that the defence forces of this country are quite inadequate and quite incapable of preventing this country being used as a base of operations either against Great Britain or against any other country when it comes to a time of war. The pledge given by the President last year is not worth considering and was not paid attention to by the British Government or by the British public.

There have been some rumours and statements in the Press as to the possibility of our country taking up seriously the question of national defence. The people of Ireland are living in a fool's paradise. Every other country in Europe has to pay very large sums of money every year to cope with the problem of national defence. We are only a Protectorate. We are in the same position with regard to Great Britain as the Sultan of Zanzibar, or some other vassal State of the Empire. We do not pretend to defend our own coasts. It is admitted that our strategic position is more important to Great Britain than the position of Belgium is to France and, naturally, Great Britain will be entitled to see that the defence is adequate for her own protection just as, I presume, the French Government are satisfied that the defences of Belgium are adequate in case of war and the attempted invasion of that country. But the people of this country are living in a fool's paradise. They are spending less on national defence than any other country in Europe—far less—and they are relying upon the protection of the British Fleet and the British Air Force, and the sooner the people of this country realise that they are a protected State the better.

I think there is no reason at all why we should not make a beginning in the protection of our coasts. It was written down in the Treaty, which, of course, has been broken on both sides —at any rate, in spirit, both by the British and the present Government of the Saorstát—that certain conferences were to take place with regard to the coastal defence of this country. One conference was held, I understand, which was a washout. The British suggested that we should buy an £8,000,000 battleship, which was to be run by the British Navy at our expense; which was hardly a reasonable suggestion. From that day onwards no further attempt has been made to deal with the problem of settling or co-ordinating the defences of the two islands, and it has been left entirely in the hands of the British. At the present time we are sending over hundreds, if not thousands, of young men to the British Army, the British Navy and the British Air Force. I myself have given letters of introduction to well over 100 young men for admission into the British Air Force and other Air Forces across the water, and I see no reason to be ashamed of so doing, seeing that they have not got the opportunities here in Ireland of learning to become aviators. I see no reason why I should be ashamed of helping them to get positions in foreign Air Forces, seeing that they do not get facilities at home. We are exporting man-power and also, on the horns of our cattle, about £5,000,000 a year as an Imperial contribution. Surely it would be better that that money, by agreement between the two Governments, should be spent in Ireland and that, not only our man-power, but also our finances, should be used at home. I think it would be a most reasonable suggestion, in any settlement which may be arrived at between the two countries, that, in taking over at any rate a partial defence of our coasts, we should have the facilities available by association with the British Forces and that our own man-power should be kept at home.

We are only playing with defence in this Estimate here before us. We are not dealing with the main problem. Even, as I say, the pledge of the President, that this country would not be used as a base in case of hostilities, is not worth considering. Certainly, it is a strange thing that an allegedly patriotic Government should completely ignore and shelve the problem of the defence of our coasts and leave it pusillanimously to another country. The people of this country have fought in every army in the world for other countries, and yet are apparently incapable of defending their own country. It must be remembered that the small items here before us must be taken in conjunction with another Estimate, and that is, the Estimate for Public Works, because there are very large sums under the Estimate for Public Works which, although technically under the jurisdiction of the Minister for Finance or his Parliamentary Secretary, are part of the policy of the Ministry of Defence. There are very large sums being spent this year on reconditioning Army premises, including, I notice, a sum of £53,000 for a magazine. The main items of the Army Vote, however, show little change except for the increase in the buying of ammunition. Every other country in Europe has enormously increased its defence estimates during the last six months—practically doubled them. We, being a protected country, do not need to increase ours. The changes from last year are really only incidental and have no very great significance.

With regard to the general position of the Army, I would say that I have heard from many professional soldiers and from impartial observers that there is an increasing slackness in the ranks of the Army. Even those who watched the parades noticed a regrettable deterioration in the smartness of the Army as compared with previous years and, although Deputies here in this House, on both sides of the House, are fond of paying compliments to the Army, I must say that I do not pay compliments to them for their general condition at the present time. There has been a general deterioration during the last two years in respect of discipline and in respect of smartness. The jumping team have undoubtedly brought honour and distinction upon our country both in the Old World and in the New World, but if the people knew of the meanness with which the members of the jumping team are treated by the Ministry of Finance there would be a public outcry. The members of the jumping team, which undoubtedly has brought distinction upon the Irish Army and also advertised Irish horse-flesh in different parts of the world, have been deliberately put at a disadvantage as compared with their colleagues in all other international jumping teams by a refusal of the elementary funds required to uphold their station and to uphold the dignity of their position in foreign countries.

