Dáil Éireann - Volume 100 - 27 March, 1946
Committee on Finance. - Vote 63—Army.
Minister for Defence (Mr. Traynor) Oscar Traynor
Minister for Defence (Mr. Traynor): I move:—
That a sum not exceeding £3,050,310 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending the 31st day of March, 1947, for the Army and the Army Reserve (including certain Grants-in-Aid) under the Defence Forces (Temporary Provisions) Acts, and for certain administrative Expenses in connection therewith; for Expenses in connection with the trial and detention of certain persons (No. 28 of 1939, No. 1 of 1940 and No. 16 of 1940, etc.); 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 Act, 1939 (No. 21 of 1939); for Reserve Medical Supplies for Civilian Hospitals; for certain Expenses of the Local Defence Force, 1941 to 1946; for Expenses in connection with the issue of Medals, etc.; and for Expenses in connection with the Production of certain Chemicals for Sale.
Before addressing myself to the explanation of this Estimate of £5,047,670 for the Army Vote for the financial year 1946-47, I feel it is opportune to refer to the Government's policy towards the Army. In a recent debate on the Defence Forces (Temporary Provisions) Bill, certain Deputies seemed to think that the Government had no policy regarding the Army and that much of the expenditure  on the Army was an unnecessary and grievous burden on the taxpayer. Indeed, if certain speeches were driven to their logical conclusion, it would appear that the Army would have little or no importance in the future of the State. As, however, I shall show, the Government's military policy has on a number of occasions been enunciated clearly in this House, and Army expenditure has been kept at the lowest possible level consistent with the effective implementation of that policy.
The Government came into power in 1932 at a time when the Estimate for the year had already been determined by our predecessors and we took the responsibility of putting it through this House without a change in the smallest detail. In that year, the Estimate was for £1,345,508, and the Army consisted of about 5,500 regular personnel with 4,300 Class “A”, 3,900 Class “B” reservists, 764 volunteer reserve and 220 reserve officers. The Estimate of £1,279,544, for the following year, 1934, was for practical purposes the same figure and the reduction was mainly attributable to the cessation of certain services and to the reduced level of prices.
By 1935, the Government had time to go into the future policy of the Army and the Estimate, £1,503,836, reflects the policy. In the previous year the Government had established the Volunteer Force, and speaking in this House in 1934, my predecessor said:—
“The policy of the State as regards the Army is briefly to have a small highly-trained standing Army which will serve as a pivot around which may be organised, developed and trained, the entire Reserve and Volunteer Force and, if necessary, the entire man power of the State, and to that end the Army itself is being, and will be, provided with the most intensive training, the most up-to-date arms and equipment, and the most scientific warlike weapons which the State can afford.”
Referring to the increased expenditure, he said:—
“The increase has been utilised . . .mainly in providing technical  courses, equipment and material for all corps and services of the Army. The increased expenditure in technical equipment and material finds ready justification in the very fact that the Regular Army is a small one and that the smaller the Army the more intensive must be its training, the more highly organised its units, and the more specialised its equipment and weapons. . . Such equipment costs money but it is money economically spent, for if there is to be any Army at all, it is in the long view more economical that it should be an effective instrument of defence, rather than a weapon that cannot be relied upon in an emergency.”
In 1936 there was a further increase of £35,000 on the Vote, due mainly to the purchase of warlike stores. As regards these stores, the then Minister said:—
“There is an increase, due to the necessity of renewing aircraft, which has become obsolete, and has had to be put out of commission. In connection with stores generally, it should be noted that in relation to the total cost of the Army, we are spending less on warlike material and equipment than any other country in Europe. This is principally due to the fact that hitherto we have concentrated more on man-power than on mechanical power. We are not, of course, neglecting the aspect of mechanisation, and, as far as our resources permit, we are making every effort to familiarise the Army with this new form of defence. We are, for instance, training the troops in the use of modern tanks, new mechanical fighting vehicles, the latest pattern of trench mortars, the latest models of heavy and light machine-guns, and the most up-to-date methods of wireless telephonic and telegraphic communication in the field. Our efforts in this direction have so far been mainly experimental, but we hope with the lessons thereby acquired to provide the Army gradually with the most modern equipment which our resources can afford”.
In implementing the policy outlined there was in every subsequent year a  gradual increase in the Army Vote especially in regard to equipment and fighting material. In 1938, it was found that the old establishment of the Army was not sufficient to carry out its functions and, in that year, the establishment was raised by 500 other ranks and by a further 1,000 in the following year.
I think, therefore, I have said sufficient to prove that a definite Army policy was formulated by the Government, that the policy was more than once clearly enunciated here in this House, and that there is no substance whatever in the suggestion that we created unnecessary expenditure or added to the taxpayers' burden more than was necessary for his security and protection. I suggest to this House that events during the past six years have more than justified the Government's wisdom and foresight. At the critical moments in 1940 and 1941, we had a small standing Army which served as a pivot around which we were able to organise, develop and train not only the reservists but also a large part of the man power of the State as represented by those who enlisted in the Army for the emergency and the members of the old L.D.F. For that purpose, we gave the Army itself during the days of peace the most intensive training, and, as far as we could, the most up-to-date arms, equipment and scientific warlike weapons.
Our policy in the future will be to maintain a force which will be sufficiently strong and well-equipped to meet effectively whatever contingencies may arise and, having determined the policy, the question arises—what establishment of the regular Army is necessary to carry it out? On the best advice available, and on the strength of past experience, the Government considers that an establishment of about 12,500 all ranks will be needed. That may be modified by experience or by factors outside our control, but, provisionally, we think that we shall require that strength. In 1939, before the outbreak of hostilities we required an establishment of 7,262 other ranks. The proposed establishment of 12,500 would include 11,304 other ranks, and in the Estimate before the House, as a  temporary measure, we are asking for 9,270, that is 2,000 more than the 1939 figure.
Having decided on the policy and the establishment of the regular Army, the next question to be settled is its cost and that will be determined by the conditions of service, the cost of commodities and the price of warlike materials. The conditions of service are much better and, therefore, more costly to-day than in 1932. Every N.C.O. has received an increase of 6d. a day, and every private soldier 1/- a day. In 1932, the rates of pay for privates were 2/-, 2/3 and 2/6; to-day they are 3/-, 3/3 and 3/6. That alone would mean an increase on the 1932 figure of £76,520. In 1932 the admission of the married soldier to the married establishment was conditioned by age and service and was limited to a percentage of the total establishment of the Army. We have abolished the undesirable limitations of age and percentage, and have conditioned the admission by two years' service alone. The result is that while in 1932 the cost was only £70,000 a year, to-day the cost is £250,000. On the 1932 establishment that would involve an increase of nearly £100,000. Again in 1932, we were able to feed the soldier on the basis of a ration allowance of 1/5 a day but now the allowance has risen to 2/3 a day. That means, on the 1932 establishment, an increase of about £75,000. These three factors—and there are many others—show that we could not have to-day the Army of 1932 without an increase of £250,000.
Coming now to the Estimate for the year 1946-47, it will be seen that the new organisation provides for three arms: the Regular or Permanent Force, a First Line Reserve, and a Second Line Reserve composed of An Fórsa Cosanta Aitiúil.
As regards the first arm, the Permanent Force, the establishment provided for is purely provisional and does not represent the definite peace establishment which has yet to be fixed and approved. The Estimate here provides for:—officers, 1,504; other ranks, 9,270; cadets, 146; Construction Corps, 1,775; chaplains, 21; nurses, 153; total, 12,869 all ranks.
 The second arm, the First Line Reserve, comprises the old forces— Class A Reserve, Class B Reserve, Volunteer Force, Reserve of Officers, and the new force, Reserve of Men— First Line. Our intention is to allow men from the old forces, if eligible, to enlist in the new force, but if they do not wish to do so, to allow them to serve out the residue of their engagements in the old forces. The latter will, therefore, gradually disappear and this Line will then be exclusively composed of Reservists, First Line. Here, the Estimate provides for about 9,000 all ranks.
The third arm, the old L.D.F., now known as An Fórsa Cosanta Aitiúil, will form a Second Line Reserve and we hope that we shall have about 50,000 all ranks.
In addition to the military establishments, the Estimate covers the civilian establishment of the Department. It provides for the employment of 2,326 civilians as follows:—Civilians attached to units (sub-head C), 1,518; Department of Defence (sub-head Y), 742; transport vessels (sub-head S (1)), 35; industrial plant (sub-head P (3)), 22; herds and caretakers (sub-head T), 9; total, 2,326.
Turning from the establishment to the financial aspect of the Estimate, the gross original Estimate last year was for £8,411,942, but towards the end of that year the House approved a supplementary sum of £1,081,906, making a total gross Vote for the year 1945-46 of £9,493,848. The gross Estimate now before the House is £5,047,670, so that, in effect, there is a decrease of £4,446,178. But, even here, it is necessary to point out that, in the gross total for this year, there is included a purely emergency carrying-over of £771,000, made up as follows:—Emergency gratuities and re-enlistment bounties (sub-head A (4)), £770,000; gratuities to chaplains, £1,000; total, £771,000. If, therefore,, we exclude this purely emergency item, the total decreases on the Vote would be £5,217,178.
The principal item of expenditure in the Estimate is the cost of the regular Army (including the Construction Corps). Pay is only one of the many  items included in that expenditure for, in addition to his pay, the soldier is maintained at public expense and receives free clothing, fuel, light, water, medical treatment, transport, furniture, food, insurance, etc. The pay and upkeep of an unmarried Class III private soldier costs the State to-day about £127 a year, and, if married, about £223. The comparative figures in 1932 were £93 and £148. Under all these items, the expenditure in the Vote is £2,680,499 made up as follows:—pay, £1,495,802; cash allowances, £612,699; allowances in kind, £571,998; total, £2,680,499.
The same costing factors in the case of the First Line Reserve show the expenditure to be £80,900, made up of:— pay (including grants), £68,150; cash allowances, £3,700; allowances in kind, £9,050; total, £80,900.
The expenditure under the similar headings of the Second Line Reserve is £115,944, made up of:— pay (including grants), £72,800; cash allowances, £3,156; allowances in kind, £39,488; hire of halls, £500; total, £115,944.
The cost of the civilian establishments in salaries, wages, insurance and allowances is £522,841, comprising:— civilians attached to units, £289,342; Department of Defence, £213,853; marine transport service, £8,807; industrial plant, £3,000; herds and caretakers, £1,003; insurance, £6,836; total, £522,841.
The next heavy item of expenditure on the Vote is that of stores and here we must distinguish between stores for warlike purposes and ordinary stores which cannot be regarded as essentially fighting weapons. Under ordinary stores, we have such items as medical equipment, transport vehicles, petrol and oils, camp equipment, transport vessels, engineering tools and plants, and many other items too numerous to mention. These items are distributed over several headings of the Estimate but their total cost is, approximately, £340,336.
Stores whose primary function is of a warlike nature, such as aircraft, artillery, rifles, machine guns, armoured vehicles and combat vessels, are estimated to cost about £397,545. This sum is made up of items included  in sub-heads O, P, P (2) and Q as follows:—Sub-head O — capital and maintenance, £179,460; sub-head P— maintenance, £16,235; sub-head P (2)— capital and maintenance, £200,100; sub-head Q — targets, etc., £1,750; Total, £397,545.
The capital expenditure under sub-head O covers the purchase of 12 Spitfires, three Ansons and two target towers. This purchase is in accord with the military policy of equipping the Army with the latest obtainable modern weapons of defence and will help to bring our equipment in this respect up-to-date.
The capital expenditure under sub-head P (2) comprises the cost of purchasing three corvettes for coastal patrol. During the emergency we bought a number of small motor torpedo boats which are quite satisfactory but the Muirchu and Fort Rannoch have now served their purpose and we hope to replace them by corvettes.
There are a number of other items included in the Estimate which cannot be grouped under any distinctive general heading and which are, therefore, best grouped as incidentals. They cost £94,573 and comprise:—
Technical courses abroad, £1,000; horse shows, £1,000; assistance to civil aviation, £500; military lands (capital and maintenance), £16,068; compensation for damage to property, £15,250; telegrams and telephones, £44,150; industrial plant stores, £4,750; Special Criminal Courts, etc., £6,080; medals, £1,000; claims for old L.D.F., £2,500; miscellaneous expenses (advertisements, postage, etc.), £2,275; total, £94,573.
The final item covered in the Estimate is the cost of the Air Raid Precautions Branch at £44,032. This comprises:—Grants, £40,632; maintenance of stores, £3,400; total, £44,032.
The grants cover £26,130 in respect of outstanding claims by local authorities, essential undertakers, employees and hospitals, and £14,502 mainly for the removal of shelters, static water tanks, signs, cowling lights, sirens, etc., during the present year.
 Summing up, therefore, the expenditure on the Army as represented by this Estimate, the position is:
As regards the Army itself, Deputies will realise that it is in a state of transition from emergency to peace conditions. During the financial year 115 regular officers are due to retire and, of these, 102 will on 31st March, 1946, proceed on six months' leave with full pay and allowances. Of 1,231 temporary officers, 331 have been found suitable for retention and, consequently, about 730 will be released between now and June; 70 in July, and 100 in August, 1946. The demobilisation of all ranks is proceeding rapidly and up to 15th March, 1946, gratuities have been paid to 751 officers at a cost of £115,658, and to 27,263 other ranks (or their dependents) at a cost of £1,387,517. In addition, we have up to the same date dealt to a conclusion with 31,771 claims for unemployment insurance. From these figures it would seem that by next October the problem of demobilisation should be nearing completion.
In concluding this review of the Army's policy, organisation and expenditure, I feel it fitting that I should end with a reference to what may be described as the final appearance of the emergency Army before the public. I refer to the military exhibitions and tattoos held last autumn at Cork, Limerick and Dublin. There were as many men encamped in the vicinity of Ballsbridge for the purposes of the exhibition and tattoo as there were in the old pre-emergency Army, and it is a tribute to all concerned that such a large body of men was handled without  a hitch of any kind. In the exhibitions the public were given an intelligent insight into the weapons, machinery and instruments which must be known, mastered and handled by a modern Army and, in the tattoos, they were given an idea of the training and tactics employed and of the use in warfare of the various weapons.
The hundreds of thousands of people who attended the exhibitions and tattoos had an opportunity of judging for themselves the pitch of efficiency to which the Defence Forces attained during the emergency and I feel there can have been nobody who did not bring away with him a feeling of appreciation and pride.
Mr. Cosgrave Mr. Cosgrave
Mr. Cosgrave: The Minister in his opening remarks was I thought rather stupid in attempting to demonstrate to the House that there has been a consistent policy on the question of defence. I do not propose to go back any length but I think the Minister himself must realise that there was a rapid change in the viewpoint of his colleagues before they became the Government as compared with the viewpoint a very short time after they became the Government. I think it is idle for anyone with experience of the last few years to attempt to say that the defence policy has been, or could be, consistent. We have learned over the experience of the last five years that from the point of view of the emergency Army, the Army which existed in 1939, was totally inadequate and whatever the conditions were in that Army in the immediately preceding years, they in no way assisted, or assisted only to a very small extent, the recruitment of a large emergency Army.
An Ceann Comhairle Frank Fahy
An Ceann Comhairle: May I take it that the Deputy is moving that the Vote be referred back?
Mr. Cosgrave Mr. Cosgrave
Mr. Cosgrave: Yes, Sir, I move that the Vote be referred back for consideration. The Minister has given us a fairly detailed statement of the present position in the Army but while saying that the Government has a defence policy, in so far as it considers an establishment of 12,500 officers and  men for the Regular Army as the target to be aimed at, he did not say on what grounds the Government considered such a large Army as either necessary or desirable. In the recent debate on the Defence Forces (Temporary Provisions) Bill, we had a discussion on the strength of the Army. I think it was pointed out to the Minister that the general view of the Opposition is that to have such a large number in the Regular Army entails far too heavy a burden for this country. The Minister was at pains to inform the House that the pay and allowances of a soldier are far better now than they were in the year 1932 and even for a few years after 1932, but, of course, he omitted to tell the House that the cost of living has practically doubled since then, if indeed the increase has not gone far higher. He did say that the cost of maintaining a Class B private in 1932 was £93 and that the cost now is something like £127 while the cost of maintaining a Class B married soldier has increased from £148 in 1932 to £223 now.
