Committee on Finance. - Vote 47—Defence (Resumed).

Debate resumed on the following motion:
That a sum not exceeding £5,899,100 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, 1963, for the Defence Forces (including certain Grants-in-Aid) under the Defence Acts, 1954 and 1960 (No. 18 of 1954 and No. 44 of 1960), and for certain administrative Expenses in connection therewith; for certain Expenses under the Offences against the State Acts, 1939 and 1940 (No. 13 of 1939 and No. 2 of 1940) and the Air-raid Precautions Acts, 1939 and 1946 (No. 21 of 1939 and No. 28 of 1946); for Expenses in connection with the issue of Medals, etc.; and for a Grant-in-Aid of the Irish Red Cross Society (No. 32 of 1938).— (Minister for Defence.)

When I moved to report progress on Thursday last, I was dealing with the provisions in the Estimate which showed that it was the belief of the Minister that the strength of the forces would be 32 per cent. below establishment, that is, so far as N.C.O.s and men are concerned. I had been commenting on the bad recruiting policy as one of the reasons why the Army was so consistently below strength. The second reason which I put forward for the numbers being below establishment is that at present far too much routine duty is being carried out by too few N.C.O.s and men. This is partly due to the fact that so high a proportion of our troops is either serving overseas or undergoing special training before going overseas, while others are still on special leave on their return. When it is seen that the estimated strength of N.C.O.s and men will be something around 6,500 or 7,000 men, and we are constantly maintaining anything up to 800 men overseas, it will be realised that the load placed on those at home is far too heavy.

In addition, there is far too much routine duty because there are too many large barracks being occupied at present. This is a matter I commented on on previous Estimates also. A barracks like Collins Barracks, which is only about ten per cent. occupied, a barracks so old that it is almost insanitary, would certainly seem to me to be a very good reason for not joining the Army. I was in Collins Barracks for a long time and I know that one frequently sees the walls streaming with water for weeks on end. There are enormous prison-like structures like Collins Barracks, Griffith Barracks and, although not to the same extent, Cathal Brugha Barracks.

The only modern barracks in Dublin is Clancy Barracks. Cathal Brugha Barracks is also fairly old but never seems to be quite so depressing or quite so wet, but McKee Barracks and Clancy Barracks are not half used or one-tenth used, whereas the barracks which seem to me to be the least attractive and least suitable for housing men are the ones in which infantry battalions and field companies are stationed at present. I would ask the Minister, therefore, to reconsider the question of the use of military barracks over again to see whether use could not be made of the more suitable barracks, so that some at least of the existing barracks could be closed altogether.

Under Subhead S, for instance, we see that the ordinary repairs, renewals and maintenance of barracks, are estimated to cost £111,655 in the current year. I am not against maintaining barracks. I should hate to see them getting worse than they are at present. At the same time, you could, by using more modern structures, save a tremendous amount of this ordinary maintenance bill.

Another reason for the low numbers in the Forces is undoubtedly the bad uniforms to which reference was made by Deputy MacEoin and Deputy Tully. Deputy MacEoin was not quite as violent as I should have liked him to be on this matter, but Deputy Tully said all that I would like to say. All I can say, therefore, is that I agree with Deputy Tully that the present uniform is bad in every way. The material itself is bad and the design of the uniform is entirely out of date and most unsuitable for ordinary parade use and certainly for active service use.

Last year, we were told by the Minister's predecessor that the matter of a new design of uniform was under active consideration. We got the impression that some progress was being made and that as soon as existing stocks of the present "bull's wool" uniform had been issued, they would not be replenished from the same source. It is very depressing, therefore, to find the Minister on this Estimate obviously seeing no sign of any early improvement. I am perfectly convinced that there will be no early improvement, unless and until the Minister gives an absolute order to that effect. If it is suggested by the Minister that, perhaps, there might be some improvement in the standard of clothing, the standard of tailoring and the whole design of the uniform, I think he will find himself faced with every conceivable obstacle. The only way to get over these obstacles is to give a direct order that the uniform shall be redesigned from top to bottom and shall be issued not later than six months from this date. It is only by doing that that the Minister will be able to get any progress. His failure to do it in his comparatively short term in office in his Department and the failure of his predecessors prove my point. I have been hoping and wishing for a new design but absolutely nothing appears to have been done.

Under Subhead P, we see provision for defensive equipment. There has been some discussion already on the type of weapons issued to our troops. It certainly is welcome news that the Belgian FN rifle is now being adopted and I do not think Deputy Sherwin need be unduly worried about the ammunition supply position when this same rifle is in use in many other armies. There seems to be a misconception in some people's minds as to the best type of weapon for the ordinary infantryman. There is a feeling that if each N.C.O. and man were armed with sub-machineguns, they would be far better fighting men but people very often forget that these sub-machineguns are very greedy in their consumption of ammunition. There is no good having a man with a sub-machinegun if he is able to get through his ammunition supply in a matter of from five to ten minutes. Consequently, another weapon is required as well as the fully automatic Gustav sub-machinegun. I think the FN rifle, which is automatic to some extent and can be used for single shots with reasonable accuracy, is an essential and most desirable addition to our equipment.

Subhead P.2 refers to the Naval Service. This is a matter to which I have referred on previous Estimates also and to which, all being well, I shall continue to refer until I see some progress in regard to it. I am not alone in this because I think many of us in this House, and many of the public also, are not at all happy with the constitution of our Naval Service. It is not, in any sense, a navy. It is not intended to be. Its primary duty appears to be fishery protection. The vessels are far from being ideal for that purpose. They are not only far from being ideal for the chasing of foreign vessels which can sometimes— not always—outsail these corvettes but the upkeep of these vessels is far too high. It is necessary, but at the same time it is very expensive. I still feel that these corvettes should be disposed of to some other country which may be able to make better use of them.

I feel that the Naval Service should be entirely reconstituted either as a corps of marines or, alternatively, as a separate corps altogether, something along the lines of the United States coastguard, with proper liaison between the lifeboats, Irish Lights, and the rescue services. If such a force were formed and equipped with comparatively small fast launches, it would give very much better protection to our fishing grounds than that given by the corvettes at present. It would cost far less to run and it would give our sailors vessels of which they would really be proud. To regard this as a naval service at all is entirely wrong. The whole thing should be radically reconsidered.

Subhead Y.1 refers to the Reserve. I should, first of all, like to deal with the matter of gratuities to members of the Army Reserve, making it clear that I am referring to the Regular Reserve and not to the FCA. In 1928, the gratuities payable annually, on completion of annual training, to officers were as follows: Second lieutenant, lieutenant and captain, £50; commandant, £75; major, £90 and colonel, £110. These were the gratuities payable to officers on completion of 30 days annual training.

The position now is different in that annual training goes on only for a maximum of 21 days, but when one considers the difference between the value of money in 1928 and in 1946, when the present rates were struck, I think the House will see and the Minister will appreciate that the present rates of gratuity payments to officers of the Reserve are entirely inadequate. The present rates were framed in 1946 and have not been amended since. They grant a gratuity to a second lieutenant of £20, instead of £50 in 1928. A first lieutenant gets £30, instead of £50; a captain now gets £50, exactly the same as his predecessor in 1928; a commandant gets the same, £75; a lieutenant-colonel, the equivalent of a major, £95, as against a major's £90 in 1928; and a colonel is back where he started with £110.

Even since 1946, the value of money has gone down very considerably and I would point out to the Minister that if he wants to have a proper Regular Reserve, he will have to stop treating the officers, N.C.O.s and men of the Reserve as if they were an unpaid troop of boy scouts. The N.C.O.s and men have received no increase whatever on the gratuities settled for them in 1928. Might I ask the Minister, therefore, to consider a radical revision in the payment of officers, N.C.O.s and men of the Regular Reserve ?

As far as the FCA is concerned, I still believe it is far too costly, that when only a maximum proportion of 75 per cent. of men on training is provided for, there should be some very radical pruning of the whole organisation. There is undoubtedly a hard core of extremely hardworking and efficient officers, N.C.O.s and men in the Force but they are being overburdened by a tremendous amount of dead wood which should be cut away. Possibly the situation might be improved in so far as the integration of the Force is concerned, if, instead of forming separate FCA units, subunits of the Regular Army were formed from the FCA instead—that is to say, that a company of FCA would be attached to each infantry battalion of the Regular Army. In that way, regulars and FCA men might become associated more closely with each other in living, in training together.

Above all, I would urge that the question of uniform should not be overlooked. The idea of having a different uniform for the FCA is obnoxious. It makes for division instead of unity between the two Forces. We had the same trouble in the Volunteer Force before the Emergency, where anybody wearing a volunteer force uniform was regarded as a very secondary soldier. We had our own opinions on that and tended to regard the regular men as secondary soldiers. That is not the right spirit to have in the Army. All should be wearing precisely the same uniform.

In general, I would criticise the Minister's speech, because, like all his predecessors, he has made no statement whatsoever on general defence policy. We are not—I certainly am not—any clearer in our minds as to what the general overall defence policy now is. I also feel that the whole question of Army organisation needs a radical revision. The present organisation, in which we have infantry battalions and artillery regiments as separate units, is not suited to our requirements. Every time we have to send further troops to the Congo, we have to make up another maxiumgatherum outfit.

I would hope to see our Army reorganised so that it will consist of comparatively small mixed units— Infantry, Engineers, Field ambulance. Supply and Transport and so on—so that whenever required for service either here or elsewhere some of these units will have been already working and training as units, that they can go overseas or go into action here, if necessary, as units.

None of the so-called battalions we have sent to the Congo has been able to do this and how they have been able to survive the strain and stress of the conditions prevailing there without that close esprit de corps which should exist in an Army unit, I cannot imagine. It can only have been done by superb leadership. Instead of having to scrape the barrel every time, looking for volunteers all over the country, we should in future be able to have small groups of mixed arms ready for action at any time in any place as required and forget about these grandiose titles of battalions, brigades and so on.

I spoke last year on this Estimate, and was gravely misunderstood, on the question of the military parade on Easter Sunday. That parade on Easter Sunday is supposed to be, and is intended to be, in commemoration of the Rising of 1916, but if we were more honest about it, if we felt deeply about it, we would hold that parade either on the calendar anniversary of the Rising or on Easter Monday, because Easter Sunday has no significance, as far as the Rising of 1916 is concerned. It seems to me that the reason for that is that we prefer to have our bank holiday really free and that is a terrible reflection on our sincerity in commemorating that historic event.

The Easter parade this year—I did not see it myself but I have heard quite a lot about it—was extremely smart, almost entirely the product of the FCA because there were not enough regular soldiers to form a worthwhile parade. I do not regard a show of military strength as being a proper way to celebrate the feast of the Resurrection. It only gives us a confusion of thought which is most undesirable. We should move more towards having a day of national remembrance. There is an awful lot to be said for the arrangement they have in Britain and I think we have much to learn from them.

I always hate to see political Parties, small groups and so on, making political propaganda by their attendances by themselves at the graves of our national heroes. I would hope we would grow up a little more in this respect and that when there is a pilgrimage to Bodenstown or a gathering at Arbour Hill, we would go there together for national remembrance and not to take credit to ourselves for being the lineal successors of those who have gone before.

It is invariable, in my short period here, for Fine Gael to make a protest against the failure of the Government to give official remembrance to Michael Collins. It is a reflection on all of us that such criticism has to be made. I would hope we would grow out of that and, possibly in the context of the new Garden of Remembrance at the Rotunda, could agree to celebrate a day of national remembrance. A Sunday might be most suitable for holding a national remembrance, but a military parade on one of the feastdays of the Church sticks in my throat.

Reference has been made to the possible promotion of N.C.O.s and men to commissioned rank. I must speak with care here in an effort to make sure I am not misunderstood. I do not want to block the chances of any N.C.O. or man who is capable of and suitable for holding a commission, but I would be utterly against making it easy for an N.C.O. or man to be granted a commission without getting the full training in the Military College. If there is a hard way of becoming an officer and an easy way, anyone who becomes a commissioned officer the easy way will be regarded by his fellows as a second-rate officer throughout his career. By all means, let cadetships in the Military College be open to a fair proportion of N.C.O.s and men. That is reasonable. It means that when someone who has started his military career in the ranks is finally commissioned, he will stand with his head up, knowing that he is as well qualified in every respect as every other officer who ever left the College. But any suggestion that you could slip in a few cheap commissioned officers to a few easy jobs would be absolutely anathema to me and to most other commissioned officers also. Please do not let us have two classes of officers.

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted, and 20 Members being present,

I now wish to refer to a matter I would have much preferred not to have to refer to at all. I have been wrestling with the Minister and his Department for six months now in order to try to get some measure of justice for an officer of the forces who retired in August last. I have utterly failed to get any measure of justice whatever and I have therefore been forced to adopt the course of raising the matter on this Estimate.

The officer concerned was at one stage appointed as administrative officer of an FCA battalion. This office comprises the two branches of A and Q—he is virtually the Adjutant and Quarter-Master of the FCA battalion concerned. As soon as this officer took up duty and saw the responsibility of the post to which he had been sent, he informed his commanding officer that the staff allotted to him in order to give him security over his stores was entirely insufficient and far below the establishment. His commanding officer was unable to supply any additional staff. It has never been in issue, however, that this officer was placed in a position in which he was unable to carry out his duties with maximum efficiency.

In due course, this officer volunteered for service overseas in the Congo, but shortly before one battalion was due to leave, he was informed, at less than a week's notice, that he had been accepted for duty with that battalion, owing to one of the other officers being unable to travel. Anyone who has served in the Army will know in what an embarrassing situation that officer found himself. He had personally signed for all the stores in that battalion, for all the weapons and equipment of every sort. He was not given, and could not be given, an opportunity of handing over his stores to another officer. He had to report immediately for the special training, inoculation and so forth; and, before he knew where he was, he was overseas.