I do not blame the Minister. I know the Minister is innocent. A similar situation existed under his predecessor. It is the fault of the Civil Service and of the Civil Service regulations of the Department of Finance, which deliberately placed our jumping team at a disadvantage as compared with the jumping teams of other countries. That is a scandal and a very mean scandal. Perhaps the Minister will, at some time use certain pressure, if he has any influence with the Ministry of Finance, to see that this state of affairs will come to an end. It is not necessary for me to go into details. The details are too unpleasant. If the Minister wants to find them out, he can do so easily. This is a pretty example of bureaucracy gone mad, and the sooner it is remedied the better.

There is one item on which I should like to get some information. The expenditure on war-like stores for the coming year is estimated at £160,000. Under sub-head (B) we find that a sum of £110,000 will be utilised for the purchase of ammunition, as part of that item of £160,000. Certain other types of war-equipment will also be purchased. I understood that, for a considerable time, the Executive Council had under consideration the question of establishing a factory here for the manufacture of ammunition and such other stores of that type as might be required. A very substantial sum will be spent during the coming year on the purchase of war-like stores of various descriptions, and expenditure of this type is likely to go on from year to year. I should like to know if any close consideration is being given to the question of establishing a munition factory here, and whether it would not be possible, by utilising the skill and craftsmanship of our own people, to provide for our defence force the ammunition which, I take it, we are compelled to buy from Great Britain, even during the period of an economic war. Perhaps the Minister would say, if this matter has been under consideration, to what stage that consideration has advanced, and whether there is any prospect that steps will be taken at an early date to establish a munition factory for the manufacture of ammunition which we are at present compelled to buy outside the country.

Ba mhaith liom ceist do chur ar an Aire. Dubhairt ar tAire Tionnscail agus Tráchtala iniú gur cheannuigh an Roinn Cosanta 8,284 thonna móna sa bhliain 1934-5 agus sa bhliain 1935-6, go dti deireadh na míosa so tharainn, gur cheannuigh siad 6,071 tonna. Ba mhaith liom dá n-abródh an tAire cad fé ndeár an deifríocht idir an dá bhliain agus cadé an meastachán atá aige i gcoir na bliana atá romhainn. Ar leathanach a 305 de Leabhar na Meastachán, tá laigheadú £4,792 faoi "R" i gcóir teine, solas, uisce agus íle theine. Nuair a theighimíd chun leathanaigh a 312, tá cur-síos ar "P" agus "Q" agus "S" agus níl aon chuntas ar "R". Ar cheannuigh an Roinn níos lugha móna an bhliain seo ná an bhliain seo ghabh tharainn agus ar cheannuigh sé nios lugha an bhliain sin na an bhliain roimhe sin? Ba mhaith liom míniú d'fhail ón Aire ar an scéal so.

I dtaobh na ceiste do chuir an Teachta Ua Maolchatha, ba mhaith liom da gcuirfeadh sé an cheist ar an Chlár. Ní'l fhios agam i gceart goidé an meid móna atá ceannuithe againn go dtí an lá iniú. Isé mo thuairim nach raibh an t-Aire Tionnscail agus Tráchtála ag tagairt ach don meid a bhí ceannuithe go dtí——

Go dtí deire na míosa so thart.

Ní'l an bhliain airgid caithe go fóill. An fhigiúir eile a thug an t-Aire, thug sé é i gcóir na bliana ar fad. Ar dhóigh ar bith, ba mhaith an rud ceist do chur síos agus tabharfa mé freagra ar an Teachta.

Deputy Dillon is an authority on everything under the sun, and he pontificated on a number of things, including my Irish accent. I do not know how to reason with him. He says that the Army, as it stands, has no chance of defending the country, that the Volunteer force is not worth the money it is costing, that the Army could not offer any serious resistance to an external power, and he goes on to state his opinion of the hygienic instruction given to the Army. I do not know what authority Deputy Dillon has to speak as a military expert. I am prepared to take, as against Deputy Dillon's advice, the advice of the experts I have in regard to the hygienic instruction which should be given to the ranks of the Army and in regard to a number of other matters. In regard to the reserve of ammunition, I am prepared to take the advice of the military experts as against Deputy Dillon's advice. He asked where our munitions were bought. Our munitions are bought each year where they can be obtained best and cheapest. Last year, so far as I remember, our purchases were spread over five or six countries. I admit that it is from England we have, up to the present, purchased most of our standard ammunition but, last year, we made purchases from Sweden, France, and Czecho Slovakia as well. Generally speaking, when we want munitions of any sort we go where we can get them best and cheapest. As regards Deputy Norton's question, we hope to be making at home 303 and .45 ammunition before long. At the moment we have an Inter-Departmental Committee in negotiation with a couple of firms to see which of them will give us the best price to erect a munition factory on a site which has already been selected.