It is true to say that pay and allowances have increased recently, but I think that is due largely to the pressure brought to bear on the Minister and his Department by various Deputies. It would be well for the Minister, in considering future defence policy, to bear in mind to what extent recruitment will be affected by pay and conditions. I think anybody who is in contact with the Army realises that pay and conditions are not what might be desired, that the pay and allowances, particularly marriage allowances, are inadequate to meet the cost of living at the present time, and that if the Army is to be maintained at strength, without any large number of desertions, conditions must be improved. I do not want to compare conditions here with those obtaining in England, but it is apparent that the Regular Army there is going to be treated for the future far better than has hitherto been the case. It is equally true that unless conditions here are improved considerably the attraction of the better conditions of service which the authorities are in a  position to give over there, will operate against recruitment and the retention of a large Army here. I think the Minister and the Government ought to consider a policy which would aim at keeping the personnel of whatever strength is decided on for the Army here in comfort and in a satisfactory state.
Conditions have not been satisfactory. Conditions during the emergency operated in such a way as to induce a large, or fairly large, number of men to desert. It is quite obvious that this country cannot afford the same standards of pay or ration allowances as can be afforded in England, but it would be far better and a far sounder policy to provide better conditions for whatever number of men it is decided to retain as a permanent standing Army than to retain a fairly large standing Army and to have that Army discontented. An Army which is adequately provided for in the matter of pay, allowances and conditions is a far better defensive weapon than an Army which is discontented or dissatisfied. It is generally known that soldiers usually complain—they are inclined to “grouse” at any time— but if conditions are so improved as to make soldiering attractive or, at any rate, sufficiently attractive to enlist the services of young men over a period and to enable them to realise that their services will be adequately appreciated and will at the end of a period in a particular rank be bettered by promotion and increased allowances and pay, then I think the possibility of having here an effective defence weapon is considerably improved and is likely to be far greater than if pay and allowances are allowed to remain at their present level.
In dealing with Army conditions, the Government should consider the present inadequate barrack accommodation. At present, almost without exception, the accommodation in military barracks is inadequate. All the barracks, with the exception of Kildare and one or two smaller posts, were built 20, 30 and 40 years ago. They were built at a time when conditions for soldiers were far harder  than they are now and we will never get satisfactory conditions in the Army if living conditions are not improved, and I suggest it would be wise either to modernise the existing barracks or to rebuild them on the present sites.
The Minister has told us that 331 temporary officers have been recruited and found suitable for retention in the permanent force and that the release of the remaining temporary officers is anticipated to be completed by August. I should like the Minister to give the House some information on the future policy with regard to promotion in the Army. Promotion has been a bone of contention for some time, particularly the promotion of temporary officers to senior ranks. During the emergency, promotion was generally a race between the division and the other commands. It was often a race between the division, on one hand, to see how many they could promote and the commands, on the other, and that policy operated very often in such a way as to promote junior ranks to positions for which they had not and could not have sufficient training. In future, with a permanent Army, it would be an entirely bad precedent to promote on these lines. Promotion should be based on seniority of rank and experience.
In considering the matter of promotion, the Government must consider the question of courses for officers. Since 1927, the cadet college has functioned here, and, during the last 15 or 16 years, quite a large number of officers have been commissioned from the military college. Many of these remained for nine or ten years in the same rank, with the possible exception of promotion from second to first lieutenant. Then the emergency came along and they were promoted rapidly. These officers had adequate training and experience for promotion to higher ranks, but the same cannot be said of many of the officers promoted from the temporary class. These officers did short courses which were designed to fit them for junior positions, and, with few exceptions—in fact, without any exceptions—they received no advanced course. It is entirely undesirable that promotion should be on that basis. It  should be on a basis of seniority and training.
I should like to hear from the Minister—I notice provision in the Vote for the expenditure of £1,000 on courses abroad—to what extent it is proposed to avail of these courses this year, where they will be undertaken and how many officers will avail of them. I should like the Minister to say also what is the position of the officers who were specially enlisted in 1933 and 1934. A number of these were enlisted for the Volunteer Force. So far as I know, no age limit has been prescribed. I should like to know if there is an age limit, how many of these officers have retired within the past year or so and whether it is intended to retain these officers in future, and, if so, in what capacity?
Another matter of importance is the position with regard to the pay of medical officers. I hope the Minister intends to adhere to the decision of the Supreme Court and pay to the medical officers the back pay to which they are entitled. The position of medical officers in the Army for a considerable time has not been satisfactory. The particular case which was taken was taken as a test case, and the Supreme Court decided in favour of the officers. From the point of view of the future credit of the Army, it should be decided that these officers will receive their pay and allowances and that neither they nor the State will be involved in the discredit resulting from the bringing of further proceedings. One judge of the Supreme Court expressed the opinion that it was unthinkable that the Minister would refuse to pay these officers their back pay, and, from the point of view of the future of the Army, the Minister should accept the Supreme Court's decision and give this back pay to the officers.
On the general question of a large Army of this kind, we must take into consideration the rapidity with which military equipment becomes obsolete, the rapidity with which the equipment has become obsolete within the last few years. It is unwise and bad economy for this country to expend large sums on obsolete equipment. In  certain cases it may be that the equipment was bought and became obsolete a very short time afterwards. Those contingencies cannot be foreseen always, but in connection with the marine service we propose to spend a considerable sum this year in excess of last year. The Minister praised the M.T.B's. I do not know whether they have served their purpose, but, so far as I am aware, they can go out only in fine weather. In fact, they are tied to the quays in bad weather and in the winter. I do not know whether they have a purpose for fine weather, but as an effective defence weapon I think they have been found useless.
The corvettes have been purchased principally to replace the Muirchu and Fort Rannoch. If they are found suitable, I hope that adequate patrolling will be done, as there is considerable dissatisfaction in coastal areas with the patrol system. It may not have been possible during the war to patrol the areas adequately, because of the danger of floating mines, but that danger should, and I hope will, be receding in the future. In that connection, I would like to impress on the Minister the desirability, if the occasion should arise, of recruiting again or having available adequate demolition squads and having a sufficient watch kept in coastal areas for floating mines. It is unfortunate that we had one or two explosions and, so far as it is in our power, we should attempt to prevent any recurrence of what happened at Dalkey.
Another matter which has not been dealt with satisfactorily up to the present is the compensation paid to landowners whose property was acquired during the emergency. Considerable delay has taken place in some cases in the payment of compensation. That is not satisfactory, either from the point of view of the individual concerned or that of the Army. It reflects on the credit of the Army and gives rise to considerable dissatisfaction, so I would urge the Minister to expedite compensation in those cases.
This House would welcome a more detailed explanation of the Government's policy in regard to the standing  Army in the future of over 12,000 men. It was only reasonable to assume that, at the end of hostilities, a considerable reduction would have taken place in the standing Army. I think the principal reason for the size of the Army proposed is that the Government have no policy for finding alternative employment for those people. If that is so, it would be far better to say so. It would be better to have a smaller, better equipped, better trained and more contented Army than have a larger Army on paper and find, after a certain length of time, it was not possible to get sufficient recruits and that some of those recruited were dissatisfied. Unless the conditions of pay are improved, the Army will continue to be unattractive. I think that the conditions have improved considerably in certain respects, but in the future, unless conditions are sufficiently attractive to get support from the officers and men, the effectiveness of the Army is bound to be diminished. I would urge the Minister to consider the pay and conditions in the light of the present cost of living and cost of maintenance. Officers are now paid a ration allowance of 2/3, 2/4 or 2/5 a day, compared with the pay of 1/9 or 1/10 five or six years ago, which shows how inadequate the ration allowance is. The same applies to the conditions in regard to men, whose ration allowance, while it has increased, is entirely inadequate or at least insufficient to meet the present cost of living. Unless the ration allowance is increased, there is bound to be dissatisfaction. Alternatively, if the Government feel they cannot increase the ration allowance, they should make more definite efforts to reduce the cost of living.
I would like to hear from the Minister if a decision has been reached on the Defence Forces Pension Scheme of 1937 and if it will be possible for the officers to receive their gratuity, or for the widow or children to receive it after the officer's death, even if he does not retire. That is a matter I referred to before and I think it has been under consideration. I would also like the House to get some information on the question of gratuities for the Army Nursing Service.
Mr. Norton Mr. Norton
 Mr. Norton: I suppose there will be a number of persons who will criticise the extent of this Estimate on the ground that an expenditure of over £5,000,000 on the Army, now that the war has concluded, is an expenditure which, in our circumstances, represents quite a substantial proportion of our total national taxation. In these matters, however, we must take a balanced view and recognise that it is neither too easy nor too simple a matter to step down from a high scale of wartime expenditure on the Army to a peace-time expenditure, having regard to the inevitable transition expenditure which is involved in reducing the Army from a wartime to a peace-time status. Speaking personally in the matter, I think the expenditure on the Army this year, in all the circumstances, is not unreasonable. If we reflect for a few moments on what small countries like Belgium, Holland and Denmark have had to pay through their being involved in the recent war, if we reflect on what they have still to pay in the form of moneys which had to be expended then, and if we think of the loss of national assets and national income they all suffered during the war years, then we must realise that, on the whole, we have exceptionally good reasons to congratulate ourselves on the fact that our expenditure to-day is as low as it is in relation to those other small countries throughout the world, whether they were involved in the war or were permitted to remain neutral.
It is true, of course, that any type of expenditure which is not reproductive is economically not a prudent type of expenditure from the point of view of increasing the national income; but in these days one has to realise that an army is a necessary item of expenditure. In countries where armies have been small and weak, there has been, in the main, a trial of violation of independence and neutrality and a trial of long and bitter suffering for those who, unfortunately, failed to make provision for defence. In all the circumstances, we can feel some satisfaction in the knowledge that the Army expenditure is not unduly high and that we have been spared very considerable  expense by reason of the fact that, under Providence, we have escaped being drawn into the cauldron of war.
I should like, at this stage, to say that all Parties recognise at once the deep debt of gratitude we owe to the many thousands of men who joined the Defence Forces during the emergency. They joined a small Army which might, in the circumstances of the last six years, have been opposed to titanic military forces in Europe. The fact that they gladly joined that Army, knowing they were not adequately equipped, knowing that in a military contest they would be in an unequal position vis-à-vis their adversaries, is a magnificent tribute to the courage, heroism and fibre of those men. I think no Party in this House will grudge any provision that the nation makes for those who were so willing to sacrifice their all for their country during the past six years.
There are two points that I would like to advert to in connection with this Estimate. The Minister has told us about the cost of the Army, the expenditure on the payment of soldiers, warlike stores, the administration of the civil personnel and many of the other ancillary services which are inseparable from an army. My difficulty is to appreciate the wisdom of expenditure on certain lines of Army activities without some knowledge as to what is the military policy behind the expenditure. No member of the Dáil can get a detailed view of what the Army line of policy is. He may get a broad statement from the Minister saying that the Army, instead of relying largely on man power, is now relying on mechanised weapons of offence and defence. Beyond that he can get no detailed indication of Army policy. One cannot glean sufficient information to enable one to ascertain the wisdom of the expenditure in the different Army spheres.
I think in many countries there has been established what has been described as a defence committee or a defence conference, because these countries have recognised that national defence is not just a matter for the  Party in power at a particular time. They recognise that national defence is a matter which concerns every Party in the State. All shades of political thought are naturally interested in the evolution and implementation of a satisfactory defence policy. Here, over the past 22 years, we have had a defence policy which has been the policy of the Party in power. The Minister, in his review to-day, told us the manner in which this Government altered the defence policy of the last Government. Defence ought not to be the plaything of political Parties. There ought to be some continuity about a defence policy. When you are planning an effective defence policy in this country, you are not planning a campaign against your political opponents. You have not to do the things, or think, in the same way as you would have to when you are planning an election campaign.
In a defence policy you have to think of the whole nation, not merely of the Government in power and its supporters, but of all the people, even those who voted against putting the Government in power. When an invader comes in, he does not ask the politics of those who oppose him; he is concerned merely with suppressing whatever opposition shows itself. Therefore, I think, in our circumstances, and particularly in the world circumstances of to-day and the arena that is opened up before us, we might usefully make a departure from our past practice of basing defence policy on the viewpoint of the Government in power and we should, instead, endeavour to diffuse responsibility for our defence policy over all Parties, so that in planning the best defence policy we would have the goodwill, the cooperation and whatever useful contributions can be made by all groups in the House towards ensuring an effective defence.
In my view, defence is a national task and it ought to be the responsibility of all Parties in the Dáil to contribute towards the best defence policy we can evolve. I suggest to the Minister that if it is not convenient for him to do so in his reply to this debate, he ought to find an early opportunity  of considering in what way all Parties may be enabled, as they were during the emergency years, to contribute towards a pool of intelligence which will show itself in the form of a united national defence policy against the possibilities of aggression.
I think it is bad for the Army, I think it is stupid from the point of view of national defence, if our whole defence policy is to undergo a radical change when a new Government comes into office. Even from the point of view of those who are professional soldiers, from the point of view of those concerned with defence only and not concerned with political issues, I think there must be some definite attraction in people being able to know that the best defence policy that can be produced will be pursued, no matter what Party may hold the reins of office.
The Minister told us that the pay of the Army is approximately £2,600,000 and it represents 53 per cent. of the expenditure in the Estimate. I suppose £2,600,000 looks a big sum, but when you remember that 12,000 people have to be provided for out of that, you get some picture of how little you can give to the persons who comprise that 12,000. I have a strong complaint in connection with this Estimate. I agree my complaint could have been stronger, and was stronger when I voiced it years ago. My strong complaint still is against the rates of pay allowed to our soldiers. There is, unfortunately, in this country a very bad background, a very bad tradition, in respect of soldiers. When the British were recruiting people here we always heard that recruitment to the British Army was accompanied by the taking of 1/-. The 1/- mentality predominated for a long time. Joining the Army was never accompanied at all by the expenditure of pounds. The whole mentality was to get folk into the army and give them 1/- each. It is that 1/- valuation on the soldier, now adjusted to the higher cost of living, that unfortunately still persists here.
I agree that the Minister has done a good deal, and I know he is personally sympathetic to the raising of the  status of soldiers; but much as has been done, and much as I appreciate what has been done, the soldier is still very badly paid. I do not know whether any member of this House ever met a soldier who was well off. There are many thousands of soldiers in my constituency and I never yet met a soldier with a bob. The bulk of them are wondering how they will be able to make ends meet. I do not believe anybody ever met a comfortably circumstanced soldier. If anybody did, I would be glad to be introduced to such a soldier. I met many thousands of soldiers in my time, more especially in recent years because of the many stationed in my constituency, and they all have the same Lazarus-like-story to tell. They never have a bob, never have a “bean”, and they cannot make ends meet on the pay they get.
I would like the Minister to feel assured that, from this side of the House at all events, he will have abundant support in adopting the policy of giving our soldiers a decent rate of pay. I want the Minister to get away from the bad, filthy background of the soldier and the 1/-; I want him to leave behind the feeling that when men join the Army it is in groats of that kind that they are paid. I want to see the occupation of a soldier as good and respectable and as well paid as if the person went into industrial life. I can see no reason why a soldier ought not to be paid Army allowances on the basis of civilian standards. Nobody pretends that soldiers are being paid on the basis of civilian standards to-day. The rates of pay are inadequate, the marriage allowances are inadequate and the sooner we get away from that bad old background of low pay for the soldier, the sooner we will get an Army which will attract to it the very best elements within the State.
Although the tradition of low pay for the Army in this country was of British origin, I should like to point out that the British have long since recognised the unwisdom of pursuing a policy of that kind. In their postwar plans for recruitment to the  Army, they have laid it down that the aim is to step up the soldier's pay standards to civilian levels. I want to see the same done here, not because it is done in Britain, but because it is the right and proper thing to do.
Every soldier in our Army who meets soldiers from Canada, Australia, or New Zealand marvels at the pay which they receive. They are immensely better than our rates. New Zealand is not a very big country, and yet it pays its soldiers very substantially better than we pay our soldiers. It is no wonder, therefore, that our soldiers should marvel at the rates which the Governments in these countries pay to their soldiers, while here at home we are still wallowing in the old standard of low pay to the soldier, because up to the present those who serve in our Army have not been able to command from the State that measure of recognition which the soldiers in these overseas countries have been able to command from their people. I would like, therefore, to see the Minister take a strong line—it is one for which he will have abundant support—in urging that the soldier ought to take his place, so far as rate standards are concerned, with the best civilian employees in the country. They should be paid decently not only because they serve the nation, but because they, in a special way, take on risks and hazards which perhaps the ordinary industrial worker does not take for the wage envelope which he receives at the end of the week.
