Military Stores.

Oral Answers to Questions — Ireland. – in the House of Commons on 27th February 1922.

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Photo of Mr Henry Cautley Mr Henry Cautley , East Grinstead

9.

asked the President of the Board of Trade how much of the stores and property under the charge of the Disposal Board in Ireland has been looted or lost in the last six months; what is the value of that which is left; under whose care is it; and what steps are being taken to protect it for the British taxpayer?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

With the exception of two vacant aerodromes and a small quantity of unserviceable stores, the Disposal Board had no property in Ireland under its charge until 17th January last, when the evacuation of the Army began; since that date a certain amount of looting has taken place, but the value of the stores so lost has been very small. It is not possible to state at present what is the total value of the property which will become surplus to requirements on the completion of evacuation. In reply to the last part of the question all property not remaining in the custody of the Army or the Police is handed over as evacuation proceeds for safe custody to the Provisional Government.

Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

Is not the Irish Republican Army under the sole control of Southern Ireland, and what safe custody is the right hon. Gentleman going to secure for the property?

Photo of Viscount  Curzon Viscount Curzon , Battersea South

Are we to understand the right hon. Gentleman to say that he is handing over stores for safe custody to the Irish Provisional Government and the Irish Republican Army?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

Yes, Sir. Handing over stores, but not munitions of war— stores and Government property as the troops have withdrawn from the country —to the Irish Provisional Government. I do not know what other course the hon. and gallant Gentleman would suggest.

Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

What means have the Provisional Government for protecting these stores?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

The so-called Irish Republican Army is under the orders of the Provisional Government and is obeying the orders of that Government.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

In almost every county in Ireland they are strictly obeying the orders of that Government. The Minister of Defence of Dail Eireann is also the Minister of Defence of the Provisional Government, and it is through him that authority is exercised upon this Army.