In due course, some officer had to be appointed to take over the job in the FCA battalion. Very properly, he insisted on a 100 per cent. check of the stores before he signed for anything, and I do not blame him. By that time, the other officer had been overseas for some time. When the 100 per cent. check was carried out, very substantial deficiencies were discovered as a result of which a senior N.C.O. was charged before a civil court and found guilty of theft on a large scale. The sentence imposed on this N.C.O. was one of 12 months' imprisonment with hard labour, the sentence not to be enforced if he repaid forthwith the sum of £200 and the balance of the loss, £463 3s. 9d., within six months. In fact, the sum of £200 was repaid, so the N.C.O. was not sent to prison. He was allowed to go to England to get a job, on the understanding that a job was open to him and that he would be able to make substantial payments within six months.

Unfortunately, that did not come off. As far as I know, the position still is that only £200 has been repaid and the £463 3s. 9d. is still outstanding. Having failed to collect the money from the N.C.O., the Department then decided to collect the money from the officer. The officer had not been on trial. The N.C.O. had, and had been found guilty. The officer had not been involved in the trial in any way but in accordance with Army procedure a court of inquiry was set up to investigate the loss and to establish where responsibility for it lay. It was open to that court of inquiry to hold that the administrative officer of the battalion had failed in his duty to such an extent that he should be made to repay any amount outstanding which had not been paid by the N.C.O. In fact, the court of inquiry appeared to have been so impressed by the evidence given by the officer himself and his commanding officer that their recommendation was that the sum for which the officer would be held liable should not exceed £20, merely a nominal amount. Anyone who has ever signed for a large amount of equipment will probably know that if you could get away with £20, you would be very thankful.

The findings of that court of inquiry have never been published to the officer concerned or to me, but there are ways of finding out the facts and I can state quite categorically, knowing that the Minister cannot deny it, that the maximum amount for which this officer could be held to be liable is £20. What has happened is that, of his gratuity, £486 has been withheld from him from 1st August, 1961, to the present day. The gratuity is payable to the officer on his retirement to help him in setting himself up in private life and the Department has withheld £486 out of a total sum of £892 due to him.

The correspondence began in October and has continued fitfully ever since. In reply to the first letter I wrote to the Minister, he stated in a letter dated 14th December:

As soon as the decision of the civil courts in regard to the N.C.O. is known I will arrange to have the case in so far as the officer is concerned brought to a conclusion with the minimum of delay.

That is the greatest drivelling nonsense because, as the Minister well knows, the only decision which is still before the civil courts is whether a warrant which was subsequently issued for the arrest of the N.C.O. in England was valid or not. The civil court has already decided who was responsible for the loss of the funds, namely, the N.C.O. who stole the material; he was doing a very good business in boots. The decision of the civil courts has been made known and is final. It has placed responsibility for the loss on the N.C.O. and no one else. The only matter which is still open to doubt in any way is how the money is to be recovered.

This is a matter on which I feel very deeply because I have been caught the same way myself. Over many years, it has been the practice of the Department to try to secure repayment of money from the guilty, where possible, and if they cannot get it from the guilty, they will get it from the nearest innocent who is around. That has been my own experience to the extent of £25 and I have never forgotten it. I was adjutant of a battalion and was responsible for pay. I drew the pay and issued it to the officers to pay out to the men. I was temporarily detached from the unit for other duties. I detailed one of my officers to act for me and draw the money and another of my officers to act for me in collecting the balance of pay. Both these officers performed their duties properly and everything was in order until the orderly room sergeant broke into the place where the balance of pay was. It was quite some time before we saw him again and we never saw the balance of pay. A sum of £75 was lost.

There was a court of inquiry and it was established at that court of inquiry that neither I nor either of the other two officers had failed in our duties. I could not have failed in my duty because I was not near the place. I never saw the money. However, after a long discussion in certain quarters unknown to me, each of the three of us received a curt note to say that the sum of £25 would be deducted from our pay in fairly heavy instalments. We appealed in all directions but got no satisfaction except a curt note. When we claimed that this was in contravention of the findings of the court of inquiry, we were informed that while the court of inquiry had not found us responsible, "it has been decided that you will be deemed to have been responsible". That sort of thing is still going on here. An officer has been held not to have been responsible except in a nominal sum and the Minister and his advisers go on drivelling about being unable to decide who will pay up.

In a further letter dated 6th March, the Minister repeats some of what went before and says:

I may say it appears to me that failures by the officer in the administrative responsibilities imposed on him by the relevant Defence Force regulations helped to make possible the theft of the stores.

Where does the Minister get that idea? He did not take evidence himself. It was not the conclusion reached by the court of inquiry which examined all witnesses who were necessary, but the Minister goes on to say:

The officer must expect to be required to make a payment towards the deficiencies.

That is exactly what the court of inquiry decided, that the officer should be required to make a payment of £20. Is the Minister to over-rule the court of inquiry and, if so, on what grounds does he intend to do it?

Here again I have been infuriated by officials of the Department. One to whom I was speaking stated to me that the Minister was not obliged to pay any attention to the court of inquiry, that courts of inquiry were composed of officers whose main job was to cover each other. That may have been intended as a joke. If so, it was a joke in the worst of taste. If it was not a joke, it was most disgraceful libel on a fine body of men. I believe that is still the attitude in the Department on the civil side, that you need not bother about these officers. All you need bother about is balancing the books so that no deficiency will appear in the Appropriation Accounts and come under the notice of the Comptroller and Auditor General and the Committee of Public Accounts. I am convinced of that.

The Minister in his letter of the 6th March says:

I regret that the circumstances of the case have so far precluded a conclusion being reached as to the amount that the officer should be required to pay.

This has been going on for six months. What circumstances of the case have precluded anybody reaching a conclusion? That can only be described as absolute claptrap and nonsense.

Now we come to the question of a letter dated 5th April, from the Secretary of the Department to this officer's solicitors. The solicitors had very properly applied to the Minister and to the Secretary for a copy of the findings of the court of inquiry, but that has been consistently refused. The Minister did state to me, and I think to the solicitors, that, having regard to the findings of the court of inquiry which had investigated the deficiencies, the Department "has no option but to withhold from the gratuity payable to the officer sufficient money to cover any possible loss to public funds". There the Minister has taken shelter behind the findings of the court of inquiry and now neither he nor the Secretary of the Department is willing to disclose the findings of the court of inquiry, even though the officer and I know perfectly well what they are, and I think the Minister knows perfectly well that I know. But this formal notification of the findings of the court of inquiry has been withheld, and the Secretary of the Department in a letter dated 5th April to the solicitors states as follows:

I am to inform you that the Defence Act, 1954, and regulations made thereunder, prescribe the cases in which there is an entitlement to a copy of the proceedings and findings of a court of inquiry. Your client's is not such a case and consequently he is not entitled to a copy of the findings of the court of inquiry to which you refer. The question of entitlement to a copy of the findings of a court of inquiry is dealt with in Section 123 of the Rules of Procedure, S.I. No. 243 of 1954.

I will quote S.I. No. 243 of 1954:

A person subject to military law shall be entitled to a copy of the proceedings and findings of a court of inquiry on request by him and upon making payment therefor at a rate of four pennies for every folio of 70 words——

Subparagraph (a) is not relevant in the present case, but I will quote subparagraph (b), which is:

(b) where his character or military reputation is in the opinion of the Minister adversely affected by anything in the proceedings or findings of such court unless the Minister sees reason to order otherwise.

That gives the right or entitlement of a person to the findings of a court of inquiry. Though the Secretary of the Department does not state it quite so specifically, I could see quite clearly that there are various ways in which this can be interpreted to prevent the solicitors interested on behalf of their client getting a copy of the findings of the court of inquiry.

It may be contended that the officer concerned, since he is not serving, is not subject to military law and is not, therefore, entitled to this concession. Admittedly, that is a fact, but also admittedly this officer will be called up for annual training during the current year and, as soon as he walks through the barrack gates, he is subject to military law and can demand a copy of the findings of the court of inquiry. Why, in the name of all that is wonderful, must we have all this beating about the bush? Because this week he is not subject to military law, we will not give it to him, but we admit we will be forced to give it to him next week?

This matter has dragged on for nine months now. The same sort of silly game is being played all the time. It can possibly be contended that under subparagraph (b) the officer's character or reputation is not, in the opinion of the Minister, adversely affected. If the Minister has come to that conclusion, that the officer's character and military reputation are not adversely affected by the findings of the court of inquiry, how, in the name of all that is wonderful, can he justify the retention of £486 out of his gratuity? If an officer in charge of stores has, through sheer carelessness or lack of diligence, lost £486 worth of public property, his military reputation must be at least adversely affected, even if his character is not.

The Minister must make up his mind, one way or the other, as to whether the officer's reputation is adversely affected. If it is, the Minister must give the findings to him, "unless he sees reason to order otherwise". That beautiful general provision crept in, I am sure, by mistake. I am sure the Minister is not a coward. I do not believe he would take refuge for one moment behind that phrase. The fact is that the Minister has justified the withholding from this gratuity of a very substantial amount by quoting the fact that a court of inquiry has sat and refused, at the same time, to disclose what that court of inquiry found.

The Secretary of the Department of Defence goes on to say in his letter of 5th April:

The balance of the gratuity is withheld from the officer pursuant to Article 39 (9) of the Defence Forces Pensions Scheme, 1937, as inserted by Article 33 of the Defence Forces Pensions (Amendment) Scheme, 1947——

That is a quite shocking mouthful. What it really means, having checked with the regulations, is that there can be deducted from any gratuity any money due or owing to a State authority; but no one has proved that any money whatever, above a maximum of £20, can possibly be said to be due or owing by this officer to any State authority.

The letter states further:

The gratuity may be withheld until the amount of the deduction is ascertained.

Now the amount of the deduction has already been ascertained by the court of inquiry as £20. Someone, somewhere, is obviously plugging this in order to balance the books. I will not stand for that in any circumstances. I think it is about time we blew this whole rotten system wide open and made it perfectly clear that officers, N.C.O.s and men will not be tyrannised over by the civil side of the Department of Defence. No one could possibly justify the delay that has taken place in this case.

I have pestered the Minister's office. I have got in touch with him as often as I could; I have written as often as I could. I found tremendous goodwill but a complete inability to do anything in this case. I even reached the stage when I thought I had ensured that the file in this case would be brought formally before the Minister for his attention. It got as far as his private secretary and it was then taken away again for somebody's attention. It did not come back to the Minister for weeks; I was still pressing the matter and I was told the file had left the Minister's office. I was told: "I am sorry. The file has gone. It very nearly got to the Minister but somebody else took it away." That is not the way to run a Department. I ask the Minister now to dig his heels in and give an order that all the facts of this case shall be brought to his notice at once. He will read it in less than an hour. The court proceedings might take a couple of hours to read, but I am convinced the Minister will be able to read the entire file in less than an hour. I know in my heart and soul that once he does that, he will know that the action taken against this officer is intolerable.

I hope that at this stage justice will not only be done but will be seen to be done. I also hope the Minister will take every possible step open to him to ensure that never again will an injustice like this be perpetrated on any member of the Army. This case is typical of the way in which the Army is treated. The members are treated like small boys. They are given the "run around" by somebody, somebody referred to anonymously as "Finance". Any civil servant to whom you refer in the Department makes the invariable reply: "Oh, Finance would not like it." A lovely excuse! No individual is mentioned and, therefore, one cannot pin it on anybody. It is a fine excuse to cover doing nothing or doing something damnably wrong.

I would ask the Minister, therefore, to assert himself in this case and to give an order that the outstanding amount of the gratuity which has already been granted by him to this officer shall be paid forthwith—and when I say "forthwith" I do not mean next month. The question has been under consideration for month after month after month. No excuse has been given whatsoever. I should like to apologise for detaining the House for so long on this matter but I feel deeply about it. I hope that by speaking as I have, I shall get some acknowledgment of justice for this officer and for many other officers who otherwise may be penalised unjustly.

I want to raise two matters on this Estimate. The first is the position which has arisen, and which was referred to here on a previous occasion, about officers who had their service shortened by a regulation made in 1957. The position is that in 1949 the Minister for Defence amended the regulations to provide for one year's additional service for any officer who had pre-Truce 1916-21 service. That allowed an officer, no matter what his rank, an additional year, provided he had that service.

In 1954, there was a further amendment of the regulation. It provided an additional two years of service, making it three years in all, for officers with pre-Truce service. Certain specific requirements were laid down. The officer must be certified as medically fit for further service. He must be certified to the Chief of Staff as capable of fulfilling the duties of the appointment he holds. The Minister must be satisfied, and must so certify, that it would be in the best interests of the service if the officer continued to serve the additional two years.

With the exception of probably two officers who were otherwise eligible, all officers who requested recognition for pre-Truce service were granted the extensions. In 1957, the Minister's predecessor brought in an amendment which cancelled the 1954 regulation and which allowed only the first year, instead of allowing the three years. The first year was allowed and the two subsequent years were withdrawn.

As a result of discussions here and consideration by the Government, a scheme was introduced whereby officers who had the two-year period withdrawn from them were granted the appropriate pay and allowances for the two years after they had retired, just as if they had continued to serve in the particular rank. That seemed reasonable enough except that it denied the officers who had been granted this particular benefit, on account of their service, the possibility of promotion and to that extent it probably prevented some of them from availing of additional service. In some cases it at least compensated for the loss of appointment. That represented some measure of restitution for the wrong that was done to them.

However, in 1959 and again in 1961 —on two occasions in 1961 and on one occasion in 1959—pay increases were granted to Army personnel. The officers concerned who had retired received these pay increases by virtue of the fact that they were still drawing the appropriate pay and allowances, just as if they were serving, but with this big difference. For all other officers, including those serving in the same rank side by side with them, whatever the rank was, the pay increases granted counted for pension purposes whereas, in the case of the officers who had unjustly been deprived of these two additional years, the pay increases granted did not apply for pension purposes.