There is one matter—a local matter —to which I would like to refer. In the County Kildare there was a number of military establishments at Naas. Kildare and the Curragh, with the result that there is a very large Army personnel in these areas. Because of that large Army personnel there are a large number of Army marriages and a large number of military families, the natural consequences of these marriages. There is then the problem of accommodating the married families in these areas. I have personal experience, day in and day out, of soldiers' wives and N.C.O.s' wives coming to see me, and asking me what can be done to get them accommodation.  The married quarters at the Curragh Camp are grossly inadequate for the Army personnel stationed there, with the result that soldiers' wives and N.C.O.s' wives are forced to get accommodation outside. The position is that a regular soldier in the Army will not be considered by the county council for the tenancy of any house owned by it, so that soldiers' wives and N.C.O.s' wives have to try to get accommodation in places which are already badly overcrowded, in places where the housing accommodation is insufficient. I do not think that is a right attitude for the State to adopt towards those who serve in the Army: that their wives and children should be warehoused—because that is what is happening, they are not being housed—in one room or in two rooms in any kind of habitation they can get in the vicinity of the barracks in which their husbands are stationed. There is an abundance of room at the Curragh Camp. There is no shortage of building space or of people willing to build. I suggest to the Minister that, as he is likely to locate a very substantial portion of the Army on the Curragh and in Kildare in the years to come, consideration ought to be given to the question of increasing the married quarters attached to these two barracks, so that soldiers' wives and N.C.O.s' wives will be able to get decent accommodation there and not be forced to compete with civilians in trying to get the tenancy of such houses as are available, the alternative being to put up with accommodation in overcrowded circumstances in any kind of habitation they can get. I trust the Minister will realise that, in suggesting that, I am concerned merely with the welfare of those who serve in the Army and because I think it would make for their contentment and would also promote contentment so far as their wives and children are concerned. I would ask the Minister to give special and sympathetic consideration to the question of improving the married quarters in that area.
In concluding, I want to say one thing which I feel I ought to say because of the constituency which I represent. On many occasions I have had to trouble the Department of  Defence over the last six years. That was due to the fact that there is a very large number of civilian personnel employed by the Department of Defence in the County Kildare, and that there has always been a very large number of Army personnel stationed there. That, in turn, has meant for me, and I suppose for the other Deputies who represent the constituency, having to trouble the Department of Defence on a great many occasions. I think it would be remiss of me if I did not take this opportunity, which I think is a suitable one, to pay tribute to the Minister's staff for the kindness, courtesy and the painstaking manner in which they dealt with all the representations made to them. Although every time I had occasion to make contact with them I was representing a grievance and was not very much concerned about their personal welfare—to that extent it probably could be said of me that I was not a very welcome visitor—I want to put it on record that, in all my approaches to them, they were unfailingly courteous, and I know that they did everything possible to remedy whatever genuine grievances were brought to their attention. I think the Minister ought to know that. I would like him to know that, so far as my contacts with his staff were concerned, they were very pleasant ones. The result was that those serving in the Minister's Department helped to remedy many grievances.
Mr. Blowick Mr. Blowick
Mr. Blowick: The Minister, in his opening statement, mentioned that so far as the Army is concerned there was a definite policy. I hope there is. He indicated that the strength of the Army was to be maintained at in or about 12,500. I was rather disappointed that he did not elaborate the reason for that, especially in view of the fact that that figure is almost double the strength of the Army in peace times. There may be very good, sound reasons for maintaining the Army at its present strength. If so, I would like to hear them. In view of the increased efficiency in all kinds of Army equipment, one would imagine  that a much smaller number of men would suffice for the defence of the country.
Some time ago I suggested that military barracks which have been vacated in towns through the country should be utilised for civilian purposes. In many towns there is a good deal of overcrowding, due to lack of housing accommodation. I would be glad if the Minister would see that all available barrack space would be turned over to civilian use. It would be much better to have those buildings occupied during the peace period than to have them unoccupied. Under sub-head P (2), there is a question of the provision of extra boats for the Marine Service. The fisheries around our coast, in many cases, are being plundered by foreign trawlers. At least they were being plundered up to some time ago, although I have not had any recent reports on the matter. Now, we have practically no means of countering that. I think it is very important that we should have fast boats under the command of the Minister's Department to deal with that situation, and I believe that any money spent in that direction would be well spent. After all, it is extraordinary that fishermen can come from France, Spain, and other foreign countries and plunder our coasts, while our own fishermen are very often robbed of their harvest because there is no proper supervision over these foreigners who come along to our shores.
Now, on the question of warlike stores, a point that struck me during the debate was: what warlike stores are we getting at the moment—what class of such stores? Are we now getting the most modern stores, or are the stores we are getting stores that were contracted for some years ago with countries abroad and which, as a result of the war, these countries were unable or unwilling to supply us with? In view of the rapid development of all kinds of warlike stores and equipment, are we now getting the most modern stores, or are we getting what would now be regarded as obsolete equipment? I should like the Minister, when he is replying, to enlighten us on that point.
 Now that we can fairly draw our breath as a result of the ending of the world war, I think that we should take this opportunity of saying a word of praise and thanks, not only to the Army, but the other auxiliary defence forces, for what they did during the war. Our defence forces were small, and there is no doubt that if any of the belligerent nations had attacked us they would have been able to throw in terrific forces against us, but that did not deter the L.D.F., the L.S.F., and the various other defence forces from coming to the aid of our country, and I believe that had any aggressor been foolish enough to make a descent upon us, that aggressor nation would have needed three to one in order to meet the attack that would have assailed him from all sides here. I think that the L.D.F., in particular, did wonderful work. They unselfishly gave a lot of their time to preparing themselves for anything that might have occurred, and I am sure they would have put up a good show had we been attacked. Thank God, however, the necessity did not arise. While I am on this point, I notice that a new L.D.F. force is about to be formed, which will take its place in the life of the country as an integral portion of the Army, and a free Army at that. Now, I think that we should offer some recompense to the members of the new L.D.F. for their time. They have been asked to attest for a five-year period, which most of them, who are of the required age, are doing. These men are devoting their spare time to the service of their country, and I think that some bounty, no matter how small it is, should be paid to them each year. I do not like advocating increased expenditure, but we are asking, approximately, 50,000 men to devote some of their spare time to Army purposes. If in the future we should be faced with another emergency, we will have these men to fall back upon and, no doubt, they will answer the call in the same way as the majority of Irishmen always did. Accordingly I think that it would be a good thing if some bounty were paid to them, say, around the Christmas period, no matter how small it might be, because, after all, we must regard  the members of the L.D.F. as what one might call a free portion of the Army.
In conclusion, I should like to refer to one other point. It is a question that was raised here on a few occasions previously, and that is in connection with the old uniforms of the L.D.F., and, particularly, the L.D.F. overcoats or greatcoats. I think that these men should be allowed to retain possession of these greatcoats. I may say that I was not asked to put this question, but I understand that the Army authorities sold a number of these overcoats by lots, and I did see some of these overcoats being cut up in garages and used as grease rags. I do not see what would be wrong about giving permission to the L.D.F. men to retain their overcoats—of course, removing the various marks or insignia, and dyeing them. Personally, I would rather see the members of the L.D.F. being allowed to retain these coats than see them being cut up into small squares to be used as grease rags after being sold in lots. We must also remember that some of the members of the L.D.F. are rather poor. They took very good care of those coats while they were in the force, and some of them may not find it easy to get an overcoat of any kind now. For these reasons, I think that the Minister should agree that the L.D.F. should retain their overcoats and not allow them to be used for scrap purposes, as I myself saw on one occasion.
Mr. Hughes Mr. Hughes
Mr. Hughes: Deputy Norton said that he was one of those who did not want to criticise the amount provided for here. I think, however, that this is an immense sum and that we are entitled to criticise it. At the same time, I am not one of those who believe that there is no necessity for an Army here. There is a necessity for an Army here, but I think that Deputy Norton was rather unfortunate in some of the instances that he mentioned, particularly in regard to Denmark, because Denmark had no Army at all, practically, and surrendered the moment she was invaded and, consequently, suffered very little damage. So far as our country is concerned, I  think that there is a definite responsibility on us to defend ourselves against an aggressor and to make all the necessary provisions to do that, but we must ask ourselves whether or not it is necessary to spend all this sum of money for that purpose.
When the Minister was introducing this Vote, he told us that we had a definite defence policy, and I thought he would have told us what it was. I think that this House and the country are entitled to get that information, but I do not think we got any information from the Minister in justification of the proposed increase in Army strength to two-and-a-half times what was the pre-war Army. Neither did we get any explanation as to what defence policy we propose to pursue in this country now. The Minister spoke of the policy of his predecessor with regard to the question of manpower and equipment, and said that this is now changed. We must bear in mind, however, the geographical situation of this country: that we are an island close to Europe, and that, unfortunately, it is generally in Europe that the big wars take place. One would have expected, therefore, that the House would have been given some information regarding our air defences and our sea defences. As we are an island country, we must pay particular attention to our sea defences and to the defence of the skies overhead, but the Minister did not make any attempt to deal with that, or to give the House any indication of what the ideas of our experts are in the new circumstances of the world, or what complete change there ought to be, so far as Army policy is concerned in the future. Bearing in mind the extraordinary and fearful development of implements of war that has taken place during the course of the war that is just now over, surely, from the experts' point of view there must be an absolutely complete change in policy, and if there is such a change I think the House is entitled to get information about it. The Minister asserted that we had a policy, but he gave us no information about that policy. I ask him to deal with that matter fully when he is replying  and to let us know what that policy is.
I do not agree with Deputy Norton that we should have a defence conference here. I think that in the normal life of the country it is better to leave the Party in power to carry out their policy, and then it is our part to support that policy or criticise it, or, at least, to watch what is being done and, if we think that what the Party in power is doing is wrong, to try to convince them that it is wrong. Deputy Norton suggested that we should have a sort of defence conference because there ought to be a continuity of policy. If that argument is sound, and if there is such an absolute necessity for continuity of the defence policy in the event of a change of Government, I think the same argument holds good as far as economic policy is concerned, so that we could have some sort of conference dealing with things outside defence, which are possibly more important than defence. Deputy Norton was favourably impressed by the way in which the Defence Conference operated, and with the success it achieved during the emergency. I was not a member of that conference, and I do not know how far it attained the aims envisaged when it was set up. At least, I know this, that it fizzled out in a rather peculiar way, and did not meet for a long period before the final meeting. That gave me the impression that its work was not so very successful that we could now advocate with enthusiasm making it a permanent feature of our defence policy.
I feel that the House is not being fairly treated. We are asked to vote an immense sum of money for the Army. It is a big sum, as far as our circumstances are concerned. If it is necessary to spend such a big sum on defence, and to increase the personnel of the Army two and a half times over the pre-war standard, then we should get full and frank information as to how such a decision was arrived at. If we are to rely on the Army staff as to what sort of Army we are going to have, and what the policy is to be, they must be consulted. I am certain that professional soldiers' anxiety would be to have a bigger Army, and to try to  convince the Minister for Defence and the Government that there should be a bigger Army. Possibly there had to be consultation and advice taken as to policy from the professional staff, but the Government has to make up its mind whether the case made by the staff is a sound one. I hope there was not a 100 per cent. decision on the advice given by those who have no responsibility as far as the finances of the State are concerned. I disagree with Deputy Norton there.
The sum we are asked to vote, bearing in mind the provision made for this purpose pre-war, shows a very substantial increase. The Minister has not attempted to justify the increase. He made certain comparisons, but his statement lacked information that the House and the country is looking for.
We are shaping a completely new Army, and inviting new officers and new personnel to build up the new force. Now is the time to satisfy the House and the country that the policy we envisage and the machinery proposed to build it up is necessary in our circumstances. We had a vague idea from the Minister that we were going in for a mechanical Army. Obviously that is necessary. How far are we going in for such an Army? If we are going to spend a considerable sum of money in that way, in proportion to the amount required for personnel, how will it compare with the pre-war position? What amount of the present equipment is obsolete? I understand that machines in recent years become obsolete very rapidly. If so, it is really worthless to maintain obsolete machines. If it is a gun the chances are that ammunition cannot be got to fit it. We have had no information on these matters. What amount of equipment is obsolete, or when do we hope to complete the programme of equipping the Army in a modern way? The Minister did inform us that it was proposed to purchase 12 Spitfires and four or five different types of aircraft. I should like to have full information as to what our strength in aircraft is, and how many modern machines we have.
The Minister told us that he proposed to spend £44,000 on A.R.P. I  want to know the necessity for continuing the A.R.P. services at all. If asked where economy could be effected, without having technical knowledge, I could put my finger on that item of £44,000 for A.R.P. services, as there is no necessity to provide any sum for that purpose now. The Minister gave some information about demobilisation, and expressed the hope that the scheme would be completed by October. The only criticism I have to offer of the scheme of demobilisation is that no attempt has been made to provide men who are being demobilised with houses and homes for their families. There is little use in throwing it on local authorities to look after them. Local authorities to-day cannot do that as the county managers deal with the whole matter. The county medical officer is also regulated on a basis provided by the Department at the Custom House.
On the basis on which houses are allocated to tenants by local authorities I think the man who leaves the Army, who has a wife and family to look after, stands very little chance of being provided with a house. That is a matter the Minister might have considered. Some effort should have been made to show our appreciation of these men who made certain sacrifices to join the Army during the emergency, and who patriotically served their country. Now that the danger is passed we should show appreciation by affording them an opportunity to settle in civilian life by providing them with a home, or, at least, the Minister responsible might make some effort to ensure that a home is provided for them through other sources. There are a good many men in difficulties so far as the provision of a home is concerned. The Minister has informed the House that in the past there was a scheme to give preferential treatment to men who had given service in the emergency in connection with public appointments but the slight margin of preference that is given to the ex-soldier in these circumstances is of very little advantage, especially if it comes to an examination test. The young fellow who has just left school, college or the university, will score  over the ex-serviceman and the slight provision made for marks in respect of service would not be sufficient to help the soldier to surmount the handicap. I do not think that in connection with public works in the country there is provision made for ex-servicemen. There was an old provision that a certain percentage of ex-Army men should get preference, if they were available, but I think that provision has been completely ignored. It would be a useful way of showing appreciation of those who gave service during the emergency that they should get preference in public works under local authorities and Government Departments but there is no such provision at the moment.
The Minister gave the House some information in regard to Army stores. We are asked to supply the sum of £240,000 odd for Army stores and for stores of a warlike nature, £16,235. I have already made some observation as to the type of equipment that is necessary and as to the information to which the House is entitled on that matter. So far as existing stores are concerned, I should like to ask the Minister what has become of the surplus stores, such as blankets, and that sort of stuff, of which the Army must have a substantial surplus at the present time. These stores might be very useful to many people in the country, and if there is a surplus, instead of allowing it to rot, or to be eaten by moths, mice and rats, it ought to be offered to the people who would be very glad to have it. The Minister should not follow a policy of giving it to one individual to make any amount of profit out of it. If he is offering surplus stores for sale he certainly ought to give an opportunity to purchase to people who do not intend to profiteer, or, in fact, to individuals who may require it for their own use. I hope the Minister will tell us what the position is when he is replying.
I also want to join in the representations that have been made as to the retention of overcoats by members of the L.D.F. I know some of the personnel have been very disappointed because they were not permitted to  retain their overcoats. It shows very poor appreciation of the services of the L.D.F. to be niggardly with them in insisting that they must surrender their overcoats.
Mr. Traynor Mr. Traynor
Mr. Traynor: We have not taken them from them.
Mr. Hughes Mr. Hughes
Mr. Hughes: They are under the impression that they are not entitled to retain them.
Mr. Traynor Mr. Traynor
Mr. Traynor: I stated in the House that that question was being considered and that, perhaps, the decision would be favourable.
Mr. Hughes Mr. Hughes
Mr. Hughes: There may be certain difficulties—we all appreciate that—but I think the Minister should make every effort to get over the difficulties by having the coats dyed or doing whatever is necessary in that respect.