Does the Minister contemplate that the factory should be State-owned and State-controlled?

I hope it is not going to be in Kildare.

No, nor in Wexford either. Deputy Cosgrave said that the Army was costing a very big sum of money, and he wanted to know if the Army machine had improved. My belief is that it has. I think that, for the additional £250,000 that we are spending on the Volunteer force, we have added greatly to the military strength of the Nation. I would not say for a minute that we can guard our shores against invasion from a superior foreign power. Very few countries can guard their shores in that way to-day, but I certainly say this: that if the people of this country are determined to resist invasion by any foreign power and if they have at their service a well trained regular army forming the nucleus for the much larger war time army that might be filled up by reserves, such as volunteers, I would certainly say any foreign country that wanted to invade this country would think twice about it. They might succeed in making a landing, but they might be very glad to get out as the British were.

All that we are trying to do in regard to the volunteers and the regular army is to provide the people with the best army that they can afford. If the Department of Defence were given £5,000,000 or £10,000,000 a year, we might have a very much bigger regular army than we have at the moment, but having to keep, as we are, within our financial resources, I think we are giving the country the best military machine that it could possibly get out of the funds at our disposal. I think that the volunteers will form a very valuable reserve in time of national emergency. The sum of money that has been spent on them is only £250,000, and that has been spent in training about 10,000 of them. In my opinion it is money that has been well spent.

Deputy Cosgrave referred to an explosion in a magazine. It was really not an explosion in military stores at all. This was stuff that, normally, should have been kept either in charge of the police force or in dumps. It was old sporting ammunition left over by the British years ago. It should have been destroyed otherwise than by allowing it to explode in a magazine. Deputy Cosgrave said that the volunteers were not on a par with regular soldiers. I grant you that, as a military fighting machine, you cannot compare part-time soldiers, such as volunteers are, with the members of the regular army. As a matter of fact every country in the world, outside the conscriptionist countries, seems to agree that there is a very big military advantage in having reserves such as a Volunteer force. In England, for instance, they have some hundreds of thousands of young men organised in the territorials, a force almost exactly similar to the volunteers here. In the United States you also have hundreds of thousands of young men organised in territorial units. You have the same thing in Canada. As a matter of fact, in every country outside the purely conscriptionist countries you have forces which are on all fours with our Volunteer force.

If a country wants soldiers at all, I think it is an excellent thing that young men, who cannot serve their country on a whole-time basis in peace times, should be given an opportunity to train so that their services may be effective in time of national emergency. Deputy Cosgrave raised the question of the equitation school. He wanted to know why we were not selling some of our prize-winning horses if we could get a good price for them. I am against any policy such as that. I think that horses that have proved themselves to be good jumping horses should be retained. As a matter of fact, in the past couple of years, we have refused some very good offers for some of our prize-winning horses. I think the horses that prove themselves to be good jumpers in the equitation school should be retained in the teams that are sent abroad to represent this country.

Deputy Esmonde put himself forward as a military expert. He said that he could not compliment the Army on its discipline or smartness, and that in his opinion there was a general deterioration. All that I can say to an expert like Deputy Esmonde is that I do not agree with him, and neither do the military experts that I have advising me. They maintain that the standard of discipline and smartness has been gradually growing over a number of years, and that it is better now than ever it was before. These, I think, were the only points that were made on the Vote.

Would the Minister say if there is any possibility of the No. 1 Army Band being permitted to tour the country again as it used some years ago in the time of his predecessor? I think if enquiries were made it would be found that these tours, which were so well supported and enjoyed by the people, paid for themselves. I think that the people throughout the country should be given the privilege of hearing the No. 1 Army Band as well as the people in Dublin.

It is all a question of expense, and it is a matter which will have to be gone into.

I think I am correct in stating that these tours always paid for themselves.

Vote put and agreed to.