This matter was raised both in the House and with the Minister for Defence and with the appropriate Departments. It was felt—and I believe the Minister will agree—that these officers were unjustly deprived of the two additional years. I think it was the first time since the State was established that serving personnel in the Army, Civil Service or any other public appointment had service curtailed. In nearly all cases, any change in conditions would be to grant an extension. In those cases, the officers concerned were granted the pay and allowances for the appropriate two years but they were denied two important considerations.

If these officers had continued to serve, they might have got promotion which would entitle them to serve for some additional years because they would automatically continue to serve until the appropriate age limit for their rank had been reached. However, over and above that — and this is the injustice I want the Minister to consider and to remedy because I believe he will see that the treatment they received was inequitable—these officers now find they have got the appropriate pay increases that have been given to serving officers but, in the case of serving officers, their pensions will be increased accordingly and on the basis, up to the present, of three increases, one in December, 1959, one in February, 1961, and the last one in November, 1961.

I believe the Minister appreciates the great service these officers have given. They were all in the Army at the foundation of the State—the Army which has universally been accepted as the pride of the nation and, indeed, as the bulwark of our freedom. Many Army officers received their initial training from some of these old-time officers who had pre-Truce Old IRA service. Particularly as the sum of money involved is not considerable, it was very unjust treatment. The injustice is manifest when we realise that their pension is accordingly reduced compared with that of officers who served with them and who were entitled to prior——

I do not like to interrupt the Deputy but I should prefer to deal with that matter on the next Vote—Pensions. I was listening to him when he related his remarks to service.

If the Minister likes, I can raise it on the Pensions Vote. The particular amendment to which I refer is an amendment of the regulations as they apply to service. That is why I raise the matter now. I can raise it on the Pensions Vote.

It is only on the pensions angle——

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted, and 20 Members being present,

If the Minister considers that I should raise the matter on the Pensions Vote, I can do so.

I can reply to the speech just made by the Deputy on the Pensions Vote, if he so prefers it. He will not then have to repeat it.

On the question of recruiting publicity, I believe the Minister should get the services of publicity agents. If necessary, agents should be appointed for recruiting campaigns. The advertisements and recruiting publicity in general are unattractive. I think it is correct to say that neither a civil servant nor a member of the Army personnel is normally qualified to undertake publicity campaigns. As I understand it, the recruiting publicity is a joint effort of the civil and military personnel of the Department.

It has often struck me that if the services of professional publicity agents were secured the recruiting campaigns could be stepped up considerably and the publicity could be more attractively presented to the public. It may be that the most effective publicity would be to improve the general conditions of the service as well as the pay. On the other hand, most recruits are familiar enough with the pay and the other conditions obtaining. The publicity arrangements in general leave a good deal to be desired. If the services of professional publicity agents were availed of—if necessary, the matter could be put to tender—the very substantial improvement secured in the publicity arrangements, with, I hope, a consequential increase in the numbers offering at the various recruiting centres, would repay the expense involved.

I wonder does the Minister know or realise the importance of the Conditions of Employment Act? It seems strange that a Department of State and the Minister for Defence should consider that that Department and that Minister are immune from giving decent conditions of employment. I have in mind one point on which I want to dwell in particular on this Estimate, that is, the inhuman conditions meted out to the employees of the Department on the DOD launches in Cork Harbour.

A few years ago, there was a move to interfere with the conditions then obtaining. Another member of the House was Minister at the time and I am glad to say that in view of representations which were made, he dealt with the issue and found that any proposal which would worsen their conditions would be unfair and unjust to the people concerned. During the past few years—it is correct to say that this happened before the Minister took office but it happened during the lifetime of the Government—two crews have been expected to operate the Department's launches in Cork Harbour on the basis of a 24-hour day, 365 days of the year. In the past, three crews were employed and between them they were able to make arrangements whereby each crew on different occasions would have at least one Sunday free.

Now there has been a change in the position in regard to this part of the Department which is so closely connected with the Navy at Haulbowline, because of the fact that the Department and the Minister apparently found that from the point of view of economy it was incumbent on them to dispense with the services of one crew. Nowhere outside a Department of State would such conditions be tolerated. The Minister should delve into the matter if he has not done so already, and see to it that these crews which, in the past, enjoyed a fair standard of employment conditions, are brought back to strength. It should not be left to two crews to operate the service for the full year. Undoubtedly they can be compelled to be available on a 24-hour basis.

The Minister dwelt on the importance of Civil Defence. There is no need for me to go into it in detail but I want to say here—as I said at a local authority meeting—that this is another issue on which the Central Government have found it suitable to transfer and unload much of their financial liability on to the local authorities. The Minister may say that the grant payable has been increased from 60 per cent. to 70 per cent., but he must not forget the fact that within the past few years an instruction was issued to the local authorities enforcing a certain line of approach by them which would ultimately mean increased expenditure by them. Like many other people, I believe that Civil Defence should be directly tied up with the Department, that the expenditure involved should be from the Central Fund and that the local authorities should not be called on for any part of it. The Minister may say that it gives them a great feeling of satisfaction, even if they have to pay in part, if it is known that they are taking a direct part in Civil Defence.

We had a tragic experience in Cork city and county a few months ago when devastation was caused by flooding and unfortunately our Civil Defence force was in the backwash of it all. I am not blaming the members for this, but it must be clear to everybody that the organisation has no organisation at all and that goes also for the Department of Defence and for the Army command stationed at Cork at that time. When people found themselves stranded in the streets, it was only at the last moment that the Army found it necessary to provide some help.

When we talk of our Civil Defence and of our commitments, internationally and nationally, it must be understood that charity must begin at home. If we have a well trained Army, it is not enough to say that we have trained it for overseas duties. It is also important to understand that in a case like the flooding in Cork, the first duty of the Army, the Civil Defence organisation, the Department of Defence and of the Minister must be to step into the gap and help our own people in such tragic circumstances.

In his statement to the House the Minister spoke of housing. I think it is just a question of speaking of it each year, no matter what Minister may be responsible and no matter what Government may be in power. It is unfair that year after year the responsibility of housing our soldiers should be thrown on the shoulders of the local authorities. I have been attacked for saying that and some people inside this House and outside it say that I was complaining about soldiers getting houses. Never will I say that our soldiers should not have decent houses, but I repeat that the obligation is on the Minister for Defence, his Department and the Government of the day to see that when the Estimates are prepared, money will be provided for the erection of houses in the areas where troops are stationed.

In Cork, a burden has been imposed on the local authorities in Ballincollig and other areas because the Department and the Minister have failed in their duty to provide sufficient houses and the local authorities must fill the gap. It means that there must be a scramble between the members of the Army and other families as to who will get in when a house becomes vacant. That should and must stop. A few years ago, we had £4,000 or £5,000 each spent on a few houses but those were not for N.C.O.s. The time has now come when we should build comfortable homes for N.C.O.s and other ranks. That may be one of the matters affecting recruiting in the Army at the moment.

Deputy Booth touched on a point on which I have strong views. Whether I agree with what he said is immaterial but he went so far as to suggest that there may be two ways of getting promotion in the Army. I believe that is true. A few years ago I drew the attention of the then Minister for Defence to the fact that promotion was being given to a certain Army officer whose name was well down on the list for promotion. An election intervened and nothing happened, but shortly afterwards I found that something did happen. I found that being high up in the queue did not mean any advantage. In that case, one side of the family was Fianna Fáil and the other side was Fine Gael and promotion was given to the man concerned. If that is happening in other cases, it must be obvious why there is discontent in certain branches of the Army.

The Minister has mentioned that nothing has been decided about the improvement and the standardisation of the uniform. It is taking a long time to do anything about it. I believe that if the Minister is interested and anxious about a build of Army strength, this is one of the matters with which he should concern himself. Members of the House are wondering why the recruiting drives have not succeeded but I believe that one of the best ways to be sure of getting recruits is to make it hard to get into the Army. The Army should be made a good career for good young boys. Many young boys would be interested in a career in the Army, if they and their parents were shown that there are genuine prospects in it. If that is done, we may find that recruitment will not be so difficult.

It is deplorable to read in the newspapers, knowing the high quality of the men we have in our Army, of pleas being made in court when some ruffian down the country appears there, that he be given a chance and that he will join the Army. That is what is happening. Such cases may be few and far between but these people are not needed in an army and they should not be allowed in an army, particularly in the Irish Army.

Finally, I suggest to the Minister that if we want to recruit successfully, we can do so on the basis of regarding the trained Army which we had before the emergency as the nucleus of a genuine Army, combining good training with satisfactory conditions for the young men and a guarantee that politics will not help or hinder their advancement and that fair play will be given to them. That must be coupled with what the Minister must remember, that above all if we want to succeed, we must do away with the enforced "snobocracy" which exists in the Army. It is tragic to know, as we all know, that if an officer meets a friend or friends, perhaps from his own parish, in Dublin or elsewhere, he cannot go in for a drink except to an hotel. Then we speak about the old British Army and its ideas. Is it not time that we gave a little more freedom and encouraged a little more independent, individual democracy within the Army? If we do that, we may get somewhere, but if we continue as we are, we shall be a lot worse than the British Army or armies on the Continent, with regard to autocracy, within the next ten years.

I should like to join with the other Deputies who complimented our overseas Forces. They deserve any praise which we, as public representatives, can give them. I should also like to join with the Minister in congratulating the various business interests and private individuals who have helped to improve conditions for the soldiers overseas. The Red Cross are also to be complimented on the fine work they are doing to ensure that there is adequate reading material and so on for the troops abroad.

The Minister in the course of his speech pointed out that the prestige and morale of the Army is extremely high. He also pointed out that certain pay increases and so forth had been granted recently but then he went on to say that the recent recruiting campaign did not succeed in bringing up the strength of the non-commissioned ranks to the figure of 8,000. There are two aspects of that position. I agree with Deputy Booth and other speakers that the advertising has not been good. It could be a lot better and a proper firm of advertising agents, if not already employed, should be consulted about this campaign.

On the other hand, the difficulty now in getting recruits for the Army is a good reflection of our economy as a whole. There are so many other employment opportunities that the necessity, shall I say, merely just to find work in the Army is not there. The previous speaker referred to that attitude: "If there is no employment anywhere else, we can join the Army." That is a bad attitude and one we should get away from.

In the Army, there is fine training for our young men, including technical training. There is also the prospect now of promotion to the commissioned ranks from the non-commissioned ranks. When a soldier reaches the rank of sergeant, he can be considered for promotion to the rank of secondlieutenant.

There are a few matters which have been brought to my attention and I mention them for what they are worth. They may be called small, petty grievances, but, at the same time, they could be serious grievances for the individual. The Minister referred to the depleted Force we have today as a result of sending our battalion to the Congo and that on those soldiers who remain at home fall extra liability for duty. There is a feeling in the Dublin barracks that the incidences of duty are far too heavy. If we cannot get the recruits, then, to my mind, we should consider whether or not we have too many barracks in operation. If it comes to a question of closing barracks, I know that if they are outside Dublin, the traders and others will be protesting and there will be a lot of adverse criticism. I suppose the same thing would apply if one of the Dublin barracks were to be closed. Nevertheless it is worth considering because if these incidences of duty were to be reduced, many more men would be glad to stay in the Army after serving their minimum time. I make that suggestion for what it is worth.

There are other matters which I considered reasonable when they were put to me. One is the question of technicians in the Army. I believe these men should be considered for a higher rate of remuneration. That would help the situation there. Another matter which could be very easily dealt with without any real cost to the State, and help to make the Army more attractive, would be to enable a recruit to qualify for three stars, if he were found suitable and passed the necessary test to qualify for the private, first class, rank, within six months. The extra few shillings a week attached to this promotion means a lot to the young boy, as does the dignity of wearing the three stars on his arm. The Minister should look into that possibility of enabling this promotion to take place as soon as possible within six months.

The previous speaker referred to housing. I can say that in Dublin, with the exception of a few new houses built for officers, the housing in the barracks is completely inadequate. If members of the local authority were to examine these houses, they would regard them as unsuitable for habitation and plan a scheme for rebuilding them entirely. I do not believe that our barracks lend themselves to proper renovation, and this can be coupled with my former suggestion of closing a barracks. If the Minister were to consider rebuilding the barracks in Dublin, he should close down one of them and knock down all those buildings and rebuild them. Then we would have people in the city rushing to join the Army because of the prospects of decent living accommodation which they have not got at the moment. The standard of living accommodation provided in Dublin is a very sore point with the soldiers.

On top of that, we have a large number of overholders in the Dublin barracks. These are people who are no longer in the Army. I know of one family who have been waiting 13 years for suitable outside accommodation. This will not be provided for them by the local authority, on the ground that the size of the family is too small. They cannot collect their pension until such time as they leave the barracks and it is held up for them. It would seem in some cases that they will never receive it but, perhaps, the beneficiaries under the wills might. The local authority in Dublin treat overholders in the same way as they treat other applicants for houses. People who have been stationed, say, in Cathal Brugha barracks for 20 or 30 years and come out of the Army and want to get accommodation are told they can get accommodation in Finglas West. All their friends, associates and so on of their 30 years in the Army are in the vicinity of Rathmines but the local authority say that under the present system of priorities they cannot provide housing for them in the Rathmines area. I would ask the Minister to make very special representations to the Minister for Local Government and Dublin Corporation to give these people that extra priority which they deserve after many years of service in our armed forces. When these people are housed, more accommodation, poor and all as it is, will become available to a long waiting list of people seeking barrack accommodation.

The introduction of the 90 day pre-discharge leave was an extremely good step. However, a lot of people who take their pre-discharge leave find great difficulty getting civilian employment during that 90 day period. All the Government Departments in particular should make a very special effort to recruit into their civilian employment soldiers on pre-discharge leave. The State has a responsibility to these men and that responsibility can best be carried out, by giving these people State employment. They do not look for anything very special. They will accept positions as cleaners or messengers or any other positions that might be available or employment in the Ordnance Survey in Clancy Barracks.