I hope the Minister will take the opportunity when replying to indicate very clearly what our defence policy now is. Why is it necessary to increase the strength of the Army personnel to two and a half times the pre-war strength and, at the same time, spend substantially more on mechanical equipment? The Minister told us that the policy is to have a mechanical Army. In our circumstances, contemplating the type of modern mechanised Army that we might establish, taking an air arm and sea defence into account, it should not be necessary to increase the personnel of the Army to the strength suggested. I invite the Minister to tell the House clearly and in detail what is the defence policy of the Government. It is not enough merely to tell us that we are going to have a mechanised Army. In view of the extraordinary change that has taken place in implements of war, and the completely new conception of attack and defence, this is an opportunity that the Minister should avail of to give full information to the House and to the country as to what our position is, what is necessary to be done in the circumstances and, above all, why it is necessary to spend such a large sum of money and why it is necessary to increase the strength of the Army to two and a half times the pre-war strength. I want to make this  comparison: the British have announced their demobilisation scheme and in accordance with that scheme they propose, by the end of next December, to reduce their standing army to less than its pre-war strength. I think the figures were given in the Statist a couple of weeks ago. If the British authorities feel that the circumstances of the time are such that they can afford to reduce their army to less than the pre-war strength, why is it necessary for us to start developing what is from our point of view a big army?
Mr. Briscoe Mr. Briscoe
Mr. Briscoe: I hope the Minister will not accept the invitation by Deputy Hughes to discuss in this House the policy of our Army in the event of its having to meet aggression. The policy of the Army in so far as its operations are concerned is a matter entirely for the Army experts, the headquarters staff and the Minister, and this House must provide the means to meet whatever policy has been decided on, from time to time, in that respect. But this House can, with all justice, discuss the policy of the Minister and his Department with regard to the conditions under which the personnel of the Army have to live. I join with Deputy Norton in asking that in this connection the Minister should take a very strong line in opposing whatever objections are put to him by his own Army Finance Department or the Department of Finance in the matter of providing the necessary means of giving better treatment and better conditions to all sections of the Army. I quite agree with Deputy Norton that the set-up of our Army when the State was formed undoubtedly had a great deal of similarity with the army of a neighbouring State, an Army that had been established for quite different reasons and different operations and which had inherent in it a recognition of class differences. You had as officers of that army the sons of a certain class. You had the soldiers and N.C.O.s recruited from all the subject parts of that country's Empire and kept down as a class. They were the man-power of the army. Consequently, you had  that king's 1/- business to which Deputy Norton rightly alluded. I fee that this House should recognise that the personnel of our Army from the top to the very lowest rank consists of citizens of this State, practically all of whom had their origins in humble homes. Nevertheless, they are all citizens of equal standing in this country. Whether the Minister admits it or not, we all know that there has been a development in our Army of class distinction between the officers and men which is quite wrong and should be stopped right away. I feel very keenly on this matter. I have seen citizens of our State who were taken into the Army and who became permanent officers trying to develop the type of behaviour and life that goes on in the officer class in other countries and separating themselves from their own kith and kin who may have been quite content to serve the country as ordinary soldiers or N.C.O.s. That makes for a very bad feeling and does not make for the spirit that is wanted in the Army in this country in peace time, but particularly in times of emergency.
The Minister told us to-day what he was going to do with regard to men and officers leaving the Army and the provisions for future intake. I am not so sure that the optimistic figure to which the Minister hopes to raise the strength of our Army will be realised if he does not afford better treatment to the men. First of all, I think the time has come when we must recognise from the experience of the past, and the immediate past in particular, that we should have an Army which would take in the best type of our manhood in all ranks and that there should be the possibility of a greater number coming in for short-time service in order to have a rotation at all times and, therefore, a bigger number of our people with military training, so that in the event of an emergency we would have a nucleus for the general control and officership of a large Army, rather than that we should have to train those who are necessary for the control of affairs when an emergency arises.
In that connection, may I suggest to the Minister that he should take note  of what has been said by Deputy Blowick about the Second Line defence, the L.D.F.? We should not expect men who are to form the second line of defence for this country to be content for a period of five years with the remuneration of a soldier for the week or two weeks' period which they spend in camp. I think we should recognise that, in the main, these men are workingmen who find it very difficult to give that time for training from a patriotic point of view, and that we should not place on them the cost of transport to the various barracks to which they have to go in ordinary times. They should certainly be allowed free transport when they have their uniforms on. They should not be asked to pay tram fares or bus fares when going from their home to the barracks for instruction or drill or whatever meetings they may have to attend. As Deputy Blowick said, there should be some extra consideration for them when they are camping out.
Some Deputy referred to the fact that there was a sum of £1,000 in the Vote for courses abroad, and wanted the Minister to explain or amplify that. A sum of £1,000 may be a token Vote in the Estimate. It may not represent the amount necessary to cover the particular item. I should, however, like the Minister to get from the officials of his Department a report as to the money spent on officers who were sent abroad for specialised courses and in how many cases were they allowed to impart the knowledge they had acquired to members of the Army. I should like to know in how many cases men like that were sent abroad and money spent on them in order to get a specialised course who were not allowed to make use of their specialised knowledge even in the way of giving lectures. I think the Minister ought to have that put to him clearly, so that in the event of his wanting members of our forces sent abroad for specialised courses at least the nation as a whole will get the benefit of these courses when these officers come back.
There is also another matter I should like the Minister to look into. I do  not expect him to deal with it now because I do not believe he would be able to do that. Now that the emergency is over, the Minister should recognise that certain officers should not have the power to move about men under their control at great inconvenience to these men and to their family arrangements. We have in our Army now soldiers and N.C.O.s with 18 and 20 years' service, and in some cases more than that. During that time these men have got living accommodation and have their families partially reared. Now that the emergency is over, it is unfair that these men should be sent away from their homes at great inconvenience to themselves when younger men can be taken in to do the particular jobs which require to be done.
I also suggest to the Minister that a wrong policy is being adopted in regard to tradesmen in our Army, soldiers and N.C.O.s who have grade pay for certain trade qualifications. They are employed at these special rates, yet they are taken away from their specialised work and put on ordinary guard duty. Where a man is a specialised worker in any branch of the service, I think he should be left at that work, particularly when he is a tradesman, and not put on work which normally should be done by the members of the Construction Corps or on ordinary guard duty or what they call orderly duty.
A lot has been said about what should be done in the shape of preferences of some kind or another for men leaving the Army. Deputy Hughes said he had not heard of any preference being given to these men in connection with public works. I believe that the Dublin Corporation and other public bodies have already had an instruction from the Department of Local Government to give a certain percentage of preference on works which are described as public works to men who had served in the Army. I understood that, in any event. I think that we should try to attract into our Army the very bost type. We must now improve on the experience others had in the immediate past. Proper preference is not given. There are  certain classes of operations in our Army in which personnel could be trained for civilian life afterwards. They should not be prevented by Army training from fitting themselves, and obtaining the necessary qualifications, for civilian life afterwards. I agree with the speaker who said that we could easily find ourselves in a less fortunate position than that in which we are. We might have been involved in the war, with a pile of national debt imposed upon us, as a consequence. We have avoided all that and we should recognise that by making better provision for the vast bulk of those people who are the first-line servants of the State. It does not matter to me, nor does it matter to anybody in the House, to which side a particular member of the forces belonged in bygone days. In the emergency, there was a spirit of unity. All the men were brothers in arms, ready to give their lives in defence of the country. It is not enough to say “Thank you” now and get rid of those officers and men who are deemed not to be suitable to the new policy envisaged for the Army. An effort should be made to give those people whatever extra allowance can be given. The position would have been much worse, from the point of view of the liabilities of citizens, if we had had more unfortunate happenings than the few bombings which we experienced.
I do not agree that we should discuss here the technical policy of the Army. I do not want to know what guns, ammunition, or aeroplanes the Minister finds it necessary to buy on advice given him by his Army headquarters staff. But I do feel that the House is entitled to demand information from the Minister from time to time with regard to the treatment of members of the Army and the conditions under which they have to live. I mentioned on the Temporary Provisions Bill, as Deputy Cosgrave mentioned to-day, that the living accommodation in barracks was absolutely antiquated. The Minister should now recognise that the time has come when the Army should put up schemes for the evacuation of those buildings and the construction of others more suitable for citizens who become  members of the Army. It is quite true that those big barracks were built when the ideas to which I referred prevailed. Soldiers were recruited for an empire and they were shifted around from place to place. Their interests were of little concern to those in authority. We must remember that we are dealing with our own citizens and that there should be no distinction as between men and officers in this regard. We must recognise that this is a job which affects the safety of the people rather than the interest of any particular Government. We must do better for our soldiers and our officers than we have been able to do, or than we have done, in the past.
Mr. M. O'Sullivan Mr. M. O'Sullivan
Mr. M. O'Sullivan: In view of the statements by Deputy Norton on the general question of wages and conditions of service, and particularly housing conditions, I merely desire to put a few questions for the purpose of eliciting information from the Minister. The Minister will recall that, by means of a Parliamentary Question some time ago, I brought to his notice the protest of a considerable number of residents of Infirmary Road and Parkgate Street, Dublin, in connection with rather objectionable conditions associated with a concern operated by the military authorities at the junction of those two roads. The Minister, in reply, admitted the position and said that he was taking steps to abate the nuisance so far as possible. I am sorry to say that, even following that assurance, the trouble persisted to such an extent that life on those two roads became almost unbearable for the residents. There seemed to be no form of redress. They invoked the aid of the medical officer of the city but he was powerless to intervene in respect of military property. The Minister admitted, in reply to a supplementary question on that occasion, that a commercial product was being manufactured in that concern. I am a little disturbed to find that, while £20,000 was provided in last year's Army Estimate for the manufacture of phosphorus, the sum of £10 is retained in the Estimate this year, presumably in connection with operations  in that concern. I understand that the product is being disposed of to one of our match factories. I should like to know from the Minister why, following a period of emergency, a contract of that kind should flow as between the military and an ordinary industrial firm. Again, an interesting background is found in connection with the labour involved. A rather serious question arises as to whether this commodity is being manufactured solely by the military and at rates of pay applicable to the military, as distinct from the amounts that would be payable to civilians in an ordinary, industrial concern. I am happy to say that, recently, the nuisance to which I have referred seems to have abated somewhat. At least, the complaints are not as intensive as they were. I should like to have a frank statement from the Minister as to whether it is proposed to manufacture this commodity for an indefinite period or whether it is merely a hang-over from the emergency period to facilitate the industrial firm concerned.
There is one other question to which I desire to refer. That question has been adverted to by Deputy Cosgrave and was also raised by myself on the Temporary Provisions Bill. It relates to the position of the married officer who has contracted a rather serious illness and who, under existing conditions, is compelled, almost on his death-bed, to tender his resignation to the Army authorities in order to ensure that the gratuity or resettlement allowance which flows from resignation will pass on to his wife and children. The Minister was sympathetic to the view expressed in these representations and I should be glad to hear from him whether steps have been taken, or are proposed to be taken at an early date, to terminate that most objectionable practice.
Finally, I want to say a few words on the housing question. That question, in connection with Army personnel in the City of Dublin, has been referred to here on numerous occasion. The Minister as an old member of the Dublin Corporation understands the housing problem in Dublin as well as any of us who are closely studying  that problem at present. He knows that because of the requirements of the slum problem the corporation will be hard set to carry out the programme which it envisages for the next ten years, if it is to attain its objective in ridding the city of the worst type of slums. That being so, just as I have already referred to the necessity of another organisation taking in hand the question of the provision of houses for newly married couples and people of that category, so I would suggest to the Minister, in order to ensure that he will be able to get the proper personnel for his Army of the future and so as to secure a contented Army, that he should take steps as early as may be to start a housing campaign for his own personnel in the Army for whom the corporation will not be able to cater during the period of ten years which I have already mentioned.
Mr. Cogan Mr. Cogan
Mr. Cogan: I do not think that the House will agree with Deputy Briscoe that the Dáil should be debarred from considering questions of policy in regard to the Army. If it is recognised that this is the sovereign assembly of the State, that the Minister is accountable to this House for his actions or inactions and for his administration generally, then I think the Minister should be obliged to inform the House as to the basis upon which he has formulated his plans for constituting an Army here. If the Minister envisages one type of defence, he may require one type of Army; if he envisages another type of defence he may require an entirely different type of Army. The House is entitled to know what particular function the Minister envisages the Army should perform in the event of this country being attacked or what are the probabilities and possibilities in regard to attack. Deputy Norton referred to the fact that this country was very fortunate in avoiding involvement in war and attributed that fact to the strength of our Army. I think it is our duty to pay full tribute to the Army for the part it played during the emergency and to pay full tribute to the men of the various emergency services for the sacrifices which they made in the national interest; but I think no Deputy  will close his eyes to the fact that geographical and other considerations played a large part in safeguarding our nation during the war period. We must remember that it was not the small nations that were heavily armed that escaped involvement in the war or escaped invasion. I think it can be said that Belgium and Holland in proportion to their numerical and economic strength were perhaps more heavily armed than this country during any period of emergency. Yet they were swiftly invaded and overrun. We should view these matters in a realistic manner, facing up to the difficulties which confront a nation such as ours and facing up to the limitations of our economic and material strength.
The Minister in introducing the Estimate told us that he requires a permanent Army of about 12,500 men. He did not, however, take the House into his confidence and give us any definite reasons as to why an Army of that particular strength is required. We know that for the period prior to the emergency, we were satisfied with a much smaller Army and that after very careful consideration an Army of half the strength which the Minister now envisages was considered sufficient. Apparently with that military establishment we entered into the emergency. We were able to expand our defence forces during the emergency and in one way or another we got through the war without involvement in the conflict. One is inclined to ask the Minister in what material way conditions have so changed as to render it imperative that we must have an Army of double the pre-war strength. If the Minister were to make the case that an international organisation for the preservation of peace is to be established, that every nation would be expected to maintain a certain defence force in proportion to its strength and that our proportionate position would demand an Army of 12,000, we would have to accept that statement and be satisfied with it but the Minister has made no such case.
In another debate he told us that the reason it was necessary to double the strength of the Army was to avoid the necessity of soldiers doing guard duty too frequently. That does not  seem to be a very convincing argument. One would imagine that there would be almost as much guard duty for a small Army as for a large Army in proportion to its numbers.
I think that when the Minister is concluding he ought to take the House into his confidence. He ought not adopt the hush-hush policy suggested by Deputy Briscoe. The House is, I think, capable, or should be capable, of coming to a decision on matters of this kind and we should not be confined to such a limited scope as dealing with the pay and conditions of the personnel of the Army. Deputy Briscoe referred to a matter, his views on which, I think, would meet with general approval. That is the necessity of avoiding class consciousness in our Army of the future. The necessity of ensuring that our officers will not regard themselves as an officer class, in every conceivable way superior beings as compared with the ordinary soldiers——
General Mulcahy General Mulcahy
General Mulcahy: It would be necessary to increase their pay considerably to give them any chance of lifting their heads in that way.
Mr. Cogan Mr. Cogan
Mr. Cogan: Deputy Mulcahy has drawn attention to that factor that in other armies officers have sources of income in addition to their army pay which enable them to move and live in a higher sphere than ordinary privates. In our Army, there is not such a differentiation between the officer's remuneration and that of the private as would enable the officers to consider themselves a class apart. It is desirable that we should not have what has been described somewhere as snobbery under arms in our Army. The members of our Army, whether in the rank and file or amongst the higher officers, should all look upon themselves as members of a National Army pledged to defend this State with their lives, if necessary, and should all co-operate together in a spirit of harmony, with no feeling of superiority amongst our officer class or of contempt for the rank and file.
In this connection, the Estimate seems to indicate a peculiar position at present in the excess in the number  of officers as compared with other ranks. It is an extraordinary position, but it may be only of temporary duration. It may be due to circumstances arising out of demobilisation, but it seems rather strange that, while the personnel of the rank and file is reduced from 19,000 to 8,000 odd, the officer personnel is only reduced from 1,700 to 1,200. That, as I say, may be only a temporary circumstance. It would be an extraordinary position if we were to have one officer for almost every seven members of the rank and file. That would be a rather peculiar type of Army and I hope the Minister does not intend to make that permanent.
The Minister did not refer, in introducing the Estimate, to the Construction Corps, and I was surprised that no reference was made to that branch of our military establishment. I should like to know what are the Minister's plans with regard to that force in the future. It is a force which rendered useful service, and, in time of economic difficulty, it might, and, I think, would, offer an opportunity to certain sections of our youth who might not wish or who might not be suitable for the ordinary armed forces but who could, through the training and discipline in that corps, become better citizens and, if necessary, good soldiers in the Army.
