asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he can state the extent to which gun-running from abroad is now being carried on in Irish waters; how many ships are known to have landed cargoes; how many have been detected; and what is the general policy of the Government in the matter?
I have no reason to suppose that gun-running from abroad is being carried on in Irish waters to any appreciable extent; nor so far as I am aware, has any ship successfully attempted to land a cargo of arms. One vessel carrying ammunition has been intercepted and her cargo confiscated. A second suspected vessel was also intercepted, but no arms were found on hoard her. In reply to the last part of the question, I can assure the hon. Member that the policy of His Majesty's Government has been, and will continue to be, to prevent by all possible means the acquisition of munitions of war by persons or parties known to be acting in defiance of lawful authority.
Is it a fact that factories have already been set up for the manufacture of ammunition, and what steps are being taken to prevent necessary materials being landed for that purpose?
It is very difficult to know from a question like that what is the position of the hon. and gallant Member in these matters. We are passing through a very difficult time, which is not comparable to any existing situation in any of our great Dominions. The Provisional Government is in a period of transition, and very exceptional and anomalous procedure is involved in that period.