There are just a few other points I should like to make. The Minister, in reply to a question, said that it is not his intention to increase the gratuity paid to members of the FCA when they have done their training in camp. I agree that the gratuity, as it is paid at present, should not be increased. What I think is required here is the payment of an incentive bonus based on the hours of parade carried out by the individual during the previous year. I understand there are some, not many, members of the FCA who serve their minimum number of hours on parade in training in order to go to camp. They very much like going to camp with the FCA in the summer. Other FCA members who attend every parade get no extra consideration in regard to payment of the gratuity. I mentioned this matter some two or three years ago and I had hoped that I would have heard something further about it. At that time I was not long out of the FCA. I was very close to the problem. In fact, there is discontent among the best of the FCA men when they see the less active member getting the same gratuity even though he has not put in one-quarter of the time of the best men in actual training.

I understand that the Reserve gratuity is the same now as it was pre-war. That certainly warrants examination if it is true. I understand it is true. I should like the Minister to examine that matter also during the coming year and, perhaps, next year he would consider increasing the Reserve gratuity.

I should also like to mention that officers who are in the Reserve have to do three weeks training every year. I submit that a two weeks refresher course should be sufficient and three weeks is a little bit more than is necessary. I hope the Minister will consider these few remarks.

I should like to take this opportunity of complimenting the members of our Irish Army. I agree with every Deputy who paid tribute to the courage, skill and gallantry of the Irish soldiers— particularly those men who carried the colours of the United Nations in the Congo and who excelled from the point of view of efficiency, skill, determination and devotion to duty.

The manner in which the members of our Defence Forces have conducted themselves both at home and abroad is something that deserves a complimentary comment from us on the occasion of the voting by Parliament of the necessary moneys to run our Army. I have often felt that sooner or later our Government would have to decide whether or not an Army was necessary. If we decide that an Army is necessary in this country, then we should decide its cost to the taxpayer. If we should have an army we should vote sufficient moneys to see that it would not be an army in name but an army in strength and efficiency.

I have always felt that all native Governments were niggardly in regard to the Defence Estimate when we see that in most countries one of the first demands on Government is for defence, the defence of their territorial rights and the defence of their citizens. Many of our taxpayers may ask if our Army at the present time is really worth what it costs. Once we have decided to have an Army, we ought not to tinker with the problem. If there is any degree of discontent in our Defence Forces, that has a general unfavourable reaction throughout the country. The Minister for Defence, when he is responsible for providing for an Army, should see to it that sufficient funds are provided to ensure that the Army is trained in the most modern way, that it has the most up-to-date equipment, irrespective of cost and that training is in accordance with modern warfare training. If we have an army and if training is based on the warfare of 100 years ago, we will be behind time and probably sooner or later, we will be caught napping.

It is encouraging to read in the various reports on the conduct of United Nations troops in the Congo that the Irish soldiers have received wonderful recognition. When our troops arrive in the Congo, they are subjected to training, lectures and exercises which last from three to six weeks and I am told that their ability and willingness to learn have been described as the best among the United Nations troops.

The efficiency of our Army is something which draws favourable comment from our people and I should like to hear from the Minister whether he is quite satisfied that our Army at the present time is undergoing the most up-to-date training essential in modern warfare. We know that the high-ranking officers of the armies of other countries, for instance, Britain and the United States, hold conferences from time to time to keep in touch with each other's developments and I am wondering if our highranking Army officers participate in such conferences in order that we may keep in line with the very best methods of troop training. I feel sure the Army authorities have this matter under review and that it cannot be said that we are lagging behind other countries in the care we take properly to train our soldiers.

I am afraid, though, we are lagging considerably in respect to the weapons with which we are providing our troops, the weapons we provide to give instructions in modern warfare to young recruits. I am not at all satisfied that we have at our disposal equipment which would compare favourably with that provided for the armies of other countries. If we are to have an Army at all let us equip it properly, irrespective of the cost. Let us have either no Army or a good one, properly and efficiently trained.

It is usual for armies throughout the world to have sports sections. In our case we have had reason to be proud of our Army Jumping Team. We have also our Army bands and I should like to refer to them for a few moments. In recent years we have heard nothing about the Army School of Music. Neither have we heard much about our three Army bands in the country areas. There are occasions on which they appear in Dublin but I would emphasise that the Army belongs to the people. The people are paying for it and I suggest that when any community calls upon one of these bands to make an appearance on a special occasion there should be no hindrance to their doing it. If there is a Director of Music in the Army I suggest that he should consider reorganising the Army bands with a view to letting them down the country more often.

The same criticism applies in respect to the Army Jumping Team. A number of very important agricultural shows are held throughout the country, at which the organisers have requested that some of our Army riders should appear. On some occasions the applications have been granted but generally speaking I feel that the Army Jumping Team do not put in as many appearances on such occasions as our people would like. The old timers of the Army Jumping Team like Captain Aherne, Commandant Corry and the late Captain Tubridy brought distinction and honour to this country but nowadays for some reason, whether it be our method of training or something else, I think there is something lacking.

We look forward to better things from the Army Jumping Team and I suggest that no expense be spared in endeavouring to ensure that we have the best riders and animals in this team. It would be quite wrong for the Minister or any official of his Department, whether from the point of view of expense or otherwise, to impede any efforts or plans the Army Jumping Team have for improvement. The Minister should forthwith give his approval for such plans and see that no red tape is put in the way.

It is true that last year the Army Jumping Team were reasonably successful but I feel also that a lot of this was due to the personal brilliance of Captain Ringrose and of one or two of his colleagues. The team are as much the concern of all our people as is the Army itself. Their performances are something we always watch with interest, something we want to feel proud of, so I would suggest to the Minister that no expense be spared in providing the Army with the best riders and horses available.

I want to refer briefly to the question of Civil Defence and to say that even now the great importance of it has not been brought home fully to all our people. A great number of people in rural areas are quite conversant with the importance of Civil Defence but there are thousands in this country who still do not realise how important, urgent and necessary it is. We are living in extraordinary times when men have already entered outer space and countries contemplate landing men on the moon. Anyone who reads the debates in the British House of Commons will realise the progress made in regard to Civil Defence and that we are far behind. We shall get nowhere if we merely tinker with the problem and start counting pennies and halfpennies. Both lives and property may be saved if we are generous.

The Director of Civil Defence here is a man who has devoted much of his life to the study of this subject. In my opinion, he and his officers should go to the various centres throughout the country and address public meetings there explaining the importance of Civil Defence. A campaign to solicit the co-operation of all should be started. One hears the ratepayers in every county asking what is Civil Defence and where their money is going. They would know what it was if an atomic bomb were dropped in the south of Scotland or the north of England and the wind was blowing in a certain direction.

They would never remember.

They probably would not. Now that Telefís Éireann is functioning well, at least seven or ten minutes should be devoted before or after the news to a talk on Civil Defence, a demonstration or a film showing what the consequences can be in countries that are not prepared for an attack. The Department of Defence have a number of such films; I have seen them. They should not be kept in boxes under lock and key in GHQ at Parkgate Street. They should be used because they would be of great value in showing the people the horrors of modern warfare.

Yet Fine Gael voted against the provision of money for the Civil Defence organisation at Dublin Corporation.

I am not a member of Dublin Corporation and I do not expect ever to be one.

The Deputy is going to be Lord Mayor sometime.

I do not think so. If Deputy Lemass says certain members voted against the provision of money for Civil Defence at Dublin Corporation, it shows that in this Party, unlike Fianna Fáil, we can express our opinions. If I were a member of Dublin Corporation and were asked to vote money for Civil Defence, I would do so readily. I believe that if its importance were brought home to the people by a campaign such as I have suggested, there is no taxpayer who would not subscribe generously, in the realisation that he was subscribing for the safety of his family and the protection of his property. It is a matter of the most vital importance.

But it is not the job of the local authority; it is a national problem.

Agreed—that is what I was coming to. Deputy Lemass referred to local authorities contributing to civil defence. I believe Dublin Corporation should not be asked to provide money for the service, and neither should any other local authority. This is a national problem and it should be the duty of the State to provide the money. The Department of Defence should not pass the buck to the local authorities, who are already overburdened with responsibilities.

Tributes have rightly been paid to the Red Cross but I believe there is not the same life in the organisation as there was during and after the emergency. The Minister should give the lead in calling for a complete reorganisation of the Red Cross throughout the country. I should like to pay a very special tribute to the past President of the Red Cross who has done so much excellent work, both at home and abroad. I am referring, of course, to Mrs. Tom Barry. She deserves the gratitude of everybody for the valuable work she has done and the enthusiasm she has shown as head of the organisation in the past. In many parts of the country, the Red Cross only exists in name. There should be a complete reorganisation which would provide for lectures such as those held during and after the emergency. There has been a most regrettable falling off in Red Cross activity, and the Minister would be well advised to consult those responsible so as to bring about a reawakening of interest.

Reference has been made to housing for Army personnel. Local authorities are already overburdened with demands for housing and the Department of Defence should concentrate on the provision of houses for members of the Defence Forces. Much remains to be done and the Department would be well advised to plan ahead to see what steps can be taken to provide ample and suitable housing.

Members of the Defence Forces should have free passes on public transport. That is something which could be easily arranged, since private transport here is so very limited and since public transport is the monopoly of one company, CIE. All serving members of the Defence Forces should be allowed to travel free on buses and trains, where and when they like. That is a facility which members of the defence forces enjoy in other countries. The board of directors of CIE are sufficiently patriotic to realise the importance of that and I believe if a reasonable approach were made by the Minister, arrangements could be made for such free transport.

I agree with what other Deputies have said in regard to the Army uniform. This matter has been hanging fire for quite a long time. Without commenting upon it at any length, may I express the hope that the Minister will do something to improve the quality of the cloth and to make the uniform more up-to-date in every respect? The present uniform is unsuitable and by no means attractive.

In places where members of the Defence Forces are gathered, there appear to be—it may not be so but the Minister has the facts and figures —almost as many officers in the Army as men. That is the criticism you will hear from the ordinary people down the country, but the fact is that there is an officer for every six or seven men in the Army. I wonder is our Army officer top-heavy? It is something that will have to be examined and perhaps the Minister will comment on it.

In regard to the use of Army transport I want to have this placed on the record. A few weeks ago, when there was an official strike in which the public transport services were in chaos, Army lorries and trucks were about to relieve the situation. I have no sympathy for unofficial strikers and no strike ought to be recognised unless the trade union is responsible for calling the strike. However, in an official strike, where the trade unions have taken action, our Army transport ought not be permitted to scab on trade unions, and it is desirable that members of this House should express their views in that regard. I hope the Minister will be very slow to call upon the services of the Army for transport or any other assistance because very easily there might be a very serious conflict between the trade unions, the organised workers, the general public and the Army, and our Army ought not to be dragged into anything of that kind.

Without commenting any further on that, I would appeal to the Minister not to allow the transport section of our Army to adopt the policy of scabbing on the trade unions. I hope that will be borne in mind by the Army authorities if the occasion should ever arise. The trade union movement in this country deserves recognition and appreciation. I realise the reason the Minister was about to bring out Army transport was the unofficial strike action. No one has sympathy for that kind of strike action but where strike action is brought about properly, legally and through peaceful means by the trade unions, the Army should not be asked to scab on the worker and, particularly, on the trade unions.

Will the Minister not advert to the fact that in our Army at the present time there is a degree of discontent in regard to promotion? I do not care what the Minister may say in that regard—there have been too many instances in which pull was responsible for the promotion. If it was not political pull, it was due to the fact that the person who obtained the promotion was from a distinguished family. If our young people are to have confidence in the Army as a career, their minds ought to be disabused of the idea that unless there is a certain amount of pull, promotion will not be granted. There is clear evidence that in recent years promotions were granted over the heads of those who should in the ordinary way have qualified for promotion. When a person receives promotion over the head of a more highly qualified person, the only answer is that there must be pull in some place.

Let the Minister not try to explain it away. We all know that there is a certain amount of pull. I agree with Deputies who have already spoken that it is wrong for army promotions to be made along those lines. Our young people cannot have confidence in the Army as a career when such a position obtains. The Minister would be well advised to have the question of Army promotions examined and to give an assurance in this regard. However, even his assurance is insufficient because the facts are there that certain promotions in the Army have not been as well merited as they might have been and that certain people who had great merit on their side were passed over because of lack of pull.

The Minister pointed out very clearly that the recruiting campaign failed. Why would it not fail if the ordinary man is being asked to join the Army without pull? If pull is to take him to higher places, it will be no encouragement to him to join the Defence Forces without it. If our young people are asked to join the Defence Forces, they must be given something. It must be conveyed to them that there is a future for them in the Army. I take very great exception to comments that have been made by people in high places, for instance, from the Bench, when certain citizens appear in the courts and pleas have been made: "Let him off and we shall get him into the Defence Forces." Our Army should be for the select, for the best type of people, not for every rag-tag who wants to avoid the prison gates.

That type of person should not be taken into the Army. If it were more difficult for people to get into the Army, there would be more respect for it. I hope the idea will not go out that the Army in this country is for the rough type of citizen. The Army can be a great career. Those who serve in it should be honoured to serve in it. Only the best should be taken in to it. It is time the Minister took steps to prevent slighting of the Army. I agree with the Deputy who said that the honour of our Army should be upheld.

The Army provides an excellent career. In it men can get first-class training. The reason why the recent recruiting campaign was not a success is easy to find. It was not that men had found employment outside the Army and that the rates of pay outside were better; it was the tide of emigration. Most of our young men have emigrated. They are not there to answer any call that may come. It is no use for a Deputy to try to pretend that the men are not there because they are all working. That is nonsense. The men are working maybe, but they are working in England. Stand out side any church gate in rural Ireland on Sunday and watch the people coming out from Mass; the congregation is composed of the very young and the very old. There are no in-betweens. According to GAA reports, there are many vacant sportsfields throughout the country. The young people have gone.