Some Deputy suggested that no provision whatever should be made for air-raid precautions in the future. I cannot follow that line of argument, although I must say that at the present stage of development it would be very difficult for any military commander to estimate the requirements in the matter of air-raid precautions, having regard to recent developments in the matter of air attack. It would be very hard to plan at present any suitable methods of defence for civilians in case of air attack. In this connection, I want to draw attention to the fact that, in the first days of the emergency, gasmasks were issued to the civilian population in the cities. I do not know exactly what has become of those relies of that period. I do not know whether they will be collected from the civilian population, or whether they are to be  retained by the civilian population as souvenirs of the 1939 period. I sincerely hope that if there is another world war the provision designed by the military authorities in this and other countries will not be as wide of the mark as it was at that time in regard to civilian defence.
There is one last matter I want to refer to. It is a matter the raising of which might offend Deputy Briscoe, who seems to think that Deputies have no right whatever to ask any questions about such matters as warlike stores and Army stores generally. I note that there is a considerable increase in the provision for aircraft. I hope the Minister will be able to secure the latest possible types of aircraft, so as to keep our Army up-to-date in regard to defence measures, but in relation to this whole matter of defence equipment, it is also desirable to draw attention to the ratio between the cost of the equipment and the general cost of the Army. The Army is estimated to cost £4,500,000, whereas less than £250,000 is provided for military equipment, which does not seem to bear out the Minister's statement that he intends to mechanise the Army to a greater and still greater extent.
On the facts before us, and they are very limited in view of the narrow scope of the Minister's statement, we are not entitled to accept the estimated expenditure as being necessary. The total strength of the Army could be very considerably reduced and that would mean reducing the total cost. Unless the Minister is prepared to make a better case than he has made up to the present for increasing the strength of the Army, this House should demand a reduction in its strength and in the size of this Estimate.
General Mulcahy General Mulcahy
General Mulcahy: The Irish Army has its roots in the realities of Irish life. It came into being as volunteers to defend the political work of the Irish people. In 1916, it gave a gesture to the world, speaking the voice of the Irish people. Then, when the Dáil was set up here in 1919, the Army defended that institution. When the State was set up later, the Army defended that State. All through its history that idea was maintained and in recent years  the Army was brought into being in its increased form in face of the realities of Irish life. We are moving this Estimate back for reconsideration, so that an effort may be made to keep the Irish Army related to the facts of Irish life, and, therefore, keep it in the affection and esteem of the Irish people. We move that the Estimate be referred back, in order to keep the Army in relation to our realities and as a protest against the inconsequential way the Minister is dealing with Army discussions here.
The Ceann Comhairle has asked us to keep this discussion to last year and to the future and I very gladly do so, for the sake of the realities of the situation. Tribute has been paid to the officers and men of the Defence Forces, who showed what they were able to do in hundreds of different ways. We saw that in the Military Exhibition and Tattoo last year, when a very considerable sum was brought in to the Army Benevolent Fund in that way.
On the Ministerial side, when we had an Estimate presented to the Dáil a few days ago, we saw the way in which the Army is handled by the Minister. He pointed out that part of the supplementary sum he required then was necessary because the demobilisation expected to take place in July did not take place until November, and in column 2135 of the Official Debates he said:—
“The difficulty was largely in respect of the drawing up of forms which the individuals would have to sign. It was a kind of secondary contract. There were, I am pretty certain, numerous other difficulties which arose as well, but that was one of the chief difficulties which, when I inquired, was mentioned to me.”
Demobilisation was delayed for four months because the necessary forms could not be prepared.
In his review of the growth and development of the Army, the Minister spoke to-day of the new lines on which, since 1932, Army policy was framed. I take it he meant Army organisation and equipment. He painted a picture of the tremendous efficiency achieved in that particular way. I have no  doubt that great efficiency was achieved by the Army up to 1939 within its limited organisation and resources and the limited demands made on it. On the 7th March last, however, when the Minister was telling us the reason for increasing the Army to nearly double its 1932 strength, he said, as reported in column 2197:—
“The position in respect of our desire to have an Army of 12,500 men is based on the fact that the pre-war Army, which was a little over the 6,000 mark, was doing 24 hours' guard duty out of 48. In other words, when we talked about these men being highly trained, highly efficient and highly skilled soldiers, we were not talking facts, for the simple reason that the only skill these men had, with the exception of the skill derived from a short period during the summer when they were brought out for a week's or a fortnight's manoeuvres, was in respect of doing sentry duty on the various posts around the country.
If we want to get what I presume the former Government were aiming at and what, in my opinion, they failed to secure, but what we are now aiming at and what we hope to secure, we must, so to speak, double the strength of the Army, in order that we may not have that abominable practice of men doing guard duty for the whole period of their Army careers. The only solution is to increase the strength of the Army”.
We are asked to increase the strength of the Army, to double what it was before the emergency so as to provide for guard duty without having the soldiers all their time on guard duty. Is the Army now going to be a kind of shibboleth, distinct from a national institution? Is it to become a matter of Party disagreement and that kind of politics which takes people away from the real elements of national life and the important things of national life? As many Deputies have said, we should come down to the consideration of the purpose for which our Army has been set up and that should mean very careful consideration of our whole national circumstances. We must  consider our individual outlook on our national institutions and national policy. There must be an exchange of ideas and views between the various Parties here.
Instead of proceeding in a reasonable way to the discussion of these things, we are told bluntly that the Government have made up their minds on an Army of 12,500 men. That blunt and stubborn statement comes at a time when the men who served in the Army during the emergency, having realised the facts of the situation, have now left the Army. The size of this Estimate is due to conditions arising out of the emergency and the necessity for a big Army and big expenditure then, which it has not been possible to cut down in a hurry. To that extent, I am not criticising the expenditure which arises out of the emergency. We must remember, however, that the men who went into the Army to deal with the emergency have faced the facts in a sensible way and have gone home. They want to live and to work and do the normal things in Irish life.
There are not 12,500 men in this Estimate, because the men of this country who will stand behind the Army when an Army is wanted, have more sense of the realities of the situation than the Minister or the Government. The Minister should be grateful for the fact that these men have sense. Having done six years' work in the Army, they want now to use their energies in the way in which they desired always to use them. They joined the Army because they wanted to defend their rights to use their energies in this way without being interfered with by any outside power. I say that the Minister should be thankful that men are so sensible as to go home and look for work, thankful that he had men in the Army, older officers, who were able in the emergency to grip the new material that came to them and fashion an Army to meet the emergency. Instead of being thankful to keep all these men while the world is thinking out what type of defence large countries and small countries ought to organise for the future, he is taking,  as he told us to-day, older officers to the number of 115 or 118 and he is putting them out of the Army, some of them under 50 years of age, some 50 and some 55—men who have given most of their lifetime in the service of the Army, who have family responsibilities and who are at an age when their family responsibilities are very serious.
They are being put out of the Army and they are looking for employment here in the general economic and business conditions that we all know so well, without any plans of any kind that an ordinary army would have of a resettlement kind. If Irish officers are to be discharged out of the Army at 45 and 50 and 55, then there ought to be a systematic resettlement plan for them. But instead of that, those experienced and capable officers are being put out, and the Minister tells us that 330 young officers have been brought in. We read in the papers that during the year two examinations will be held to bring additional young cadets into an Army in which, as far as the figures here and the first figures quoted by the Minister go to show, we are going to have one officer for every six men, or one officer for every seven men, if the Construction Corps men are counted in with the rest of the Army.
On that particular point I say the Minister is acting in a most inconsequential kind of way and he is doing it at a time when, as far as the Government and the people are concerned, they should be very grateful to be able to draw their breaths and to leave the emergency Army to exude itself in a normal way into such normal occupations as the men can get, and hold down what is left, or would be left, of the fabric of the Army that was good enough to build the emergency Army on for a couple of years until we could look around and see what kind of an Army organisation, what kind of equipment and what policy of defence will be required for the future.
Deputy Cosgrave to-day discussed how out of date some of our equipment must be. I suppose, from the point of view of modern warfare, the greater part of our present Army equipment  must be out of date. You have just to consider what happened in the case of Japan, how quickly Japan was reduced by the machinery of modern warfare, to realise how radically our outlook on defence problems will have to be changed in any war that might occur in the future. Apart from the atomic bomb, I wonder if the Minister has seen any of the reports that have been made by military chiefs to their Governments as a result of their experiences of the development of aggressive weapons in the last war. I think it was General Marshall, reporting to the Secretary of War in the United States, who mentioned there are many other ways of nations committing suicide as a result of the experiences of the last war than by using the atomic bomb or having an atomic bomb used on them. He pointed out that, starting from comparatively small power in the matter of range, load, speed and ceilings, bombers by the end of the war—not perhaps by the end of the war, but by now—would be able to travel through the stratosphere carrying bomb loads of 100,000 lbs. He pointed out also that the same type of development had taken place with regard to fighters, if it was necessary to have them to protect the bombers. He said that fighters could travel to-day practically at the speed of sound and at a ceiling of, I suppose, 50,000 feet.
According to some of the speakers on the Government Benches, we are not to be allowed to consider these things; we are not to be allowed in this House to consider any aspect of our defence on the political, the strategic, or the diplomatic side. Deputy Norton spoke of the conditions to which Belgium, Holland and Denmark were reduced. We are not in the position of one or the other of these countries. We know our experiences in the last war. We know what it is to be an island well secured in the Atlantic by the naval strength and the military productive power of the United States and Great Britain. But that will not protect you against bombing, perhaps in some other war, and it will not protect you against the atomic bomb. But it does and should remind us that the equipment we have  is not necessarily the proper equipment for defensive purposes in the next war.
With an Army that is, you might say, the remnants of the organisation that made the emergency Army, and with whatever equipment is left, we might very well rest for a couple of years without piling the unnecessary expense that is contemplated here. It is what is contemplated here for the future that drives us to move the referring back of this Vote. We are told of a total Army of 12,500 here, an Army twice what it was before. We object to it and, even on the present figures of Army pay for men and officers, it implies an Army costing more than £5,000,000 a year, with no defence policy, good, bad or indifferent.
The Minister has not given us the slightest indication of what Army organisation is intended even for 12,500. He has not given us any indication how the infantry will be organised and to what extent artillery or air and marine services will be organised. There is no information of any sort except that we are to have an Army of 12,500 men, if he can get them.
When we were discussing the Vote on Account the other day I implied, and stated, that this was a misleading Estimate. It is utterly misleading in regard to numbers and in regard to cost because, in present circumstances, the Minister cannot get an Army here at the money that he is paying the men and the officers. I want to ask him if he intends to see that the pay of the soldiers in the Irish Army will be increased, and increased immediately. I would refer him to column 2591 of the Dáil Debates on the 15th March, 1946, where I say:—
“A married soldier of first class in our Army who is dependent on his pay, and has not other allowances for special qualifications, gets 24/6 per week, made up of 3/- basic pay and 6d. deferred pay. He gets a marriage allowance of 2/6 per day, which is 17/6. In other words, he gets a total income of 42/- per week as a married man.”
 If he were to go to Great Britain, as from the 1st July next, he would get 77/- a week. Does the Minister propose to make forthwith, or during the week, proposals for increasing the pay of the ordinary soldiers in the Army, and if he does why are we not told about it when he presents his Estimate to the House? If he does not, what warrant has he for telling the House that he is going to get an Army of 12,500? The Minister is treating the House in an unfair way and is simply lowering the position of the Army. The Minister is there to defend the Army, to keep it unsullied and loved as an Irish institution. When we find him speaking of the Army and for the Army in this House, and withholding information that is essential both for the House on the one hand, and for the welfare of the Army on the other, then I say that he is degrading and injuring the Army. Again, I said in the debate on the Vote on Account— the reference is column 2591 Dáil Debates, 15th March, 1946—
“A second lieutenant in the rank for two years, if unmarried, would receive here £249 a year. That is made up of his pay and uniform allowance. In the British army, he would get £310. If he were a married man, his basic pay, uniform allowance and lodging, fuel and light allowance would come to £376 here. A married lieutenant of the same type in the British army would get £538. Our lieutenant is paid 70 per cent. of what he would get in the British army. A captain with five years' service, if single, would get £358 here, as against £529 in the British army, or 68 per cent. of what he would get there. If married, he would get £486 here or 63 per cent. of the £757 he would get in the British army. A major, immediately on his promotion, if unmarried, receives £468 here or 73.5 per cent. of the £639 he would get in the British army. If married, he receives £595, or 69 per cent. of the £867 he would receive in the British army.”
Will the Minister say whether he has proposals for increasing the basic pay  of officers in the Army? If he has, I think we should have heard about that when this Estimate was introduced. I do not think that either the pay of the men or of the officers can stand at the present figures. We had suggestions here to-day from some members of the Government Party that there was class distinction in the Army, and that officers regarded themselves as superior people. I do not think that a Deputy speaking like that could be said to know anything about the spirit of the Irish Army. At any rate, I do not know how any man with married responsibilities could feel that he was a superior being on his present pay. I suggest that the Minister might find —as many civil servants and many teachers could be found to-day—very many officers in the Army seriously encumbered financially in their family positions. For that reason, as well as for others, I regard the Minister's whole approach to the situation here as being absolutely inconsequential, disruptive and degrading to the Army generally.
We must get clear as to what the function of the Army in this country is. I said, in the opening part of my speech, that it grew out of the realities of Irish life, and that it cannot flourish here, that it cannot be respected here and will not be supported, unless we bring it into close relationship with Irish needs. We want an Army in this country. We do not want an Army that will simply be a cockshot for people—to call them toy soldiers. Even during the emergency, when faced with what might have been realities in this country, I could not help feeling that, to some extent, we could have been charged with our men being toy soldiers in certain respects. The officers and men behaved very gallantly over six long, tedious years when, in my opinion, they were not, from many points of view, helped very much by the Government. Still, they behaved very gallantly and very patiently. They were a credit to this country. They knew that, in the minds of the people, it was realised that they were holding a very definite situation, that they were facing the possibility of very serious realities. They were sustained during that period by that thought.
 Unless we bring ourselves up against the realities of defence here in this country our Army of to-morrow will have no such sustaining idea in their minds. They will have no such idea to sustain them in doing the tedious hard work that a soldier has to do in the grinding hours of peace, nor will our people, troubled by the economic difficulties which we have—economic difficulties which are burdening the peoples in every country as the result of six years' destruction—lightly bear this bill for £5,000,000.
The Minister has spoken of the new Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil. I feel that the administration has practically killed that force already. If the force is not to be killed, then those men and officers who are sticking by it to-day, in the hope of making it a volunteer and cheap but, nevertheless, effective branch of the Army of to-morrow, ought to be told something as to what their future work will be, what their future responsibilities will be, what their future organisation will be, and what their future equipment will be. None of them to-day knows and they feel that nobody in the Army or the Ministry can tell them what is expected of them in the way of parades and training: what is expected of them in the way of that discipline without which no officers can do their duty or train their men. They have no information as to what equipment they are likely to be provided with, or whether they are likely to be stuck in a hut here or a house there, or what facilities will be given to them in barracks.
The question has been raised here as to whether or not a bonus should be given to members of the Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil. That was not raised with a view to getting payment for their services. When I heard this question of a bonus being discussed by members of the new Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil it was being discussed from the point of view of discipline. The view was that, without a vivid policy by the Department of Defence and the Ministry in connection with this force, and without the Army authorities making it vividly appreciable to these officers, there was very little possibility of invoking a proper sense of discipline in their men,  and that without the ability to invoke that sense of discipline in their men they could achieve nothing. As I say, I heard the question of a bonus being discussed from the point of view of discipline—that these men were responding to the call of the country and undertaking certain responsibilities by giving that service. I think it was Deputy Blowick who mentioned the various expenses that these men incur in travelling back and forth, using their bicycles, and so on, to their training centres.
We, as I have said, have moved to refer back this Estimate in the interests of the Army itself, and to make the Minister and the Government appreciate that the Irish Army has been raised out of the facts of Irish life, that it was always up against the realities of the situation, that it grew out of these realities, and that it cannot afford now to be an institution that is divorced from these realities. We shall have, thanks be to God, some years now in which to sit down and see what our defence problems really are. It is absurd to try to face these problems either from the point of view of employment or the mere maintenance of an Army for the sake of having an Army. We must face this matter from the point of view of regarding the Army as a national instrument which, through its discipline and efficiency, will infuse strength into our people as a whole.
