Free State Army.

Oral Answers to Questions — Ireland. – in the House of Commons on 13th July 1922.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Viscount  Wolmer Viscount Wolmer , Aldershot

23.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what are the numbers of the army that the Irish Free State is entitled to maintain under the terms of the Treaty; and what is the number of troops the Irish Free State Government are now engaged in raising?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

In regard to the first part of the question, I would refer the Noble Lord to Article 8 of the Articles of Agreement for the Treaty which is published as a Schedule to the Irish Free State (Agreement) Act, 1922. I have no exact information as to the number of men who are being enrolled temporarily to meet the present emergency; but I would point out that the Irish Free State, like any other self-governing State, is entitled to call upon the whole of her manhood to assist in quelling an armed rebellion. The number of rifles in the possession of the Provisional Government are still well within the limits of the force contemplated under the Treaty.

Photo of Viscount  Wolmer Viscount Wolmer , Aldershot

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware the Treaty does not state the actual numbers of the Army of the Irish Free State, but only the proportion?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

I am perfectly well aware of that, as I took part in a Debate on the subject which lasted several hours, and I say the number of rifles in the possession of the Provisional Government is well within the limits of the view which we took as to what must be permitted under the Treaty.

Photo of Viscount  Wolmer Viscount Wolmer , Aldershot

Will the right hon. Gentleman answer the first part of the question, which asks what are the numbers of the Army which the Irish Free State is entitled to maintain? On the Government's interpretation of the Treaty, what was the actual number arrived at?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

That matter was very fully discussed when the Irish Free State Bill was going through, and if the Noble Lord would read up that Debate he would get a great deal of information on the subject out of it. As to what was considered a fair interpretation of the limit in this respect, it was stated on that occasion that between 30,000 and 40,000 men would be a fair interpretation.

Photo of Mr George Lambert Mr George Lambert , South Molton

Is it not desirable that the British Government should afford every support to the Provisional Government in quelling this rebellion?

Photo of Mr Thomas Adair Mr Thomas Adair , Glasgow Shettleston

I wish to ask the Prime Minister whether the raising of this unlimited army in Ireland is not a grave menace to this country?