If we want people to join the Army, there will have to be some change in conditions. Army life will have to be made more attractive. This is 1962. It is ridiculous that soldiers should still have to look for late passes if they want to visit friends, go to the cinema, or to dances. It can be very humiliating seeking these passes. They have to be begged for. All that should be eliminated. The old idea of the sergeant-major roaring at the men to get here and get there should also be eliminated. The sooner we realise that the private is as good as the most senior officer, the better it will be for us and for the Army. The sooner snobbery is wiped out the better it will be. There is a great deal of snobbery in the Army. Officers must keep a certain standing, but there is no need for them to jostle privates out of the way. We will have to break down the snobbery. Not all high-ranking officers are guilty in this respect. Some of them are kind, courteous and considerate. Others would need lessons in courtesy and civility.

I shall give the House an instance. The wife of a member of the Defence Forces made representations to a Deputy in relation to housing accommodation and in relation to an incident that occurred in the Army. The communication was passed on. A very severe reprimand was given to the soldier and the officer commented that he held in the greatest contempt any man who could stoop so low as to write to a member of the Dáil. A good many of these Army officers think that they are the be-all and end-all, and head-of-all. They should remember that this House is the supreme authority in this country. If any soldier's wife wishes to write to a member of this House, she is free to do so. A soldier ought not to be penalised or reprimanded because his wife communicates grievances or problems to a member of the Dáil or Seanad. Officers who behave after the fashion of the officer in the case I have mentioned do the Army grave harm. They certainly do it no good. I have had correspondence with the Minister in regard to the particular case. May I say I believe the soldier, but I do not believe the officer? Subsequent inquiries proved that he gave the reprimand.

I should like to appeal to the Minister to increase the Reserve gratuity. I am reliably informed that it has not been increased since before the War. I trust the Minister will take the necessary steps to bring about an increase.

The Army is the people's Army. The Army should not be prevented from honouring its founder, General Michael Collins. The Minister should battle courageously through the difficulties he will encounter with his colleagues in ensuring that the memory of the founder of the Army is suitably honoured at Beal-na-Blath. The people in Cork, particularly West Cork, deplore the present attitude. Not alone they, but people throughout the length and breadth of the country, look upon Michael Collins as the greatest Irishman of this century and one of the greatest Irishmen in history. To prevent the Army from honouring its founder is something that has not met with favour within the Army. It is something which it is generally felt is preventing the Army authorities from doing their duty honourably and loyally of paying a well-deserved tribute to the great Irishman responsible for the foundation of the Army.

I appeal to the Minister to permit the Army to take part in the annual commemoration at Beal na Blath next August. We owe it, the Irish people owe it and the Army itself owes it, to General Michael Collins. This House ought not to stand in the way of that honour being given to that great Irishman who so well and richly deserves it. If, through political spite, an order is made to prevent the Army from doing its rightful duty by the man who founded it, then it speaks very little for a native Government that, after 40 years, their petty jealousies are so strong that they cannot bring themselves to give authority to the Army to do justice where justice should be done.

I agree fully with Deputy Booth about the Easter Parade of the Army. I do not know whether it is right that on Easter Sunday the Army parades through the city of Dublin, with a few politicians on the platform showing themselves off. I honestly feel that, to commemorate the great events of 1916, a day should be set aside apart from Easter Sunday. Probably one of the greatest feasts of the Church is the Feast of the Resurrection. I could never understand why the Army could not be asked to parade on Easter Monday. The reason is that the high-ranking politicians would be at Fairy-house Races or elsewhere. However, for an hour on Easter Sunday the Army is asked to take part in a procession through O'Connell Street in honour of 1916. Many members of the Army cannot go to the country to spend the feast of Easter with their friends because of that parade.

The time has come when we should very seriously consider having a special day set aside as a day of commemoration of 1916. Remembrance Day in Britain is the 11th November. We in this country should have a Remembrance Day, but it ought not to be on the Feast of the Resurrection. Any day of Easter Week that would be considered suitable by the Government should be set aside for paying tribute to the great men who gallantly gave their lives at that time for the freedom of this country.

Again, it is wrong for political Parties to take it upon themselves to appear to be exclusively associated with any of those great leaders. Looking at the picture of the Taoiseach laying a wreath on Wolfe Tone's grave at Bodenstown, surrounded by members of the Fianna Fáil organisation, one might think that Wolfe Tone was the founder of Fianna Fáil.

Maybe he was.

Maybe he was.

One would think that nobody could claim connection with Wolfe Tone but Fianna Fáil. The days are fast approaching when that nonsense will die. If there are people in this country mad enough to believe that Wolfe Tone founded Fianna Fáil they are welcome to their theories.

The Deputy should not get annoyed.

Particularly as the Minister for Transport and Power is planning new bank holidays, the Government should select a Day of Remembrance on which the Army and the people can pay tribute at Easter time to those who gave their lives for this country. The Government would be well advised to look into that matter immediately.

I shall conclude on the note that, small and all as our Army is, ineffective as it may be in the eyes of the world, it has had and still enjoys a good name. Our aim and object should be to improve its standard of efficiency and in every way to uphold it, to encourage it and to let the members of our Defence Forces know that we are behind them in all their efforts.

The Minister for Defence will be in a position to take into consideration the views expressed on the Estimate by Deputies on all sides of the House. Many practical and useful suggestions were made for improving the efficiency of our Army, particularly by those of us who are anxious to see it grow from strength to strength and from success to success.

Bá mhaith liom, sa chéad dul síos, comhgháirdeachais a dhéanamh leis an Aire agus leis an Rialtais as ucht an ardú pháigh a tugadh anuraidh do lucht an Airm. Anuraidh, agus le cúpla bliain anuas, do labhair mé ar an Meastacháin faoi seomraí coladhtha lucht an Airm. I ngach bearraic ar fúid na tíre faoi láthair, tá seomraí móra coladhtha le slí ionnta do 15 leabaí do sna saighdiúirí. Sílim go mbeadh sé i bhfad níos fearr d'á mbéadh seomra coladhtha fé leith do gach saighdiúr.

Ba mhaith liom comhgháirdeachais a dhéanamh le n-ár saighdiúirí ins an gCongo as ucht an obair bhreá atá á dhéanamh acu ann, go háirithe as có hárd is atá ainm na tíre seo á coimeád acu.

Ag féachaint ar an Meastacháin seo, tá rud amháin ann nach bhfuilim sásta faoi. Do labhair mé leis an Aire mar gheall ar an rud seo cheanna. Tá súil agam go mbeidh réitiú sásúil ar an gceist seo sár i bhfad. Tá súil agam nach mbeidh orm an cheist seo a luadh arís nuair a thiocfaidh an tAire anseo an bliain seo chugann leis an Meastacháin le hagaidh na Roinne Chosanta. Tá mé ag tagairt do cheist teach chónaí ceart a sholáthair do gach sagairt ins an Airm. Tá mé ag súil go mbeidh teach ar fáil ag gach sagairt ins an Airm. Is mar sin atá an scéal i nDún Mhaoliose agus i gcorr áit eile. Tá morán chlamhsán cloiste agam faoi saighdiúirí óga a theastaíos uatha ó am go ham cainnt a dhéanamh le sagairt. Is amhlaidh a bhíonn a orthu faoi láthair dhul faoi bhráid a gcuid oifigí, nó i slí éigin eile mar sin, don áit ina bhfuil chonaí ar an sagairt agus sin rud nach maith leo a dhéanamh. Tá súil agam go mbeidh reitiú déanta ag an Aire i dtaobh na ceiste seo sar i bhfad.

Whilst not proposing to be as brief as the last speaker, I shall try to be as brief as I can. I must confess I am not as well acquainted with the Army as the majority of the members of the House seem to be. Last week, as reported in Volume 195, column 1093, of the Official Report, the Minister said:

I ask all people of influence to encourage the idea of service, whether in the permanent Defence Force or in the reserve components such as An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil and An Slua Muiri. Otherwise it is inevitable that there will be gaps in our national defence position in the event of sudden emergency.

It does not seem to me that the numbers in the Defence Forces have been adequate, especially in recent times.

I am particularly concerned about An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil. The Minister said that the merging of the permanent Army and the FCA had been pretty satisfactory. Deputy MacEoin said he was glad to hear the Minister say that, and I think he accepted what the Minister said, but my information is that the merger has not been a success. I know there are many problems confronting the members of the FCA, and particularly those in charge, but I also know there has been a great deal of discontent in the FCA.

I do not think anyone can say that the organisation of the FCA in recent years has been successful in relation to the number of new recruits. If we are to have sufficient numbers in the FCA, life in the FCA will have to be made attractive. There is a vast difference between a member of the permanent Defence Forces and a member of the FCA. When a man joins the permanent Defence Forces, he is there for a minimum of three years, I think. It is a way of life for him and he has an income, but we are inclined to forget that the FCA is a voluntary organisation. Some officers of the permanent Defence Forces have forgotten the fact that it is a voluntary organisation. I know these gentlemen are officers who are used to dispensing discipline, so to speak. No one could blame them for enforcing discipline, but they make a mistake when they fall into the habit of regarding members of the FCA as permanent men. That is not the way to encourage men to join the FCA, and for that reason, I believe the number of recruits to the FCA has not been spectacular in recent years.

It is true that the country cannot afford a large Army, and it may be equally true that we do not want a large Army. The number of officers and men in the Army at present is in the region of 9000. I have often asked how we arrived at that figure——

That is with the specialist services taken out.

——and I have never been given an adequate answer. Deputy MacEoin, the Minister, the Minister's predecessor and all of us, accept 10,000 or 11,000 as the size our Army should be and it was thought desirable that it should be supplemented by a body such as the FCA. I have no intimate knowledge of the FCA. I can judge it only from what I see, but some of its parades have been pathetic by reason of the small numbers we have seen in the various towns, especially in the provincial towns.

The FCA does not seem to be attractive. The turnover is very rapid indeed. We never seem to see the same faces parading after a period of, say, six months. So far as I can see, the FCA is confined to a certain age group—decent young men who are not inclined to be teddyboys. They do not seem to engage in sports like hurling and football. Their hobby seems to be the FCA, but they get fed up of it after a while. I suggest the reason for that is that the FCA is not attractive to young men. It has been in existence since 1940, and some of its members have become more or less fully trained soldiers.

I know the FCA does its best in the matter of encouraging youth to join, and it has tried as earnestly as possible to merge with the permanent Defence Forces and to co-operate as much as it can with the permanent officers of the Army, but the permanent officers of the Army do not seem to want to co-operate. There are no great world-shaking or nation-shaking decisions to be made within the Defence Forces. From what I have heard, it seems to me that there is not sufficient consulation or camaraderie between the officers of the permanent Defence Forces and the voluntary officers of the FCA.

I do not think the permanent officers should appear—I do not say they do it deliberately—to ignore the officers of the FCA, some of whom have been in the FCA for the past 22 years. That is a pretty long time. There are still men in this country who have been attached to the FCA for a period of something like 22 years.

I should like to mention some of the grievances which I consider the FCA has. The Minister and the Government may disregard them if they are not in earnest, but I believe they are. The Minister and the officials of his Department should know just a little more about them and know what the ordinary rank and file think. Recently I asked a question about gratuities. The Minister answered me to the effect that while certain increases had been given to the members of the FCA who qualified, the gratuity which they get, as I assume in their training period, has not been changed. That gratuity ranges between £10 and £6 minimum.

£5 actually.

That is the figure I have and there is not very much difference between £5 and £6. The Minister should remember that, out of that gratuity, the men must pay for mess, bed and laundry. Over a period of two or three weeks, it does not go very far.

That figure is not very attractive to men who have sacrificed a lot of time, and in many cases a lot of money, to be members of the FCA. Those who are in the lower wage bracket like to be able to behave and spend just as well as the next fellow. They do not want to go to the camp with virtually nothing in their pockets. I suggest that having regard to the relatively small numbers who go to these training camps, there should be some increase in the minimum and maximum gratuity. The men in the FCA are expected to be available two or three times a week. Many of us have seen them on the hills or at seaside places on many Sundays during the year, giving their time in learning how to behave like soldiers in the matter of drill, general training and the use of the various types of arms.

Another unattractive point which has been referred to by practically everyone who spoke—mainly in respect of the Army but the same can be said of the FCA—is the type of uniform they have. In 1953, a new uniform was proposed——

It has become a standing joke.

It was rather pathetic for the Minister to have to say again this year that the matter was still under consideration and that a decision like this could not be rushed into. What sort of an Army will we have if we talk of rushing into a decision to improve the uniforms over a period of nine years? Every individual has his pride and a soldier especially wants to take pride in himself and his appearance. It would be one of the attractions of the FCA if a decent uniform that would be attractive to the public were provided. The Minister should make a serious attempt now to improve the uniform in size and cut. There is nothing more ludicrous than to see a member of the FCA thrown out on parade with trousers too big or too small for him, a jacket that is too tight across the shoulders and a beret that may be too big or too small. The Minister would be doing a service for the FCA and he would be doing something to get increased numbers for it, if the uniform were made smarter.

May I make another suggestion to the Minister in respect of the FCA? It is that FCA men who become temporarily unemployed should be taken into that force for their period of unemployment as full-time members. An obvious answer to that is to ask why they do not join the Army. I am informed by an ex-serviceman here beside me that they do not do so because there is a minimum of three years service in the Army. If a builders labourer is unemployed for three months and if he is taken on in the FCA for that period at a reasonable pay, he will stay in his own home town. Some members are lost to the FCA because, when they become unemployed, they move to some other part of the country or, as the majority of them do, go to Britain. They are lost to the FCA for a considerable time, if not for good. I do not think it would involve a lot of money because it does not involve a great number of men.