Major de Valera Major de Valera
Major de Valera: The last speaker laid particular stress on the question of relating the Army to the realities of the situation, and I think that everybody in this House would be in agreement with that. I think it is largely that desire to face realities that has been responsible for the increase in the strength of the standing Army over the pre-war figure. Now, it would be very easy to go back over pre-war history and to see who was or was not to blame, but I do not think that that would do any good for the present purpose. In my opinion, the better attitude would be for us all to agree that there were lessons to be learned from the history of the last few years and to try to apply these  lessons, agreeing always with what Deputies on the opposite side of the House have said: that we must face up to the realities of the situation. Let us take General Mulcahy's pertinent question: why should we have an Army at all? That is the root of the problem. Why should we have an Army at all is a question that has to be answered, and, in plain English, it boils down to this: do you need an Army in this country for the defence of our country, or do you merely need an auxiliary police force? If you find that you do not want an Army for the defence of the country, then face up to that fact fairly and squarely, and decide simply to have an auxiliary police force, if that is your view. I think, however, that anybody who has looked, even casually, at the history of this State since its inception, will come to the conclusion that we need an Army. Then, if that is your conclusion, let us have a real Army, and not a make-believe Army, and you can only have an Army if you make adequate provision for the elements that go to make up an Army.
Again, as I say, it would be easy to go back over the history of the defence forces in this State since its inception. We will all agree that there were certain lessons to be learned from the emergency, and one of these, unquestionably, was that our pre-war Army was too small to permit of its development in a way that would make it possible to expand rapidly to meet an emergency situation. It was only very much a matter of grace and luck that we were able to expand the Army during the war, in the critical year of 1940, in a way that met our requirements, and I think that if I were to make a guess as to the recommendations that might have been made by the Army authorities to the Minister for Defence in a matter of this sort, their recommendations would have been more in the way of an increase in strength than anything else. The fact was that we had not the equipment—equipment which, quite possibly, we could have got in before the war—nor the numbers which would enable the Army to expand rapidly,  and I may say that the actual expansion that did take place came as near to breaking down the then existing Army organisation as it could possibly come, short of an actual collapse. That is broadly the lesson to be learnt. There is a subsidiary one, and that is the question of securing equipment. It is dangerous to put that off indefinitely and to have the idea: “We will wait to see if we can get equipment.” To a certain extent, that was done in the years before the war, right from 1924 onwards, as anyone who studies the Estimates and the published figures will see. When it came to the attempt to get equipment under the immediate threat of the war which broke out in 1939, it was found that it could not be procured. There is obviously a lesson to be learnt from that, and that is that while you have to exercise judgment, and take care to avoid extravagant or premature orders you must, at the same time, take reasonable steps to equip yourself, so that you will not be caught out in a war situation, or, what actually happened in practice, in a pre-war situation, when it was impossible to procure the equipment that was necessary.
For these reasons, I think we cannot legitimately object at this stage to an increase in the size of the Army, which was in the days before the war quite inadequate to meet its responsibilities as a defence force, whatever its potentialities as an aid to the civil power. As a defence force, for the effective defence of the country its strength was inadequate. Expressing a personal view, whether the strength of 12,500 or thereabouts is actually adequate is, I think, open to question. On the other hand, I presume the financial commitments involved make it impossible to go any further. If it were a question of entering into a detailed debate on that subject it would, possibly, involve a certain amount of recrimination. I suggest to the House that with such a thing as the Army that is quite unnecessary, and that we now know from the emergency that there are certain lessons to be learned.
A study of the Estimates before the war, right from 1924 onwards, a study  of the actual moneys spent on the Defence Forces, and a study, in particular, of the moneys spent on equipment, compared with the moneys allegedly allocated for equipment in some of these Estimates, would be interesting, and I suggest that we could help there, rather by inquiring why moneys voted for the purpose were not spent, than on the question of the amount spent. If it is decided that minimum strength and minimum expenditure is necessary, I emphasise by way of contrast, not only is our function here to see that moneys are not unnecessarily spent, but also to see that moneys are properly applied.
As to the scales on which the ranks are paid, and particularly the officers, compared with other grades of employment outside, to say the least of it, the scales are low. No increases were given to Army officers over a large number of years. An actual reduction which, at the time it was made was considered to be merely temporary, was never restored. It would be a good thing if this House could agree to recommend that the lot of such an important section of the community as the Defence Forces should be bettered. As regards the rôle of the Army, even in peace time, it is a plaything for people who want to talk about expenditure. The cutting of the Army does not immediately involve serious repercussions on the community and, therefore, there is a temptation to take the rather short view. The Army is our insurance for an emergency period.
A final remark in regard to 1939 may not be out of place regarding the need for the Army. After the 1914-18 war, as after the last war, it was said: “Oh, the progress of modern weapons has made an army for small States like this unnecessary. You do not want it; it cannot be effective.” What can a little army do against all this power and all this equipment? While I grant the force of a certain amount of that argument, the people who make it forget that there is a human factor involved, that there is a factor of human progress and human change that influences all these things and that still makes it necessary to have an Army here. Two thoughts jump to  mind. One is the actual situation in which we found ourselves in 1940. Then it was a fortunate thing that we had the standing Army we had. It was particularly fortunate that in that little standing Army, under the discouraging conditions that existed in all the years from the demobilisation of 1921, you still had a little nucleus of officers who were sufficiently interested in their profession and had the character to militate against the swamping tendency of the inactivity of the day in the Army to drive them into thinking about just nothing. They had the character to stand up against that, to stand up against the interminable routine of 24 hours on and a few hours off, and so forth, that would hypnotise any man into a state of complete mental inertia. We were fortunate in having that small group of officers there even though a lot of the time, because of the lack of facilities, lack of equipment, lack of troops, their exercises boiled down to nothing more than map manoeuvres on map tables and what one might almost call a game of make-believe. It was very fortunate these officers were there trying to keep themselves up-to-date with what was going on in the world with regard to military affairs and trying to think out plans for using our military resources. It was fortunate that we had a few of these regular officers who had character and nobody will pay more tribute to them than people on this side of the House, who would have been opposed to them in earlier days, for what they did there. These officers had the interest and the character to try to build up a reserve —and I refer to certain officers of that old reserve too, in that regard. It was also fortunate that amongst the younger people outside you did have young fellows who came into the Volunteer Reserves, whether it was the old City of Dublin Reserve or the Volunteer Force, and that these were interested enough to join up because, if it had not been, in the first place, for these regulars who made it possible, with their experience and knowledge of administration as well as knowledge of military matters, to play an organisation that would fit our actual conditions in 1940, if you had  not got these reserve officers, N.C.O.s and men of the old reserve and of the Volunteer Force to go into the key positions in the establishment in 1940, the Army would not have been able to absorb the rush of emergency volunteers, to train the emergency officers, and would not have been able to build in the amazingly short space of time, the Army that was built in 1940. These are the facts of the case. And, it was only barely done. That is the big argument for the increase in strength and for watching our equipment in future. Even when that organisation was done, we had not the equipment. That is all on the Army side.
Now let us look at it from the point of view of the State as a whole. Supposing that people who had been constantly talking about Army expenditure and had been criticising the maintenance of an Army before that had had their way, we would not have had even the Army that we had in 1940; we would not have been able to have it at all. What would have happened then? There would be nothing surer than that this country would have been occupied. There would have been no other military way out for the belligerents because, as we all know now, there was a threat to the country and it was the ability of our Army to look after our own little piece of territory here that secured our immunity. Otherwise, some other Power would have had to occupy us as a matter of protection for themselves. That in itself is a complete answer to the question as to the need for a defence force here, the fact, in a nutshell, being that if we had not our own Army in 1940/1941, to look after its own territory at that time, quite apart from the minimum tactical requirements for dealing with an actual invasion but from the point of view of guard duty merely of its own territory, if that Army had not been there and had not been capable of expanding to the extent to which it did expand, then as a matter of self-protection, a neighbouring Power would have had no other military alternative but to occupy us and occupation would have meant war. Let us face that fact fairly and  squarely. It is sufficient to prove to my mind that the Army is necessary and, that being so, let us learn the lessons of the emergency, without recrimination, without apportioning blame. On all sides people may have taken a short view but let us learn the lessons new and provide for the future. Two of the big lessons, as any General Staff officer will tell you, as anybody who had any dealings with the Army will tell you, are: let us have a cadre that is capable of expansion, the minimum we can work with, yes, but let it not be less than the minimum and let us have the equipment. That, I suggest, is really all that is involved in that Estimate on the question of strength.
Lastly, perhaps it might be as well to elaborate, just to this extent, on the necessity for an Army. There is the question of defence. The right of defence is one of the liabilities, if you like, and it is one of the privileges, if you like, of status of an independent State. In any event, we have our territory. In the event of a major conflict involving neighbouring Powers, that territory will have to be defended by somebody. In other words, the geography of the case brings into question the matter of defence. Then, you can have your choice. You can sit back and say: “We will not provide for our own defence.” In that case you may be very well sure somebody else will have to provide for your defence. Maybe on a purely monetary or financial argument you might say it might be cheaper to let some outside Power provide for your defence but, if you say that, that other Power will have the right to commit you. You will pay for that defence with the right of your own freedom of action and, what is more, in actual, down-to-earth fact, you will not get away with it without paying money either because, if there is going to be defence, and if your defence is going to be charged to somebody else, some other cost is going to come back on you. That is the only alternative and, when put in that clear way, it is one that none of us would consider. I think no member of this House would consider for a moment handing over the defence of this country  to any outside Power because they realise it sacrifices your freedom of action on the one part and that the actual material cost will be visited back on you in some way. On the other hand, for ourselves, the liability for defence must be discharged. It does involve a certain amount of money. We must face up to that. It does, but as I have said, it is one of the liabilities as well as one of the great privileges of our independent status. But, in expending the moneys that are necessary on that essential service, on that essential insurance of the community, let us pay a premium that will actually support a real policy, that is, let us pay as much as will ensure that our defence provisions are a reality, not a sham, and let us not simply throw money down the drain by voting inadequate sums to subsidise something that would be ineffective for the very purpose for which it exists.
Mr. McGilligan Mr. McGilligan
Mr. McGilligan: The Deputy who has last spoken has draped a white sheet around him on behalf of his Party and he would like everyone to creep under it. I have no intention of joining him. He has thought fit now to confess for his Party to some of the outrageous statements that they used to make about the Army. That is a sign of repentance, but we will let them enjoy that on their own. He asks us to keep away from embarrassing quotations. I am keeping away from them. But when he asks us to keep away from quotations which would embarrass him and his group he ought to remember that that is the situation.
Major de Valera Major de Valera
Major de Valera: Nobody said that.
Mr. McGilligan Mr. McGilligan
Mr. McGilligan: I say that. The only embarrassment that will be caused will be caused to the people who, when the Army had to be carried along at a cost of £1,500,000, used to talk about the extravagance it was and say that this country could not afford it and that the cost of the Army had to be related to all other costs met from taxation. Where are we now? The cost of running this bit of a nation has multiplied many times. The Army, which is one of the type of things which people are beginning to doubt the reality of, is magnified in an extraordinary way.
 The Deputy has over-simplified matters. When discussing the Public Health Bill he said the question was that either you had force or you had not force. The simplest test he used was: if you do not want force, open the doors of the Dundrum Criminal Lunatic Asylum. That was oversimplification, as the Minister has shown by bringing in over 100 amendments to show that it is not so simple as to say: “either compulsion or no compulsion”. Similarly, we are asked are we to have an Army which is a real Army or a make-believe. What I object to in regard to money being spent is that it is being spent on purposes which, in the end, will be just the same as make-believe.
I will go back in history and say that I do not agree with the view that invasion could have been kept off by using the Army we had in 1939 with the equipment we had then. One officer mournfully stated to me at the start of the war that if bombers came over here at that time the only thing they had to fear was fouling the telegraph wires, that there was nothing to keep them off. I remember meeting harassed people who left this country in the Autumn or late Summer of 1939 to try to “scrounge” material from England at a time when she had not material to give to this country. The Army was costing £1,500,000 in these days and had been carried on from 1932 at about that cost. We now hear that the main exercise that the troops had was keeping guard with 24 hours on and 24 hours off. From 1932 to the outbreak of the war the whole talent that was at the back of military matters, so far as Fianna Fáil was concerned, was occupied in gathering £1,500,000 to spend on guard duty and to leave us in the position that if a bomber arrived over here all that it had to keep watch for were the telegraph wires and the Electricity Supply Board wires. These were our only protection. That is called having an Army of a proper type in these days.
Now we are moving on. A scientific gentleman who lectured in Dublin yesterday was reported this morning as having said that the development of the use of nuclear energy had gone to  the point that a bomb 100 times or 1,000 times the power of the bomb which destroyed two Japanese cities could be dropped and would eliminate the whole of London. We are spending £4,500,000 against that sort of thing. What will the expenditure of that amount to? Is it a make-believe or a reality? What is the nation to get for that expenditure? The Deputy says that there is a well-trained nucleus of officers. If there is, it is well that he should pay a tribute to them, because, according to himself, they got little chance of developing military talent with 24 hours on guard and 24 hours off to recover from that guarding of public buildings. Why was it necessary to guard public buildings? That is what the Army was used for on account of the bad history to which this country was treated.
The ordinary ambition of any country of a small type would be to have a trained corps of officers, properly paid and equipped as scientifically as the country could afford, so that there might be some expansion when the need came. The Deputy, who talks about making the Army a real thing, agrees that the pay offered to officers is unattractive. We know that it is. Taking the £800,000 expenditure on Army pensions, from the total of £5,400,000, we are facing an expenditure of £4,500,000 for the Army, as opposed to £1,500,000, which it used to be. At the end of it, even the Deputy who is anxious to have a real Army, says the pay is not attractive and that the officer corps are leaving us. Of course they are.
Major de Valera Major de Valera
Major de Valera: I did not say the officer corps.
Mr. McGilligan Mr. McGilligan
Mr. McGilligan: Whether the Deputy said it or not, it is a fact. The Minister cannot get the men to remain on or get in the new people whom he would like to get. That is what we are going to spend £4,500,000 on. The Deputy posed one question to which I was anxious to hear an answer. He wanted to know whether people were right in thinking as a result of the last war that there was no real answer to the question: what can a little Army  do? The last war answered that precisely. If not, I should like to be informed, if war comes, if this country has any hope of a reliable performance against modern weapons on the part of the type of army that a small country can build up, equip and maintain. I have yet to see what it can do, particularly if the development of the atom bomb goes on. If the £4,500,000 was spent on making arrangements for the complete dispersal of the population from the big built-up centres, it might do more than having men trailing around with the type of equipment we can give them. They will be as heroic as we expect they should be, but they will be corpses very soon. That is the fate that faces them. I do not know why at this stage we should decide to have an increase of 250 per cent. on the pre-war strength of the Army, and an increase of at least that in the cost of it. What is it for?
Major de Valera Major de Valera
Major de Valera: Do you think we should abolish the Army altogether?
Mr. McGilligan Mr. McGilligan
Mr. McGilligan: I have not said so. If we are to have a real Army to defend this country, it is not £4,500,000 we need but £10,500,000. Are we going to spend that? I ask the Deputy in return would he like to have reality in regard to agriculture, would he like a real attitude towards such services as education?
Major de Valera Major de Valera
Major de Valera: We are discussing the Army Estimate.
Mr. McGilligan Mr. McGilligan
Mr. McGilligan: They are all on the same basis. Would he like a real attitude in respect, say, of the teachers? We have to cut our coat according to our cloth. We have decided that we cannot pay the teachers what most people admit to be a legitimate payment because we cannot afford it, but we can afford to spend this sum and for what? To do a wrong thing wrongly, which is the highest point of futility. That is what the Estimate is. Do we want this Army? The Deputy says it is part of the price of national freedom. I wonder is it? There was a time when Denmark entirely disarmed and kept disarmed for many years. When the war clouds began to gather, she did some rearming. She  got to the extreme point of rearming so far as the population and the financial resources of the country allowed. What was the army used for when it came to the test? We were not tested. We can give ourselves all the credit we are entitled to for producing people who, from the point of view of valour, human endurance, courage and all the necessary virtues for wartime, are the equals of any other people, but these are not the things which count to-day. That is not what primarily counts; it is equipment. Can this country afford the equipment which is necessary to give us what I may describe as a real army as opposed to a sham? If the Deputy wants to argue the question as to whether this country could have been occupied in 1939 or 1940, I ask him to think of a couple of things. Knowing well, as he must, the state of the Army at that stage, could it have kept out anything?
Major de Valera Major de Valera
Major de Valera: The state of the Army which might have occupied us was just as bad.
Mr. McGilligan Mr. McGilligan
Mr. McGilligan: The occupation in the Deputy's view was occupation of one country to preserve it from attack from another country. If the country likely to attack us had taken that line, we had no defence against it. The Deputy says that the army likely to occupy us was too weak at the time or it would have occupied us.
