Free State Army.

Oral Answers to Questions — Ireland. – in the House of Commons on 11th May 1922.

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Photo of Mr Rupert Gwynne Mr Rupert Gwynne , Eastbourne

13.

asked the Chief Secretary, in view of the fact that by the Act for the ratification of the Treaty the number of soldiers that can be raised by the Provisional Government is fixed in proportion to those employed by the Imperial Government, what steps have been taken by His Majesty's Government to ensure that this provision shall be observed; whether he will state what is the number of men at present on the strength of the Free State Army; and if he can say what is the form of oath taken by such recruits?

Photo of Mr Hamar Greenwood Mr Hamar Greenwood , Sunderland

Strictly speaking, this question cannot arise under the Treaty until the Free State has been established, but so far as the forces of the Provisional Government are concerned, His Majesty's Government are satisfied that the intention of the Treaty has not been departed from.

Photo of Mr Rupert Gwynne Mr Rupert Gwynne , Eastbourne

Will the right hon. Gentleman answer the last two parts of any question, as to the number of men at present on the strength of the Free State Army and what form of oath is taken by these recruits?

Photo of Mr Hamar Greenwood Mr Hamar Greenwood , Sunderland

I have said that I have no information in my possession as to the number of men at present on the strength of the Free State Army, and I do not know the form of oath taken by the recruits. I will endeavour to get this information, and as to the number of men at present on the strength of the Free State Army, I doubt very much whether it is in the public interest of the Provisional Government to make that statement of fact, even if it were in my possession.

Photo of Mr Rupert Gwynne Mr Rupert Gwynne , Eastbourne

Will the right hon. Gentleman say how he arrives at the conclusion that the Free State are keeping within the limits actually imposed with regard to the numbers if he does not know the numbers?

Photo of Sir John Butcher Sir John Butcher , City of York

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether it is not essential that the forces which are to be raised in Ireland should take some form of oath which would make them loyal to the King?

Photo of Mr John Gretton Mr John Gretton , Burton

Will the right hon. Gentleman take steps to ascertain what are the numbers of the Free State Army and inform the House when he has ascertained the numbers, and will he also say for what reasons those numbers should not be communicated to the House?

Photo of Mr Hamar Greenwood Mr Hamar Greenwood , Sunderland

I cannot promise to answer the question as my hon. and gallant Friend has put it, but I will see what answer I can give to the two last parts of the question put by the hon Member for Eastbourne (Mr. Gwynne) on another date.

Photo of Mr Rupert Gwynne Mr Rupert Gwynne , Eastbourne

I will put the question down again for Monday.

Photo of Mr Henry Croft Mr Henry Croft , Bournemouth

Will the right hon. Gentleman in the meantime consider if he can give the numbers of the other army in Ireland at the same time?