There seems to be a very rapid turnover in the membership of the FCA That is because there are not many attractions in membership. I would suggest the provision of a long service medal for members of that body. There is a service medal for those who were members during the emergency from 1940 to 1945 of the LDF, as it was then. There is no medal for the long service which some of the present members have, although many of them have been serving since 1940 and continue to serve loyally in the force. The provision of such a medal would not mean a major decision by the Minister for Defence or a nation-shaking decision by the Government. It would not entail the expenditure of a lot of money or the minute investigation that has to be engaged in when an application is made for a service medal for the period 1916 to 1921. Records have been kept of the membership of the FCA and the Minister should seriously consider the issuing of a medal such as is issued to the Regular Army at present.

I should like the Minister to define what is meant by incremental service. The period of incremental service is deemed to be that period when one is in training for two or three weeks during the summer months. It is suggested that the ordinary year's service which a man gives to the FCA should be regarded as incremental service. The Minister will correct me if I am wrong because the source from which I got the information is not too clear about it.

It has also been suggested by the Minister that the wage paid to the ordinary soldier is pretty attractive now and compares well with the wages available in outside employment. I shall not elaborate on that beyond saying that it is pure cod. The sooner we give them a decent weekly wage or monthly salary, the quicker we will have a better Army in numbers and quality as well.

The Minister referred to Civil Defence but while I shall not say that we would be just as well off without it, I shall say that we would be as well off without the type of Civil Defence we have at the present time. I do not blame the people or the local authorities. I support the idea put forward here by the last two speakers and by Deputy MacEoin that Civil Defence should be the task of the Department of Defence and should be administered by the Department. I do not necessarily say that it should be a national charge but I do say that full responsibility for and control of Civil Defence should be vested in the Army or the Department of Defence.

The efforts being made with regard to it are both puny and pathetic. Some time ago, I attended a lecture in the town of Wexford on Civil Defence. I must say that it was an excellent lecture and aroused in me an interest in the whole thing. It gave me a little more hope that something could be done by Civil Defence, in the event of any sort of nuclear war touching this country. But the attendance was pathetic because there was nobody to stir up the enthusiasm of the people about it. There were puny notices in the local papers that the lecture would be held and there were half-hearted invitations from somebody in the local authority. The people who were there were not sufficient. Many of the local authority personnel do it merely because they are attached to the local authority. I do not think it would be untrue to say that many feel they have an obligation to attend because if they did not the manager would frown or the town clerk would take a poor view of them.

Civil Defence seems to be confined to a small group of people who, by virtue of their employment with the local authorities, must take some sort of interest in it because the local authority has responsibility for it. If it were run on the same lines of organisation as was the LSF or LDF, and through the Ministry for Defence, I think we would then get an awakening of interest in the matter and a better preparedness for defence in the event of nuclear war.

There is one other small matter which I want to raise and I am raising it only because I could not get satisfaction from the people with whom I dealt in the Department. The Department can play some shabby tricks in the matter of recruiting. I want to give an example of one case in which the Department were legally right, right according to all the regulations, but morally, I think, they had a responsibility for what happened. This was a case of a young lad under age who presented himself as a recruit to An Sluagh Mhuiri. He told the recruiting officer that he had served as an apprentice electrician for two years and assumed that he could continue that training in An Sluagh Mhuiri. That was not sufficient for the recruiting officer who said he would have to get the permission of his parents.

I do not know whether the parents went to the recruiting officer or whether the recruiting officer went to the parents, but in any case the parents were also left under the impression that this young boy's apprenticeship in the electrical trade would be continued. However, he was told it would not be and that there were no facilities for training electricians in An Sluagh Mhuiri. The result is that he is stuck in An Sluagh Mhuiri and he will come out as an able seaman or something like that. That little chap's career has been ruined. I asked if he could be released even at this stage and I was told that he could not be unless his unfortunate father—who has one arm and sells firewood — would be prepared to put down £50 to get him out.

That is ridiculous and the Department, or, I should say, the Minister, because he has responsibility for the Department, should have looked at it in a rather more compassionate manner and released the young boy. Due perhaps to his own mistake he is in a branch of the Defence Forces where he will not get the training which he and his parents expected he would get. If the Minister wants the name, I can supply him with it. I was prepared to accept the word, because I knew they were sufficiently honest, of the officer and the members of the Department who dealt with me. Everything that was done was done correctly, as far as the legality of the matter was concerned, but here was a genuine mistake where a young fellow put his head in a noose and the Department pulled it and decided to keep him there.

I also want to congratulate all those soldiers and officers who went to the Congo and who have gained for Ireland such a very fine reputation in the past two or three years, despite, one might say, the attempted slanders by some British newspapers. However, it was a bubble that was quickly pricked and the attempted slanders did not impress anybody in Britain, Ireland or any other place. I should also on behalf of my Party pay particular tribute to General Seán McKeown, one of the many Irish people in the Congo who brought fame and renown to the Irish nation. He showed himself to be not alone a fine soldier but a fine man and every Deputy, as indeed every person in the country is proud of him. He did so well and became so famous that he continued there for a longer period than he normally would have. The Minister should let him know that the various Parties and Deputies offer him their sincere congratulations. We congratulate also all the Irish and other soldiers who had the honour to serve under him during the period he was in the Congo.

A Deputy's first duty on this Estimate is to congratulate the officers and men of our Army on their exemplary conduct in the Congo, which was a source of gratification to all of us. We must also extend our sympathy to the relatives of the men killed in the line of duty. The sacrifice they made in the cause of international peace and justice will not have been in vain. However, my purpose in speaking is to draw the Minister's attention to some causes of discontent in An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil. The members of this Force are giving up their time freely and everything possible should be done by the Department to show their appreciation. A number of complaints have been made to me. The first is in regard to the expenses incurred by members in travelling to and from parades and training centres. These men give up their time and we should not ask them to give up their money also. Would it not be possible to arrange with CIE for the printing of special passes to be used by members of the FCA only when they are in uniform? These passes could be purchased by the authorities and given free to the members to be used for travelling to and from their duties. It should be possible to allocate them without danger of the privilege being abused.

The second complaint is also in regard to a financial matter. It appears that the cash payment is given only when a member attends the annual camp. It very often happens that a member of the Force, for family reasons, or reasons connected with his job, cannot take his annual holiday to coincide with the date allocated for the camp. When this happens, the member concerned receives no cash payment whatever, even though he may have been a faithful and regular attender at all the parades and training sessions during the year. There is an element of injustice about this. Whatever about that and whatever we may think about it, there is a feeling of dissatisfaction in the Force about it. Some cash bonus should be given to the member who faithfully and conscientiously attends the prescribed sessions, whether or not he finds it possible to attend the annual camp.

A subject of criticism in the Force, to which many members referred today, is the uniform. The present uniform is no doubt ideally suited for training and battle practice but a better uniform could be designed for parade. This may be a small matter to complain about but an attractive uniform would contribute to pride in the Force and might prove an incentive to young men to join the Force.

I believe that training facilities for specialist work are inadequate. Those engaged in transport and signals, etc. complain that there are insufficient vehicles and instruments at their disposal to enable them to carry on their training efficiently. I would ask the Minister to consider these matters. By meeting the legitimate grievances of these men, he will go some of the way towards preventing the drain of fully trained men from the Force which is taking place.

The members of the FCA are men who are imbued with the spirit of selfsacrifice, devotion to duty and loyalty to our national ideals. Whatever the future may hold in store for any branch of the Army, it is certain that that spirit is something we cannot afford to do without. It behoves us to encourage and foster it in every way possible

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted, and 20 Members being present,

Before proceeding to make a few comments on the Estimates I should like, in common with many other Deputies, to pay a very well deserved tribute to our troops who have served in the Congo and, indeed, to those who are serving there at present. All of these men have made a considerable sacrifice. Many of them are married men with families. These men in particular have made a very great sacrifice. It has been a sacrifice also for their families and close relatives. No opportunity should be lost of letting these men know that we fully appreciate what they have done. We should at all times publicly acknowledge our indebtedness to them. I sincerely hope that, as long as it is found necessary to send men abroad on service, we will have the same reason to be justly proud of the manner in which they give this service so unselfishly.

It is well recognised that by far the biggest problem in the Defence Forces is the failure all the time to attract sufficient recruits to the Army. This is becoming a very serious problem. It is a problem that must be tackled vigorously in the future. The Minister, in admitting the existence of this problem, stated that the pay in the Army was comparable with the pay available to similar personnel outside the Army. It is very difficult to make direct comparisons but, personally, I do not at all accept the view that it is comparable.

Even if it were comparable, it would be only right and proper that pay in the Army should be made somewhat more attractive than the pay obtainable outside the Army because of the attendant risks and the fact that the strike weapon and other means available to other people to improve their position is denied to Army personnel. While it is extremely important that the members of the Army should be adequately paid and that clothing and accommodation should be comfortable and attractive, all the indications are that something much more will be needed if we are to keep the Army up to the required strength.

Personally, I see an opportunity which is not being sufficiently availed of, that is, the opportunity of turning the empty barracks and the halfempty barracks all over the country into large military vocational schools. These centres could be used for turning out large numbers of well qualified technicians for industry. In that way they could serve a very useful purpose.

I know this is done to a very limited extent at present. The limited numbers turned out are first-class people. I know that certain difficulties were encountered. I am sure difficulties are being experienced even still, mainly with regard to providing instructors and holding them. Again, it is purely a question of paying these instructors sufficient to keep them in the Army. I believe there were other trade union difficulties which have since been solved. If the space available in the Army barracks were utilised for this purpose and if courses of instruction were given, leading to worthwhile positions outside, there would be men queuing up to get into the Army. That is the way it should be.

The recruiting drives to date have been a failure. It is time that something new was tried. I am suggesting this as something new. These empty barracks should be converted into large educational establishments for turning out the technicians and skilled craftsmen who are needed at present and who will be needed very much more if industry develops in the way we hope and expect it will in the very near future. This is something which should and could be tackled by the Department of Defence but there should be a considerable contribution, financially and otherwise, by the Department of Industry and Commerce and the Department of Education.

While we have such small numbers coming forward, I, personally, cannot see the sense of insisting that men must retire at 61 if they are healthy and well able to give valuable service for a period beyond that. It seems foolish to retire men at that age when we cannot get new recruits in sufficient numbers.

Like many other Deputies, I feel that there is not nearly sufficient being done in the matter of civil defence which I consider to be a very important aspect of defence. There has been an effort in the Department of Defence to disown responsibility for civil defence. It is the inescapable responsibility of the Department of Defence. While the local authorities do very useful work and while every organisation in the country should be alerted and encouraged to take an interest in civil defence, I still think that the initiative must and should be taken by the Army and that the organisation and responsibility for it must rest with them.

I did not intend to contribute to this debate at all and I would not do so, were it not for a statement by Deputy Corish that the merger, as he put it, of the Army and the FCA was not a success. I do not agree with him. As far as my experience goes, the merger has been a complete success. He appeared to blame the lack of success in this respect on the type of Regular Army officers being sent out as training officers to the FCA. My experience has been that the officers being sent out as training officers to the various companies of the FCA are of the highest calibre, certainly people who know their job, who know the lads in the country, who are able to get round them and lead them along the right channels. I have known Regular Army officers who went out as training officers to the Fifth Brigade. Not alone did they spent their time looking for the right type of recruits but they also went to the trouble of getting to know them, getting to know their fathers and mothers and apart from performing their duties in the strict sense of the word, they also tried to settle those lads into positions and to advise them on later careers.

My experience in this respect is vastly different from what I have heard here and I should like now to compliment the Minister and the Army on the type of men they have sent out as training officers to the FCA. Each one of them I have come across—I have known quite a number of them—has been of the highest standard, a most desirable type of person to put in charge of young recruits.

If we are to have a successful Army, I believe a large proportion of the personnel must be recruited from the FCA. We must remember that in the FCA we get the finest type of young men in the country. They consist of secondary school students, university students—some of the best. I have been responsible for recruiting into the FCA the sons of substantial farmers. Afterwards, I advised them on an Army career and two lads I recruited were later shell-shocked in Jadotville in the Congo. I have nothing but pride in those young people and I say that if you want to get the right type of man into the Army, you must try to get them from the FCA.

However, if that is to be done, we must make conditions in the Army attractive. At the moment, they are far from it. The basic period of enlistment is three years but how many of our recruits stay in the Army or reenlist after that period? After three years, a recruit is a fully trained soldier but if you look at the records, you will find how many leave the Army after the initial period. We must therefore ask ourselves the reasons. We find the main one is the lack of attractive pay. The present scale of Army pay does not arouse any enthusiasm for re-enlistment and consequently we have to start all over again, with the result that a large proportion of our Army personnel is not fully trained at any given time.

In this context, I should like to refer to barracks and other Army buildings. With the exception of about two barracks in Dublin, the rest can be described as obsolete. They are unsuitable, uncomfortable and generally in poor condition. I have heard that the reconstruction of many of them is about to take place. Personally, I think it is a waste of time. I suggest that many of those buildings, particularly in cities, be handed over to the local authorities to provide sites for housing, to clear congestion and to ease traffic problems. I would suggest that we clear our barracks out of built-up areas and I should like to see new buildings put up on the outskirts of cities, complete with all modern facilities.

As far as barrack services are concerned, in 1962, it is time to take the soldier off the floor and off the three boards. I slept on them myself a good many years ago and I know their discomfort. I emphasise then, if we are to make the Army attractive, we must take the soldiers off the floor. I visited Finner Camp last August and inspected the storage facilities for equipment. I can assure the Minister that the mattresses were of the poorest type. They had to be patched and patched again. The blankets were worn and threadbare and the sheets, although they looked all right, were of the poorest type. I suggest that if we wish to get lads from the FCA into the Army, we should have a higher standard than that. When the FCA lads see this kind of thing, they get a very poor idea of the Army and it is little wonder we get so few recruits.