Major de Valera Major de Valera
Major de Valera: It would have been compelled, as a matter of military necessity, to do so if our Army had not been there.
Mr. McGilligan Mr. McGilligan
Mr. McGilligan: Although it was not equal to the defence of its own country?
Major de Valera Major de Valera
Major de Valera: It would have been compelled, as a matter of military necessity, to occupy the open flank.
Mr. McGilligan Mr. McGilligan
Mr. McGilligan: I am glad that I was not brought up in the same school as the Deputy.
Major de Valera Major de Valera
Major de Valera: So is the Deputy.
Mr. McGilligan Mr. McGilligan
Mr. McGilligan: The English army, which was too weak to defend England, would have been forced to  occupy this country if we had not the Army we had in 1939.
Major de Valera Major de Valera
Major de Valera: Yes, geography would have necessitated it.
Mr. McGilligan Mr. McGilligan
Mr. McGilligan: There was a time when there might have been occupation by a hostile army but for one factor —not the Army we had in the Twenty-Six Counties, but the armed forces between the Twenty-Six Counties and the Six Counties. There was a virtual occupation of this country, though there was no breach of our position. I do not know anybody who has thought over the matter who does not admit that, round about 1941-42, this country would have been occupied if it had not been for Partition. The English and the Americans looked at this country not from the point of view of what was in the Twenty-Six Counties but from the point of view of what was in the whole island. It was quite clear that, if any attempt had been made to use hostile forces against this country, it would have been easier to get down from the North of Ireland than it would have been to get across the Channel. That is looking at reality and that is the position in which we were. That may not be a very happy thought from the angle of national pride but that was the situation. I doubt that we could have had a better situation— I am thinking now of the position in the Twenty-Six Counties. Men had gathered in. They had left their posts and, so far as human personnel was concerned, we were well supplied. Those men deserve better treatment than they are getting at the moment from those who brought them in. As much equipment had been bought or “scrounged”, mainly from England, as we ever thought it likely we would get. We had built ourselves up as well as we could but what were we worth in the end?
If there had been a first-class descent on this country, and if nothing had moved across the Border, will anybody tell me how long all the men we had here and all the equipment we had would have held out? That there would have been resistance—resistance as effective as the individuals concerned  could have made it with the equipment available—I have no doubt. In the end what would the result have been? Would the result not have come very quickly? It is in the light of those events, projecting ourselves into the future and seeing what the new form of warfare is to be, that I question this expenditure of £4,500,000. The Deputy says that, since we were short of equipment in 1939, we should get in equipment now. That is an extremely foolish policy. The development of offensive weapons has marked turning points in history. So far as we are allowed to know by the newspapers, no development of a defensive weapon against the new offensive weapon has taken place. I suggest that the most foolish attitude we could adopt would be to spend money now on stores of a warlike type. We do not know if these stores, in six months more, will not be obsolete. The chances are that anything we buy now will be obsolete very soon, except the ordinary equipment of the infantry—and I do not know whether we propose to spend money on that futility or not.
Deputy Mulcahy insisted on reality. I also insist on reality. The reality is not in your position as it may be in a warring world five or ten years hence, though this country may have to plan development ahead. But we are thinking of this year, thinking of the position of the country at the present time, thinking of the stress we have gone through, of the marks it has left upon us. We are thinking of a community that has been bled almost white during the past six years. With the exception of a very small group who have fed fat on war exigencies—and have been allowed to do so—the people are almost exhausted by the weight of taxation. The salaried class and the workers have got to the point at which they are being made to live on half rates of pay. We ask for some relief and we ought to get it. It has been said, over and over again, that a nation's foreign policy must be adjusted, to some degree, to its domestic economic strength and an army is part of foreign policy. We must base our Army and the amount we will spend on it on our domestic  economic strength and that is very light at the moment. Our production has, I think, never been lower. The volume of production has gone down at a time when all over the world, as the result of intensive effort and the pouring of monetary resources into that effort, production has increased. That is recognised by everybody. The last Minister for Finance, when speaking in a debate in this House, agreed that the country had been crushed by the weight of taxation and the cost of living, and said that if that position were not alleviated there would be a very bad prospect immediately ahead.
I think that we have to count on, at least, three years in which we need not do very much in regard to the Army but mark time. If anything is going to happen in three years, the Army which we will produce inside the three years will hardly be worth having. If there are new defensive weapons against the latest offensive weapon, then we have not got those secrets and there is no use in spending money on old types of weapons which will then be obsolete. Why not give the country a chance of recovering in the three years, after which it might be able to bear the expenditure to be placed upon it? This sum of £4,500,000 constitutes an amazing bill. Why should there be extravagance—because there is extravagance having regard to our conditions—in relation to this service? I ask Deputies to make one simple calculation on these Estimates. In 1937-38, the total of the whole expenditure, so far as these public services were concerned, was £28,000,000. For the year 1946-47, the sum is £47,750,000. The expenditure is not exactly doubled. Look at this Estimate. It is trebled. Look at a variety of other services. Take a service like old age pensions. The figure is, more or less, the same but everybody knows that the same figure is giving only half value. These weaklings of economic circumstance are simply carried along at the same old figure. Take the Estimate for public works and buildings. We might think that this was a time in which we might re-equip ourselves in connection with public buildings allowed to go without much capital expenditure during the last six or seven years. The  figure is the same as for 1937-38. Take such things as Agriculture and the joint Votes for Industry and Commerce and Supplies.
An Ceann Comhairle Frank Fahy
An Ceann Comhairle: We are now dealing only with the Army Vote.
Mr. McGilligan Mr. McGilligan
Mr. McGilligan: I am making a comparison, which I am entitled to make, in glancing fashion. I do not propose to spend more than five minutes on the comparison. I have emphasised that these particular moneys do not represent much in the way of production or development—certainly, not much in the way of new production or development. But taking out the main items—those which can be taken out from this crop of Estimates as being most nearly related to production—they are all carried on at the same estimated figure as for 1937-38. But a completely non-productive service like the Army is trebled so far as the weight of its imposition on the public is concerned.
I think it is wrong in these times. I think every nation requires a breathing space in which to recover from the difficulties that have beset it, in order to try to build up again the strength that has been weakened for the past six or seven years, so that people will be able to get back to some real standard of living unoppressed by the taxation we have at the moment. If it should be necessary to face an expenditure of £4,500,000 on an army, then that expenditure might be approached with some timidity after four or five years when we have recovered our productive capacity and have had some opportunity to develop. I read an account in one of the English economic journals the other day of how the English are trying to readjust their army conditions. The paper showed certain tables with regard to people who were in the armed forces and it had a further calculation of the number of people engaged in munition making and the production of articles required for the war, not incidentals. In that way you got a tot of a pre-war type of 1,750,000 people. Then they gave the figures during the war and up to mid-1945, that is right to the end of the war period; then they showed how  the numbers have declined. Next they went on to a forecast of what they are going to be, based on Ministerial Estimates, about mid-summer or Christmas next year and the figure which they give for all those likely to be engaged in these services at that time is 1,700,000. That is the figure which they estimate will represent the total number engaged in these services after the war years.
That is a country which cannot say that it is clear of dangers. International difficulties are pressing hard around it; it is being called on to send aid to many parts of the world to meet all sorts of conflicts arising from national endeavours in different parts of the world where Britain has a hold. Notwithstanding all these difficulties and the fact that it has still to maintain its position as a first-class Power in the world, with an amazingly scattered group of dependencies, the Government is aiming, as far as the Estimates go, at bringing the number engaged in the Army and munition making down to the 1,700,000 which represented the full tot of the people occupied in these services in 1937 and 1938. In this country with our experience of how wasteful an army can be—and really, with all respect to those who have served in it, how futile it can be—we are going to more than double the strength and to treble the expenditure. I suggest that this Estimate should be taken back, thought well over, and reproduced in all timidity at about one-third of its present amount. We know that the Army demobilisation cannot be immediately carried out but certainly nothing above the 1937 expenditure should be thought of in connection with this country for the next five or six years. That is all I have to say on the main Estimate.
I want to ask a few questions in regard to the details of the Estimate. There was a case tried in the courts in connection with a medical officer. It was generally known in court circles as Fitzpatrick v. the Minister for Defence. That officer got a court award. I want to know has the court award been honoured and whether the Army authorities have decided to fulfil what  the courts thought they should grant to that particular claimant and to those whom he represented.
I notice that the estimated expenditure in connection with the Offences Against the State Act and in connection with Emergency Powers Orders has gone down. It is apparently to go down by £16,000. What does that mean? Does it mean that there is going to be less of the Special Military Courts procedure? If it does, may I say that no more welcome decision was ever announced in this House? The Special Military Court was intended to be used when there was any threat of violence in the background but it has been perverted and distorted from that proper use to trying black market cases, coupon cases, cases concerning the purchase of various articles the purchase of which was forbidden by Emergency Powers Orders, etc. That I suggest was a definite perversion of the uses of the Military Court. There was no reason why cases such as I have mentioned should not have been tried before a judge and jury. Under the Constitution trial by jury is supposed to be the privilege of every citizen except in certain offences. The Estimate forecasts a reduction of £16,000 in that expenditure. I do not know what it means but I welcome it if it means less resort to these courts.
I see—and I am sorry that the Deputy who last spoke did not give us some information on the matter—that there is a sub-head X (3)—expenses in connection with the manufacture of phosphorus, etc. I know something about it from the angle of my constituency. People were nearly poisoned on the north side of the city. There was an appeal made to the Government and there was some talk about devastated back gardens but one had to see them to realise what the devastation meant. People might have been affected in health and of course the unfortunate people who on certain occasions had to hang out clothes found themselves much worse off in their wardrobes than ever before. I cannot understand why this highly poisonous gas attack was made in a congested built-up area in the city. As I understand it, wherever  this malodorous and poisonous stuff is manufactured, it is usually manufactured on a very high hill or on a moor from which the fumes can be diffused before they can do harm to anybody. Yet the manufacture of this poisonous stuff or the attempt to manufacture it was carried out in a congested part of the city. Why I do not know. I suppose there was some purpose in attempting it but whatever the aim, apparently it was not achieved, because I understand the stuff was offered afterwards to a match manufacturer.
I have been looking anxiously through the receipts, the Appropriations-in-Aid, to see if even a few hundred pounds were derived from the manufacture of this stuff but I do not see that anything was received. I should like to know what happened the stuff, apart from diffusing fumes which devastated back gardens, destroyed people's clothes and injured people's health. I understand the stuff was offered to a match manufacturer, the only match manufacturer in this country, and he refused to take it on the ground that it was yellow phosphorus and not red phosphorus and that even on a match head, yellow phosphorus was useless and was likely to be poisonous. I see that where we spent £20,000 on this experiment in the past year we are now going to spend only £10,000. Does that mean that we are going to do only half the damage caused last year? If so it is a welcome announcement. What was the aim of this experiment? Will somebody let me into that secret? What was the objective and how far did it go? Was it ever put to any military use and what became of the surplus stuff that was manufactured? Did we get anything for it and does this expenditure of £20,000 represent the total loss on this fantastic experiment?
Finally, there is one matter which has been brought to my notice, and if it is properly represented to me, it constitutes a definite scandal, and one of the meanest activities carried out by the whole Department of Defence. When men were enticed into the Army they were certainly promised that their Army service would count when the  emergency was over and when any position came to be filled. Men did go to the Army and, on returning to civil life, they found advertisements actually appearing which indicated that a preference would be given to ex-Army men. I have had cases—I do not want to mention names—in which that Army service did not seem to count a lot, in which people who had not got any service got preference over men who had very substantial periods of service with the Army—with the Army, and not with any of the auxiliary forces.
One special matter was recently brought to my attention. An advertisement appeared recently in connection with a particular post which indicated that preference would be given to Army people, provided they had a minimum of one year's service. Men presented themselves for the post, and presented themselves with the discharge papers which they had got from the Army stating that they had a year's service, but they were told they had not got a year's service. When they went on to inquire into the divergence between what the Army discharge papers stated and what was then being said, they found this type of thing, that, in odd cases, some of these men, having got eight hours' leave, had absented themselves for ten hours, and because they were two hours over the time allowed, a day was subtracted from them. That happened with regard to some individuals three or four times during the period they were in service. The result has been with regard to some people that, although their discharge papers state that they have a year's service, certain people are now in the background nicking days off them because of overstayed hours of leave, and they find their Army service reduced from the statutory minimum period of a year to 364 days. If that is the situation, it represents one of the meanest tricks ever played on any of these people. In the case of one young gentleman who complained recently, he was told: “You need not complain. There are 18 others in the same predicament”.
If there are 18 men who have been deprived of what in their discharge papers is stated to be a full year's  service by the fact that they were one or two hours over their leave period and therefore nicked a day—I believe one of the men was fined 2/- for the offence of having taken two extra hours to which he was not entitled and finds now, at the end of his career, that a day has been nicked off his Army service so that actually he does not qualify for the preference—it seems to me to be so fantastic that I hesitate to mention it. If it is not so, I shall certainly take it up with the gentleman who informed me of the matter and who told me it was represented to him that there were 16 or 17 others in like case. I hope that type of thing is not happening.
I want to get back now to the larger topic of Army service. If the Minister is serious that Army service is to count, he ought to look through some of the appointments and promotions which have been given in the last six months. He will find there distinctly that, in connection with two matters about which the Government advertised themselves as giving preference, men who had both Irish language qualifications and Army qualifications have definitely been put below men who had neither. No real reason, certainly no reason relating to intellectual attainments or marking at examinations, has been given to justify to these young men the fact that they did not get the particular appointments or promotion. I suggest that the matter has got to such a point with regard to certain people that they no longer regard the Ministry as being sincere in their protestations about these preferences and have simply come to the conclusion that they were fooled in this as they were in many other matters.
Mr. Traynor Mr. Traynor
Mr. Traynor: Two matters seem to have become outstanding in the course of the debate. The first is the matter to which members of the Opposition again returned, Army policy, and the second, the proposal to have an Army of 12,500 men. Members of the Opposition appear to take very strong exception to both these matters, or to the manner in which they appear to have been dealt with. I thought I had dealt reasonably fairly with Army  policy on the occasion of the Bill which I had recently before the House, and I reverted to it again to-day in my opening statement. I deliberately came back to it and explained what Army policy was and still, so far as I can see, the Opposition are dissatisfied. They still seem to think that there is some mysterious quality in Army policy which cannot be spoken of from this side of the House, and I am wondering if, as I said on a former occasion, they are mixing up external policy, the Army in external matters, or if they are involving themselves in the question of the defence of this nation in the case of war.
Army policy is exactly as I have outlined it. We have an Army; we know the strength of that Army; we know what we require from that Army. I think that Army policy consists, in the main, of having your Army apportioned in such a way as the Army authorities will be perfectly satisfied with. That is the position in respect to the present Army. The question of Army policy might have been raised in a more acute form during the period of the emergency rather than at the present time. It was not so raised, perhaps for various reasons, but the Army had a policy then which, so far as defence was concerned, could have been applied with the maximum amount of efficiency possible. That defence policy is still there to the good. It could not perhaps be operated in the same manner with the small Army which we propose to have in the peace days of the future and perhaps it is a policy which might even have to be altered in the future when conditions of warfare change. The fact of the matter is that Army policy is the same as that enunciated by my predecessor, to whose statements I referred in my opening statement to-day. It is the same Army policy as that which I mentioned on the last occasion on which I was speaking here. I have nothing to add to what I have already said, nor do I propose to add anything.
Suggestions have been made from the Labour Benches that there should be some form of council of defence. I think the Deputy who made that suggestion  will, on consideration, come to the same conclusion as myself—that the chances of having a united policy, between the differing views which we hear in this House, would be almost nil. Most of the members of such a body would have no military knowledge, or at the most a very scant military knowledge and that fact would be sufficient, without the other weakness I mentioned, to nullify any such suggestion.
There has been a suggestion that the Army is an insurance of a kind. That is perfectly true. It is a non-productive unit. When a man pays insurance on his home over a period of 20 or 25 years and nothing happens, that is unproductive also, but if by any chance his home should be destroyed by fire or something like that, he reaps the benefit of his foresight. As far as this State can afford insurance, the Army is its insurance that the nation will be defended with its full strength. In respect of what Deputy Mulcahy said, when he tried to make our flesh creep with his references to the atomic bomb, I am positive that the people of this nation will be prepared always to defend it against attack from any source, in spite of atomic bombs or any other type of attack. That is a tradition of our people which I am sure will not be changed.
