Free State Army.

Oral Answers to Questions — Ireland. – in the House of Commons on 18th May 1922.

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Mr. G WYNNE:

5.

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland, 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

As the House, was informed last Thursday, if and when, as a result of the elections shortly to be held, the Free State is established in Ireland, the provisions of Article 8 of the Treaty will come into force, and their strict observance will be an object of legitimate inquiry by His Majesty's Government. Meanwhile, as the House is fully aware, the position is one of great difficulty. His Majesty's Government are quite satisfied that the forces at the disposal of the Provisional Government are within the proportion contemplated by the Treaty, but it would not be fair to the Provisional Govern-men for me to give a more definite reply to this question in the present circumstances. I am informed that no oath is taken by recruits.

Photo of Mr Rupert Gwynne Mr Rupert Gwynne , Eastbourne

Will the right hon. Gentleman make special inquiries as to whether the oath is the same as that which was taken by the Irish Republican Army?

Photo of Mr Hamar Greenwood Mr Hamar Greenwood , Sunderland

I have done that. Since this question was put on the Paper I have been making inquiries and I am informed that no oath is taken by recruits.

Mr. G. MURRAY:

When will the elections take place, and will they be pushed on, in view of the conditions in Ireland at the present moment?

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

Perhaps the hon. Member will give notice of that question. It does not arise here.

Mr. MURRAY:

On a point of Order. It arises out of the right hon. Gentleman's reply.

Photo of Mr James Remnant Mr James Remnant , Holborn

Is an oath necessary in the case of the soldiers of the Free State?

Photo of Mr Hamar Greenwood Mr Hamar Greenwood , Sunderland

That is really not a question that should be asked of me.

Photo of Mr James Remnant Mr James Remnant , Holborn

Has not the right hon. Gentleman boasted several times in this House that he was responsible for all law and order in Ireland?

Photo of Mr Hamar Greenwood Mr Hamar Greenwood , Sunderland

No, Sir. I must disclaim, and the Government disclaims, any responsibility for law and order since the transfer of powers on 1st April last.