There have been so many promises about uniforms that it has become a sort of joke. I think I shall leave it at that. The uniforms are all right for fatigues or battle practice, but on parade, it is terrible to see a well-built man in an ill-fitting uniform with pants too short or too long and tunics too small or too large. Unfortunately, that generally is the case.

It has often struck me in regard to the specialists services, especially the Army bands, the number of "old sweats" we have, some with up to 20 years' service, who have no opportunity for promotion and who are still privates. It is hard to see such a man going in a barrack gate and having to salute an N.C.O. in the military police with one or two years' service. In the specialist services, where there is very little opportunity for promotion, a man should, after a period of five years, say, be automatically promoted to the rank of corporal.

I should like to refer to the widows and children of officers. I know of a number of cases apparently not covered by the regulations. I would suggest to the Minister that the number of those is so small—I think the Minister knows them—that special legislation should be introduced to cover them or else they should be given some kind of gratuity.

The last matter to which I should like to refer is Civil Defence. Some hard things have been said about it here, but we should remember we are only starting and every start must be slow. At present we are only skimming the surface. The main fault I have to find is lack of equipment. If a crash plan should have to be introduced earlier than we expected, we would find ourselves in a sorry plight indeed. I understand there is little equipment available. As a matter of fact, I think the Fifth Brigade has probably only three survey meters and one contamination meter. In an emergency, they might have to go from Sligo to Athlone for a contamination meter. That is not right. The only other thing is that the Fifth Brigade was supposed to be a mobile brigade. In my time, we had about nine trucks in it. It could not be called a mobile brigade because the facilities were not available for transporting the troops.

In conclusion, I should like to congratulate the Minister very sincerely for the improvement that has taken place, both in the Army and the FCA in recent times.

First of all, I should like to congratulate the Minister in giving us such a fine explanatory statement. He made clear to every Deputy, even those a short time here, what the position was and is. He lets us know what he has been doing and what he intends to do. If he devotes the same attention to the Army as he has devoted to this document, as I am sure he will, the Army personnel should be much happier a year from now when this matter comes up for debate again.

Defensive measures throughout the world have changed considerably in very recent years. I wonder if during those years in which defensive measures have been developed throughout the world, we have been doing anything at all? From what I see happening, I am rather inclined to believe that, if we had to defend ourselves at the moment, the equipment we have would be regarded as obsolete even in the Battle of Clontarf. No matter how strong the Minister makes the Army numerically, he must take this point of view: today men are of very little value against machines. Unless the Minister takes steps to equip the Army and modernise it, it is just as well to forget about it altogether. We must get some type of modern equipment. No matter where we have to send our men to be trained in the use of modern equipment, let the Minister send them there. Our people defended themselves with little better than hayforks against the might of an Empire and eventually won.

The position to-day is that unless we bring our equipment up to the standard of that of other armies, we might as well have no Army at all but simply a police force under a different name. I would suggest to the Minister that, no matter what money he requires, he must raise it, by means of loan or otherwise, to equip an Army which can defend this country. Our troops who have gone overseas in recent times have seen for themselves the vacuum in our defensive measures. One of the greatest things that ever happened to our Army was sending these troops overseas. It was the first sign in our history for a long time that we have grown up. We have grown up no matter what some Deputies may say. If the people in the east of Ireland have not grown up, the people in the west have.

When our troops first went out to foreign countries, as we thought, to carry out policing duties, they saw for themselves our lack of modern equipment. Steps should be taken to redress that. Our troops who went abroad have been given an idea not only what modern warfare is but what modern life in general is, what people abroad have to put up with and what we have to put up with. The fact that the gutter Press of England sneered at us is the surest sign that our men are doing their work well. If they were not, those people would not have mentioned us at all. In fact, if our troops were carrying out probably the same type of work as they expect their troops to carry out, they would not mention us. They would prefer to mention their own troops.

The fact that our troops have been overseas will have a very big impact on the whole conduct of defensive measures in this country in future and the whole set up in the Army. We must face that and we must show those members of the Army that we are prepared to treat our Army men in the same way as the Army men of other nations are being treated. Up to now, life in the Army has been humdrum. The pay was not too good and young people were not inclined to join. They will not join now, unless Army standards of pay are brought up to the standards normally expected in a similar way of life in any other country to-day. You can not pay your Army personnel too highly.

We have down in the west of Ireland some of the finest men in Europe but there is no incentive offered to them to join the Army. It is much more remunerative for them to go to England, Scotland, the United States and elsewhere. As long as it is more remunerative for them to go there, they will continue to go and our Army is losing some of the best people we could possibly have in it. I do not think a position obtains in this State to-day in which it can be pointed out that money cannot be found to pay Army personnel. If they cannot live the normal type of life which people in this or any other country to-day demand, let alone expect, then you will not get a sufficient number of young men to join the Army.

In regard to the question of the balance between officers and men, I do not know if I am right in saying this, but it does occur to me that in our Army there are nearly as many officers and non-commissioned officers as there are men. If that is the position, there is something very seriously wrong. Deputies have referred to officers looking down on privates. That may be so. In the west of Ireland, we have not so many centres at which there are Army personnel operating, but, if that is happening, you can be sure that the officer who is looking down on some Irish lad who is an ordinary member of the Army is probably an ex-RIC man's son or the son of somebody else who for a long time, instead of trying to get the British out of here, was trying to keep them here. If any ordinary Irishman joins the Army in the normal way, works his way up and then looks down on those beneath him, he deserves no credit for it and should not be tolerated in the Army for a moment.

If there is no method at the present time of bringing such cases to the notice of the Minister for Defence, then a method should immediately be instituted. It would be an absolute scandal that, in a country like this which is the most democratic not only in Europe but in the world, the officers should be allowed to despise the ordinary personnel in the Army. It would be a shocking state of affairs if that obtained. I do not know whether it does or not, but some Deputies have referred to it.

I must draw the attention of the Minister to the uniform issued to the ordinary personnel of the Army. Down in my part of the country, you would not send a youngster to the bog to cut turf in the type of clothes which some members of the Army have to wear to-day. It would appear that the uniform was not made even by a dressmaker, let alone a tailor, and that the people who made the clothes never saw the people for whom they made them and had not even a clue about them. There is no excuse, in a country like this where we have first-class material and where there are people who can turn out first-class garments, for having the ordinary soldier going around with a bag of wool wrapped around him.

I am not blaming the Minister because he had nothing to do with it. He has not been in office long enough to do anything about it, but if the Minister investigated the position, he would find that the man at home cannot afford as good a suit as the man who goes away. The man who goes away does so primarily in order to come back in a good suit and with, perhaps, a better motor-car. That is one of the principal reasons why these men go away. If they remained at home, they could not save enough money for a good suit. How can the ordinary soldier in our Army, badly dressed as he is, compete with a lad from his own area who comes back from England beautifully dressed? The latter may not be of as high social standing, but he will win hands down when an element of competition enters into the picture. He will be a success in the dance hall. We all know that dancing is the major form of entertainment in the country today. The Irish soldier is wrapped round in a bag of wool, not properly teased, not too well woven, not properly sewn. How can he hope to be a success in the dance hall? How can we hope that he will shed any lustre on the Army of which he is a member? That may sound amusing to some. That does not mean that it is not true. The Minister has no excuses for not clothing these men properly.

I do not know if any genuine effort is being made about Civil Defence. So far as I know, there is not. If it is a joke, then we should be honest and say it is a joke. In the period 1940-1945 we had in this country a superb organisation, and that at a time when we were not half as friendly towards one another as we are now. If that organisation served no purpose except that of bringing about unity amongst our people, then it served us well. A more realistic effort should be made now to develop a similar force. If those in authority were really interested in Civil Defence, a force could be founded without any great trouble at all.

In every county the most suitable people to take charge of a Civil Defence force are the heads of fire brigades. Nearly all of them are ex-Army men. They have had a first-class training. Are their services being availed of? Not at all. It is the county manager, the county secretary, or persons like that—people who would not know which way to turn a gun—who are the people in charge of Civil Defence. It seems to me an extra-ordinary situation. The Minister should investigate the position. We have the nucleus of what could be the finest Civil Defence force in every county. If the present situation continues, we will have no Civil Defence system. The whole thing is regarded as a joke at the moment. I suggest to the Minister that he should avail of the services of the heads of fire brigades in every county. Trained men should not be left standing idly by while men who "haven't a clue" are being paid for what is useless service.

I should like to congratulate our Army in the Congo. Those men went out on an errand of peace. They have acquitted themselves exceptionally well in a griveously troubled spot. The world and the country owe them a debt of gratitude. They have certainly made their name in the Congo. I should like to take this opportunity, also, to sympathise with the relatives of those soldiers who died in the cause of peace. Their fighting is bearing fruit now, for peace will inevitably come to the Congo, if not immediately, certainly in the not too distant future.

Our soldiers in the Congo have had an opportunity of comparing their position with that of the soldiers from other countries. They are aware of the higher standards and the higher rates of pay. They are aware of the superior uniforms. Steps should be taken now to improve conditions, pay and clothing for our Army to put our men on an equal footing with the armies of other countries. Our uniform may be appropriate battle-dress or quite suitable for manoeuvres. It is not suitable as a walking-out uniform. We make some excellent materials here and there is no reason why these men should not be provided with a more appropriate type of walking-out dress. A proper uniform would be a source of pride. It would also serve as an advertisement.

With regard to the Army Jumping Team, considering this team is up against the best almost in the world, they have made a very good showing. They may not be as successful as the team in the thirties, but they have had some success. They have always to be reckoned with. They are representing Ireland, but as you look up the teams they are competing against, particularly where there are Army officers, our Irish Army personnel are always of a lower rank. I feel that if a man is sufficiently good to represent his country in that sphere, he should not be deprived of promotion. It may be said he is not deprived of promotion but at least it does not come as quickly. I feel that it should come more quickly to him when he is representing his country. I should like the Minister to look into that matter. It is rather important that the members of our Irish Army Jumping Team which is an advertisement for the Irish bloodstock industry and also for our tourist industry should feel that their promotion will come more quickly when they are on this team.

We have many barracks which are not being used to full capacity at present. I wonder if it would be possible to use those barracks for some useful purpose, such as, maybe, training Army personnel before going back to civilian life, giving them a trade or a profession because it is wasteful to have buildings there which are not being used. I should like the Minister to explore the possibility of doing something with them. Perhaps his Department or some of his experts may think of a means by which something useful could be done with such buildings.

There is hardly a matter of interest to the defence of the country but has been referred to in the speeches made on last Thursday and again this afternoon. While I have sympathy with all the appeals that have been made for increased expenditure in respect of many things for which we are providing increased money, I am conscious of the fact that the sum which I am asking the Dáil to vote is considerably large — £9,000,000. I feel that the Deputies as citizens in another capacity, might perhaps have occasion to criticise even the expenditure as it is. I do not want to attribute to any Deputy that he speaks with two voices on the matter but there is a tendency to concentrate on the matter on hand, without reference to the broader implications.

Two Deputies, I think, seemed to think that I should have made some statement of general policy. One was on my own side of the House and the other was on the Fine Gael benches. One said it was the most notable omission from my introductory statement. The other Deputy had his own way of expressing it. He put the rhetorical question: What do we want an Army for at all?

I do not think I am competent to make a satisfactory statement of policy in relation to the developments which are unfolding themselves in international relations, but I think we should not be the first to discard our defence force. Perhaps, with the effuxion of time, mankind may reach such a degree of composure that such discardment of military, naval and air forces may be possible but that time has not arrived. I take it therefore that the duty rests upon the national Parliament to provide as good a defence force as possible for our country.

I was particularly pleased by the universality of the congratulatory references to our men in the Congo. Everybody, both inside and outside this House, seems to be pleased at the very good showing which they have made. I took particular note myself when the 36th Battalion arrived in Katanga last December that they were immediately put into action in the famous tunnel position. I took it that that was a tribute that our element in the United Nations forces was one to be relied upon and trusted where a really difficult job had to be executed.

There are other evidences that our soldiers are well-trained and are reliable in difficult situations. I think it would not be amiss to refer to the behaviour and conduct and judgment of our officers, even when they had the misfortune to be taken prisoner. I refer to Jadotville. Everything I have heard about the commanding officer of the contingent there, and of his subordinate officers and of the men themselves, was quite praiseworthy.

The armament of the Forces has also been referred to by a number of Deputies, not by all. All I can say there is that the most modern equipment is being bought in quantities within our resources. This well-known FN rifle which has come under notice in the Congo has been supplied to all our men now on service there. Quite a considerable quantity is also in use by our men at home.

The general trend of the speeches had more to do with the recruiting and the pay, conditions, etc., of our men at home than with any other aspect of the problem of defence. I do not think I could take each Deputy's contribution separately because many of these questions have been common to all the speeches which were made. Let me take the more obvious ones.

Uniforms were mentioned by practically every Deputy. It is true to say that perhaps the uniforms could be smarter, but it is not quite a subject for out and out condemnation. I asked particularly for a note on this question since the debate last Thursday, and I have been informed that all aspects of the uniforms, including walking-out uniforms and boots, are being covered in the investigations which are going on now. Unfortunately, I am unable to indicate when final decisions will be arrived at.

When the stocks are used up.

In any event, it is not quite fair to refer to the present material as "bulls' wool". I understand that is the title commonly given to the material in the men's uniforms.

It is a very apt title.

I should like to tell Deputy Tully who used it, that the material was greatly improved about 1955 or 1956. In fact, it is now much superior to the material used in the uniforms of the British forces.

That is not saying very much for it.