I am pretty certain I will not be able to reply to all the questions raised in the course of the debate. In the case of any I may overlook by chance. I can assure the House I will have them dealt with, through perusal of the Official Report. Deputy Cosgrave referred to promotion, to Army courses and to floating mines. Promotion is based on the efficiency of the officers concerned as well as on the length of their service. I hope, however, in the near future, in the general reorganisation which we are still studying and perfecting, to be able to introduce a system whereby a man will be promoted automatically after a certain number of years in the service. That automatic promotion will be limited to a certain rank. If we can have that accepted, it will ensure that what happened in the past will not be repeated, that men will not  get into a rut and fail to get out of it because they were not regarded as being energetic enough or efficient enough or for some other reason.
The courses regarding which Deputy Cosgrave wanted information are courses we are seeking abroad. We have no guarantee that we can secure places on those courses for our officers, but we are very anxious to secure them. If it becomes possible to have a number of officers sent on those particular courses, the money which we have earmarked here will be used for that purpose. They may take place in England or America, or if there are any other countries where we can get specialised training for our officers, we will be prepared to send them to those countries. The Deputy seemed to think the amount earmarked was not sufficient, but it must be remembered that the men going on those courses will carry their full pay, plus additions to permit them to meet expenses they will incur.
Regarding the floating mines, I hope we will see the end of them very shortly. They are being removed at the present time. It is practically impossible to give any guarantee that we can avoid the danger, for the simple reason that, if a mine floats in during the hours of darkness, we can do nothing about it. As I mentioned on a recent occasion here, 998 of those mines drifted into our shores or landed on our shores and were destroyed by Army engineers. We will continue that work wherever it is necessary. The same situation appears to exist in England, where they have not only the coastguards watching around the coast but various forms of marine control continuously operating. There have been some serious catastrophes over there, where piers have been blown away and harbours and towns damaged. The great difficulty in dealing with mines is that we have no defence against them when they come in during the hours of darkness.
Several Deputies raised the question of pay. I welcome the criticism, which is rather helpful to me, since at the present moment I am dealing with that matter. I cannot say how successful I may be, but any support I get in this  House is bound to be helpful and, naturally, I will use the statements made here in support of my own opinion. From that point of view, I welcome these statements. Again, I was rather pleased when Deputy Cosgrave spoke about the accommodation of officers, N.C.O.s and men. I feel sure he was speaking from experience.
While I was pleased that Deputy Cosgrave should have supported the idea which I hold, and which I mentioned during the course of a debate on, I think, the Supplementary Estimate, I want to point out that members of his own Party are in disagreement with him. Deputy Morrissey on that occasion severely criticised the suggestion that we should build a new barracks in Limerick when we have, as he pointed out, a barracks already there. I thoroughly agree with the various speakers who referred to the present barracks as being antiquated. They were built to meet conditions which existed almost a century ago and, to my mind, they do not suit the purposes of the present day. I am pretty sure that barracks on the Continent would be a revelation, if we could see them, in comparison with the barracks in which we house our troops.
Deputy Cosgrave also mentioned claims in respect of compensation for occupied premises and lands. All these claims have been practically settled. Nurses are being granted gratuities; the gratuities are actually included in this Vote. In the course of the debate Deputy Norton referred to the fact that the British are giving 35/- a week marriage allowance to soldiers. I might point out that while they are giving that, irrespective of the number of children, the 35/- allowance does not compare with our figure when our soldiers have more than three children. We reach that figure in cases where there are three children. The 35/- the Deputy refers to is the maximum marriage allowance, irrespective of what family the British soldier may have.
General Mulcahy General Mulcahy
General Mulcahy: A British soldier gets his family allowance on the one side and he has a much larger basic payment on the other side.
Mr. Traynor Mr. Traynor
 Mr. Traynor: There is a family allowance here, also.
General Mulcahy General Mulcahy
General Mulcahy: But it does not compare.
Mr. Traynor Mr. Traynor
Mr. Traynor: It compares to the extent of what we are able to afford. I hope the Deputy is not suggesting that we should aim at the same figures as exist in the British Army.
General Mulcahy General Mulcahy
General Mulcahy: I am only comparing the income of a private soldier here and the income of a private soldier in Great Britain.
Mr. Traynor Mr. Traynor
Mr. Traynor: I do not know whether the Deputy was listening to Deputy McGilligan but, if he was, he would know that Deputy McGilligan was not supporting the expenditure of this money in respect of the Army.
General Mulcahy General Mulcahy
General Mulcahy: If the Minister is referring to the £5,000,000, I am not doing it either.
Mr. Traynor Mr. Traynor
Mr. Traynor: While I have very great sympathy with the conditions which exist with respect to housing for soldiers, I can do nothing at all about it. I have to face realities. As far as we can house the soldiers in the official quarters which we have at our disposal, we do so, but when these houses have been used up to the limit, then the soldier, just as the ordinary citizen, must secure accommodation for himself and his family. He must do so in the same way as the ordinary citizen.
It has been suggested that when the soldiers leave the Army we have a certain responsibility for securing housing accommodation for them. I have taken that matter up with the Minister for Local Government in the hope that a certain percentage of houses in the near future will be made available for men leaving the Army, but the Minister pointed out, very rightly, to me that I have to convince the city manager and the corporation of that necessity rather than convince him. He would be sympathetically disposed to the suggestion that a certain percentage of the houses which will be made available, I hope, in the near future, will be held for Army personnel,  but there is a feeling that that would probably meet with an amount of opposition from the members of the various councils and corporations in the country.
Deputy Blowick referred to the turning over of barracks that we are evacuating to the civil authorities. I am afraid we cannot do that. We had a rather painful experience during the emergency of our generosity in that respect on a former occasion, when numbers of small barracks which we had handed over to the civil authorities would have been highly desirable for the housing of the emergency troops, but they just could not have them and we had to do without them. We shall have to see that we do not make a similar mistake in the future.
The Deputy also spoke about corvettes and the use to which they should be put. He referred to their use on fishing patrols. The main purpose of these corvettes will be to train members of the Marine Service in the same manner as we would train the Army men. The intention is to train them as efficiently as it is possible to train them with the weapons that could be placed at their disposal. If that is the primary purpose, the secondary purpose will be the protection of fisheries, as far as that will be possible. We hope to have a fairly regular patrol going around our coasts in the course of time, and we hope, as a result of these patrols, to afford greater protection to the fishing industry than has been possible heretofore on account of the slower speed of the Muirchu, the Fort Rannoch and other vessels.
I should also say, in reply to a number of Deputies who mentioned warlike stores, that in the main they consist of the aeroplanes to which I referred in my opening statement. There may be minor items which we will require. I should point out that none of these will be items which have become obsolete or will have gone out of date. They will be weapons which, so far as warfare of the present day is concerned, will be pretty up-to-date.
I mentioned on a former occasion that we had cancelled all orders for warlike weapons for the simple reason  that we wanted to see what production was likely to be in the future. We all rather felt that there would be a change over to new weapons and it was for that purpose we cancelled our orders. But there are such weapons as rifles and it will take a very long time before they become obsolete or are improved upon. These are some of the additional warlike stores which we will require in the future.
The question was also raised of bounties to An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil. I personally, must say that I do not like the idea. I would much prefer to see An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil a voluntary force. I think that we would get very much better service from these men in a voluntary capacity than we would in a paid or semi-paid capacity. It should be remembered that the amount of service that we are asking from these men is very small, something like 48 hours in the year. That is not very much to ask men to give. They gave a much greater length of service in the emergency years. We are satisfied that, in the future, we can give them the necessary training in that period of time, together with their service in camp. During whatever period they spend in the camps they will be paid and rations will be found for them in the ordinary way as in the case of soldiers.
Deputy Hughes seemed to have the idea that we had some obsolete weapons of war for which we had not got ammunition, and that we had some type of obsolete ammunition for which we had no weapons. I can assure him that is not the position, and that we have not such a situation in the Army at the present time. The position is that we have no weapons which are completely obsolete. The Deputy also asked some questions with regard to Army blankets and Army stores. A large quantity of Army blankets was sent to the Continent to help to alleviate the terrible distress which exists there at the moment. A very large quantity of them was also made available to charitable institutions throughout Ireland, including the St. Vincent de Paul Society. I do not think that any Deputy will grumble at that policy.
 Deputy O'Sullivan referred to the industrial plant at Parkgate. We hope to be handing that over in the near future to an industrial concern. The period in which that plant first originated was one of very great stress and very great danger. We were then short of weapons of attack, and, therefore, we have very great reason to be proud of the progress made as a result of the work done by the Scientific Research Bureau, helped by some officers and chemists from the Army. For the first time it was possible to produce a weapon which, in every possible aspect, compared with similar weapons in use in some of the belligerent States, the components of which were secret. They broke the secret, and produced the necessary formula. As a result of that, we were able to produce 1,000,000 or 1,500,000 of these weapons. They were placed all over the country, and were held in readiness both for the Army and the Local Defence Force in case of danger. Experiments with the weapon were demonstrated on a number of occasions. Members of the House, no doubt, saw it being used, and saw the value of it. I feel that in producing the goods which were produced by that industrial plant, not only very valuable work was done for the Army but for the nation as well, because for the first time in our history sulphur phosphorus was produced. I understand that the process for the manufacture of this particular ingredient is highly secret. Yet, thanks to our scientists here, we were able to produce it, and we hope that, as a result, perhaps for the first time in our history we will be able to produce the phosphorus for the manufacture of matches in the future.
Deputy McGilligan wanted to know if we had produced anything from this factory and, if so, what it was, and if we had produced anything, what was its value. I should say that its value now would be nil because it is just the same as producing gunpowder. It was an expedient to meet a dangerous situation. I have no doubt that the material would keep for a certain time, but at the same time I feel that it would deteriorate in the course of time. Therefore, with the exception of the bottles into which this material was  poured, I would be inclined to say that they would be the only assets remaining as the result of the passing of time.
Deputy O'Sullivan also asked a question in respect to officers' gratuities. I would much prefer if the Deputy had raised that with me in private or by letter. We do not force any officer who is in danger of death to resign, but when we know that an officer is in grave danger of death, when it is known that he is beyond recovery his colleagues naturally hope to do the best they can for his relatives who will be left behind. For that reason, they endeavour to secure the individual's retirement from the Army. A gratuity would not be payable if the man died while he was still serving, but as a result of his retirement, the widow inherits the amount in question. However, I think it is an objectionable way of dealing with a rather delicate subject, and I hope in the near future to bring in a measure to the House which will eliminate the necessity of having to deal with that particularly delicate matter in that fashion.
I do not think that Deputy Mulcahy was doing any service to the officers to whom he referred when he raised the matter of their retirement in the near future. Most of these men have been held for quite a number of years over their normal period of service, mainly as a result of the emergency. The Deputy must be aware of the fact that there is a retiring age in the Army and that when that retiring age is reached the officer retires automatically and the Minister has nothing to do with it.
General Mulcahy General Mulcahy
General Mulcahy: I suggest that it is fixed ridiculously by regulation when you take into consideration the circumstances of this country.
Mr. Traynor Mr. Traynor
Mr. Traynor: I am dealing with the regulations and with the realities of the situation.
General Mulcahy General Mulcahy
General Mulcahy: I am dealing with the realities of the situation so far as these men and their families are concerned.
Mr. Traynor Mr. Traynor
Mr. Traynor: The regulations make it clear to the officer that on a particular day his services will be terminated,  with honour to himself, as a result of having served through the number of years for which he contracted to serve. The officer is entitled to a generous gratuity, and entitled to a reasonably generous pension. He is not being thrown out, as the Deputy would seem to suggest, in a manner that leaves him almost destitute. I may say that if there is anything that either I or the Government can do for any of these officers, we are quite prepared to do it in respect of finding employment for them. We have already been able to do that in the case of quite a large number of officers, and we are prepared, as far as lies within our power, to continue to do that, but, of course, there is a limit to that and we have to work within that limit.
I think, Sir, that I have dealt with most of the matters which have been raised during the debate, and I do not think it is necessary for me to deal with some of the other questions that arose here. Certain points were raised, such as the points raised by Deputy Briscoe, with which I do not intend to deal. If the Deputy can produce evidence in support of the statements that he made here, I am quite prepared to have these matters investigated, just as I am quite prepared to have matters investigated for any Deputy in the House, so far as that is concerned, but I am not prepared to deal with mere innuendoes. I want to deal with facts, so far as the facts can be produced.
Mr. Cosgrave Mr. Cosgrave
Mr. Cosgrave: Can the Minister say what is his decision on the question of the pay due to members of the Army Medical Service?
Mr. Traynor Mr. Traynor
Mr. Traynor: The decision of the court has been honoured, and that is as far as we have gone up to the present time.
Mr. Cosgrave Mr. Cosgrave
Mr. Cosgrave: That is in connection with a particular case that was taken to court?
Mr. Traynor Mr. Traynor
Mr. Traynor: The case of Fitzpatrick v. the Minister for Defence.
Mr. Cosgrave Mr. Cosgrave
Mr. Cosgrave: What about the other cases?
Mr. Traynor Mr. Traynor
 Mr. Traynor: We are not going to deal with these now.
Mr. Cosgrave Mr. Cosgrave
Mr. Cosgrave: In other words, the Minister will not pay them?
Mr. Traynor Mr. Traynor
Mr. Traynor: I shall not deal with that matter any further than I have dealt with it already.
General Mulcahy General Mulcahy
General Mulcahy: The Minister said he was making certain proposals with regard to increasing the pay of men in the Army. Is he making proposals to increase the pay of officers in the Army also?
Mr. Traynor Mr. Traynor
Mr. Traynor: Yes, that is so.
General Mulcahy General Mulcahy
General Mulcahy: In connection with the new force, Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil, will the Minister tell us what is meant by saying that individual members of that force will only be asked to give 48 hours' attendance during the year? Do we understand from that that there will be no weekly parades, or even a number of weekly parades, to which the men can go if they want training? Will he also say what equipment will be provided for the artillery section, the signalling section, and the other technical sections of that force? What headquarters will be provided for them, and to what groups or battalions will they be assigned?
Mr. Traynor Mr. Traynor
Mr. Traynor: The organisation of the force will be almost identical with the organisation in previous years. It may be necessary, as a result of reductions in the large numbers that we had previously, to have them organised in battalions instead of districts. They will be formed in battalion units in the future, and everything will be based on Army organisation. Where, in the past, units were known as district units, in future they will be known as battalion units. As far as it is possible to provide halls for these men, a sum of money is allotted in the Estimate for paying the rent of halls. There will be the Volunteer halls which are available and which will be placed at their disposal, and there will also be the halls which they have been using up to the present and which, if they are still available, will be paid for and used. The equipment with which they were  provided in the past will be still available. Units of An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil which will be going on artillery practice will do their practice with the Army artillery weapons and, probably, at the Army headquarters of the artillery units. I think that covers the series of questions the Deputy addressed to me.
General Mulcahy General Mulcahy
General Mulcahy: Does the Minister intend to issue a definite written instruction informing the members of the force, by the 1st April, on these matters?
Mr. Traynor Mr. Traynor
Mr. Traynor: That has all been done already.
General Mulcahy General Mulcahy
General Mulcahy: Well, they do not know it.
Mr. Traynor Mr. Traynor
Mr. Traynor: They do not know what?
General Mulcahy General Mulcahy
General Mulcahy: They seem to have no idea as to what type of parade they will be expected to attend, what type of training will be given, where the training will be carried out, and the way in which they will be equipped; and I suggest that the Minister's statement to-night, to the effect that they will only be required to attend for 48 hours in the year, will only tend to make things more complicated.
Mr. Traynor Mr. Traynor
Mr. Traynor: I do not think so. The 48 hours is the minimum required, and not the maximum, and I am sure that a great number of these men will be quite prepared to go out and do much more than is asked for in the period of time. The minimum period that is asked for is 48 hours, but that is in addition to the period they will be asked to attend in camp.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle Eamonn O'Neill
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The motion, in the name of Deputy Thomas F. O'Higgins, is that the Estimate be referred back for reconsideration. I am putting that question.
Question put: “That the Estimate be referred back for reconsideration.”
The Committee divided:—Tá, 23; Níl, 71.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Bennett and McMenamin; Níl: Deputies Kissane and Kennedy.
Question declared negatived.
Vote put and agreed to.
Dáil Éireann 100 Committee on Finance. Vote 63—Army.