Munitions and Stores.

Oral Answers to Questions — Irish Free State. – in the House of Commons on 10th July 1923.

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Photo of Mr John Gretton Mr John Gretton , Burton

28.

asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office if his Department knows the value of the arms, equipment, and stores of all kinds, and also of buildings and land, handed over to the Irish Free State Government and the Irish Provisional Government by the War Office; and will he state what was the total sum of the value to date?

Photo of Mr Rupert Gwynne Mr Rupert Gwynne , Eastbourne

I am not yet in a position to furnish the figures, but I hope they will be available in time for inclusion in the White Paper upon the Financial Relations between the British and Free State Governments, which the Treasury have undertaken to present this Session.

Photo of Mr John Gretton Mr John Gretton , Burton

Why is the hon. Gentleman not in a position to give the figures?

Photo of Mr Rupert Gwynne Mr Rupert Gwynne , Eastbourne

Our information is not complete by any means.

Photo of Mr John Gretton Mr John Gretton , Burton

Are we to understand that the War Office handed over valuable property to the Free State before it was valued?

Photo of Mr Rupert Gwynne Mr Rupert Gwynne , Eastbourne

I understand that is the case as regards a considerable amount of the property referred to.

Photo of Sir James Macpherson Sir James Macpherson , Ross and Cromarty

Was this property not valued at the time?

Photo of Mr Rupert Gwynne Mr Rupert Gwynne , Eastbourne

If the right hon. Gentleman is referring to arms and ammunition sent from this country, I understand it was obtained through the Disposal Board.

Photo of Sir Henry Craik Sir Henry Craik , Combined Scottish Universities

Why was the Disposal Board used as an agency for handing over these stores? Is not the function of the Disposal Board to dispose of these assets for the advantage of the nation and not to hand them over?

Photo of Mr Rupert Gwynne Mr Rupert Gwynne , Eastbourne

The right hon. Gentleman should address that question to the Treasury, who are responsible for the Disposal Board. I may add that as the Public Accounts Committee are now inquiring into the matter, it is not desirable to raise the question in the House at present.