I am not suggesting that that in itself is a consolation to those who do not like the present uniform, but there is some satisfaction in knowing that there is someone else who is probably more opulent than you, and who is still worse off in this respect. I want to tell the Dáil that this matter is constantly under review. It is a matter of very great importance, not only from the point of view of the general wish in regard to it, but also the large demand which will be made on the public purse. The question of design will also have to be very carefully considered. Anything which would tend to make service in the Forces more attractive must obviously be considered.

A number of Deputies referred to the re-enlistment bounty. One speaker —I think it was the last speaker— said that rather than give a re-enlistment bounty after three, six or nine years, we might increase the pay of the men instead. That is a matter for consideration. In recent times, the bounty, or bonus, or gratuity, has been increased to £25, if a man reenlists for a further term of three years. Prior to that, I think it was £10. An increase to £25 may seem a rather big jump, but when one considers that after three years a soldier has just about reached the peak of his training, one realises that it is too bad to lose him, if he can be held in the Forces by a payment of £25. Perhaps that purpose could be better achieved by increasing the man's pay rather than giving him a bounty. I shall pass on that suggestion for consideration.

Housing was also raised. While it will not be possible in the immediate future to meet the demands for better housing in all the barracks, that work is continuously in progress. Since the end of the war, 162 houses have been completed, and that work will be accelerated to the greatest possible extent. Perhaps distribution is not quite as even as certain Deputies would wish, but I can tell the House that the needs in each case are very scrupulously examined by the Army authorities, and the most urgent problems are tackled first.

It has been suggested by a number of Deputies that the barracks should be pulled down and rebuilt. That is rather a tall order. I think the immediate task should be to improve the conditions under which the soldiers live. These barracks are not quite as bad as has been represented by some Deputies. Their outside appearance is probably the worst part of them, but inside, the Army authorities are continuously trying to improve the lot of the soldier in his billet, for example, putting linoleum on the floor, supplying a bedside locker, replacing the usual type of barrack trestle table with a plastic top table, and so on. These are little refinements, but in the aggregate, they make a marked difference. Eventually, it is hoped that even something in the way of a cubicle may be possible for each soldier. That type of work is continuously in progress. I would for rather see it taking place, than wait for this rather expensive job of pulling down the barracks and replacing them. That would be a long term job and while people are talking about a third World War, perhaps we might hold our hand until we see what befalls.

Recruiting was also mentioned by a great many Deputies. The first Deputy who spoke about it seemed to suggest that our publicity was faulty. In fact, he implied, if he did not state openly, that the people entrusted with the advertising campaign did not know their job. All I can say in reply to that is that the firm employed in the most recent recruiting campaign are a well-known and, to use the Deputy's term, professional advertising firm. I do not think they would be terribly bucked by the Deputy's reference to them.

The question arises as to whether any form of newspaper advertising, or radio advertising, for that matter, is efficacious. Each of us can examine this question from his own reaction to newspaper and radio advertising. It is possible that it is not intimate enough, but if anyone can suggest a more intimate way of getting in touch with young, likely recruits for the Army, we should be glad to hear of it, even if the method costs money because the present methods cost money, anyway.

I do not know if there is any other point which is of general interest. A great many Deputies mentioned a number of things which had come to their particular notice. I do not think I could refer to each and every one of these points of detail but I can assure the Deputies who made them that their suggestions and their criticisms will be carefully scrutinised in the Department of Defence.

On the question which was also mentioned by most of the Deputies, the major question of Civil Defence, I should like to say that I agree with the Deputies who have said that it does not seem to have made a favourable hit so far. That is true. It is also true to say that our conception of local defence as it developed during the last War is completely irrelevant to the situation which is likely to present itself to us, if another international war should take place. Apart altogether from our being attacked, it should be remembered that the whole population might be in very serious danger from the effect of radioactive fall-out.

It is no use speaking in terms of sending a detachment of the Army to Connemara to deal with radioactive fall-out. The soldiers themselves would have to find cover when they got down there. It is not a matter for soldiers. Unfortunately, while we must take all the precautions we can against the worst possibilities of a nuclear war, I should like to tell these people who ask "what is the use of it all? Is not mankind going to be destroyed next time?" that it is quite possible that people may be in very serious danger. There may be partial attacks, minor attacks with missiles of less destructive capabilities. It would be too bad if large numbers of people were to be left without the possibility of any aid or succour whatever, if such a thing happened.

It is a situation of that nature that Civil Defence is being organised to meet. If a large bomb is dropped on Dublin and the whole city wiped out, you can do nothing about it but certainly because there is a possibility of such great destruction being done, we should not assume that it will be the pattern of international conflict. There is the other situation which is very likely to take place, that is, our country and our community being affected by radioactive fall-out from attacks on other countries, or possibly by some accident by way of a misdirected missile falling in this country. Something like that happened in the last War.

Therefore, Civil Defence is a project which should commend itself to the people with hope. The fatalists we cannot convince but I believe the majority of people are not fatalists in this matter and that they do believe that good can be achieved by this organisation. I am quite satisfied that when the danger looms much nearer than it does at present, we shall have them rushing in in large numbers. We want to avoid the large numbers.

I want to make an analogy between this problem and that posed by some Deputies in the matter of the ratio of officers to other ranks in the Army. One Deputy said that the ratio was six men to one officer. But you do not create officers in a short time and you must have the cadre to train the material which will offer itself when the danger occurs. That occurred in the last War. We got 50,000 men but we could not have trained them, if we had not a nucleus of trained officers, and N.C.O.s.

The same type of problem will reveal itself with regard to Civil Defence. The organisation of instructors is being slowly built up, but in a very unspectacular way perhaps, because the time has not arrived for the clarion call to go out to the public to come in. Let me give to the House these figures of people who have come in. These are for the central training centre here in Dublin. Since the establishment of An Scoil Cosanta Síbhialta 115 courses have been held. Of these, 24 were held since 1st April, 1961. More than 2,000 people attended the courses; 557 attended since 1st April, 1961. Of the total, 990 persons were nominated by the local authorities, 273 were Army instructors—officers and N.C.O.s—and 57 were Garda instructors. These are now qualified to instruct in various aspects of Civil Defence. The number qualified since 1st April, 1961 were: local authority, 160; Army, 25, and Garda, 57.

That may not suggest a very large programme of work but it does indicate that this matter is well under way to reaching a point at which we shall have such a team of these instructors that we can sound the clarion call all over the country and ask the public to come in and fill up the ranks. To date, 20 chief superintendents, 100 superintendents and 40 inspectors of the Garda Síochána have attended short, background, two-day courses of Civil Defence at An Scoil Cosanta Síbhialta. The Army is also taking a comparable part with a view to being ready in the event of a radio-active emergency arising here before we have reached the point of full development in the Civil Defence organisation so that the disciplined forces of the State, the Army and the Guards, etc., can step in and fill the vacuum.

In view of the remarks of some Deputies who seemed to think that Civil Defence is purely a matter for the military, I want to stress the fact that it is not the intention to turn Civil Defence over to the Army. It is essentially a local matter and it might so happen that the emergency might be such that the Army might have to undertake the role for which it was originally formed and for which it exists. Under the relevant legislation, the local authorities are responsible for organising Civil Defence, recruiting and training, and it is not intended to change that.

I think I have said enough to indicate why that is so. We may perhaps have to deal only with radio-active fall-out and every citizen will have to be trained to deal with his own personnel and individual problem. No Army, no Garda and no Civil Defence official may be of any use to him. The radioactive fall-out can neither be tested nor smelled, but there will be wardens who will have instruments to detect and measure the extent to which it is present in their particular local atmosphere. They will spread the news around and it will be for each householder to take the steps with which the Civil Defence organisation will have acquainted him.

I do not think I should say anything more about the question of Civil Defence, beyond repeating that the State contribution towards the cost of the organisation has been increased from 60 to 70 per cent. I am afraid the remaining 30 per cent. must remain an obligation on the local authorities. I want to take this opportunity of paying a tribute to the local authorities who have taken a much keener interest in this matter of the organisation of local defence than the public are aware of. Last week, we had a very important meeting in the Civil Defence School of county managers and other officials. It was very encouraging indeed to see so many important local officials who, indeed, have many other duties to fulfil coming along to equip themselves for this very important duty.

Many points of detail have been brought to my notice and the fact that I do not refer to them now does not mean I have not listened to the Deputies, or that I shall not consider what they had said. I want to refer to one matter in particular which was introduced by Deputy Booth. A deficiency in certain stores came to light in 1960, and an officer who subsequently retired and was entitled to a gratuity has had part of that gratuity withheld, until the loss to public funds had been finally established. What happened was that a company quarter-master sergeant over the greater part of a year misappropriated, or dealt with in his own way, a quantity of Army stores amounting in value to about £700. The non-commissioned officer in question was charged and received a prison sentence, unless he should make good the deficiency. He paid a certain part of it and was given six months to pay the balance. When the six months had expired, the man had not done this and a warrant for his arrest was applied for. I understand that the right to issue a warrant after six months had elapsed was questioned. That had to be decided and I understand it is still undecided and is awaiting the attention of the High Court.

This delay has not been caused by any inepitude on the part of the Department of Defence. Deputy Booth's case on behalf of the officer is that the theft is a matter of no concern to the officer; that it is too bad that this CQMS misappropriated the stores but that the officer's gratuity should in no way be made amenable in respect of it. I have great sympathy with the officer, who subsequently served in the Congo. However, he was the unit Accounting Officer and was the superior officer of the CQMS. These defalcations or deficiencies took place over a period of about nine or ten months, from the beginning of October, 1959, to the end of August, 1960. The unit accounting officer, who is the person for whom Deputy Booth has spoken, failed to take stock monthly, as required by regulations, from January, 1960, to June, 1960, that is, a period of six months.

He did, I understand, make representations that he had not sufficient staff, but he should have carried out this very important matter of taking the monthly check of stocks, whatever else he omitted. It is very difficult to differ from the Quartermaster General's serious view of this omission.

I am not without hope that this matter can be settled satisfactorily, but Deputy Booth gave rather inordinate attention to it in his remarks and I have picked it out as a detail to which I should refer in my closing remarks. If, where goods are pilfered or misappropriated, the superior officer can go scot free, then the placing of responsibility on superior officers is of no value. I think that in all armies people placed in such positions are amenable to some extent.

I have been impressed by the fact that this officer served in the Congo. I think that our view of the position should be affected in his favour to some extent by that fact. I can say to Deputy Booth that while I cannot accept the contention that this officer should be let off scot free and not thought to have earned any censure in the matter, nevertheless, I hope that the case can be brought to a speedy and reasonable conclusion.

Is it correct that the court of inquiry said he should pay only £20?

I understand it is the practice not to give the findings of such a court of inquiry. Therefore, I feel precluded from answering the Deputy's question.

There was a court of inquiry held?

Yes, there was.

On a point of order. Would this not be a correct matter to raise on the next Estimate?

I do not mind when it is raised.

It is Army administration.

Would it not be correct to raise it on pensions also— otherwise I would not interrupt the Minister now?

It has already been raised by Deputy Booth. That is why I asked the question.

It has been answered extensively. There was a court of inquiry and the result of the court of inquiry was refused the man in question.

Deputy Booth made a definite statement in regard to the £20.

Deputy Booth stated that the officer is not now subject to military law, but that if he comes out for annual training—he is on the Reserve—he will be subject to military law and is then eligible to apply to be supplied with the findings. That is so, but only if the Minister is satisfied that he has been adversely affected—I understand that is the term Deputy Booth used—in his military career.

I do not know about his military career but he is adversely affected in his pocket.

I would hope that the case will be brought to a conclusion soon. Really, the delay is due to this point about the issuing of a warrant for the arrest of the CQMS. That has gone to the High Court. Naturally, we were awaiting the result.

Will the Minister pay him 5 per cent. on the money withheld? He has paid an overdraft. Will the Minister pay him 5 per cent. for the length of time he has kept it?

If the matter is satisfactorily resolved, I take it that Deputy MacEoin's point would be answered.

Fair enough.

I should like to see the thing settled. Deputy Booth thinks we have been deliberately stalling on this. We have not. It is due to this court application.

It is an obsolete order. It is as dead as a duck.

It is as dead as a dead duck.

In any event, quite apart from these detailed aspects of the question, the overriding principle cannot, I think, be thrown overboard and that is that a superior officer cannot be absolved from responsibility where serious losses take place.

He should not be left out of the Army until that is finished. He should be told he has to serve on until this matter is settled.

Deputy MacEoin has me there. I am not able to deal with that particular point.

If you let him out, then you are not entitled to keep anything from him except by suing him. It is an arbitrary decision.

I suppose there is an explanation as to how it happened that he was left out. I have an enormous amount of notes here, not that I intend to reply to them here tonight but to deal with them in the Department. If any particular point requires to go to the Deputy who made it we shall do it.

I inquired about Kilkenny.

That case is sub judice.

It is like the gratuity.

I am getting a report. Quite apart from its being sub judice, it is a matter of internal administration. In fact, the Department are somewhat averse to making a mountain out of what seems to them to be an administrative molehill. However, the answer to the Deputy's question is that it is sub judice.

Did I gather aright the Minister said that the increase from £10 to £25 in the gratuity was a big jump?

Personally, I thought it was.

Does he think that an offer of £25 to re-enlist is likely to encourage anybody, and does he not agree it would be much better if it were £100?

If, in fact, it were £50, I would not say it was excessive, but I would stress the point that a jump from £10 to £25 must be regarded as a very substantial percentage increase which may have the desired effect. The soldier will also be given 21 days' special leave with pay allowances and will have this £25 as well.

The Queen's shilling. If he gets drunk enough on the £25, he will go back; if he does not, he will not.

The result of the recruiting campaign will be examined very closely and if some of the measures suggested promise better results, I can assure Deputies these measures will be tried.

On point of order, I take it that anything arising under the Defence Forces Pensions Schemes will be in order under the next Estimate—Army Pensions?

The Chair cannot answer in advance.

It will be all right with me.

Vote put and agreed to.