HC Deb 17 June 1881 vol 262 cc771-2

asked severally the Secretary of State for War, the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and the Postmaster General, Whether it is true that, within recent time, the contracts for Army clothing, clothing for the military prisons, barrack furniture, clothing for the Royal Irish Constabulary, soldiers' sea kits, Post Office and Telegraph clothing, and other supplies, formerly offered for public tender in Ireland, have been wholly, or for the most part, withdrawn from local Irish competition, and are now furnished from England; and, whether the several Ministers concerned will state to the House the reasons for which the injury involved in such withdrawals has been done to the Irish industries thereby affected?


Sir,the Question of the hon. Member appears to have been prompted, so far as the War Office is concerned, by a printed circular from some Dublin tradesman, which I and other hon. Members of Parliament received yesterday. I at once sent it to the proper officers of the War Department for consideration; and I must refer' the hon. Member to my answer yesterday to the hon. Member for Longford (Mr. Justin M'Carthy), from which he will have seen that I should be glad, consistently with the conditions of cost and good workmanship, to localize, contracts. I have no information as to the reasons which many years ago may have led to fewer contracts having been taken in Ireland.


said, that, with reference to his Department, sometime since it was arranged, with the approval of the Treasury, that the uniforms for the Postal Service should be supplied by the War Office, and consequently all the regulations were with that Department.


That is what I intended to express, and they are largely supplied from Limerick.


said, with regard to the Royal Irish Constabulary, that the existing arrangements had been made as much as 10 years ago. He believed that in one case an Irish firm had received the contract, and in another an English firm.

In reply to Mr. PARNELL,


said, he had already stated that at present the whole of the inspection of Army clothing took place in this country, and so far as Limerick work was concerned, he had heard of no objection.

In reply to Mr. M'COAN,


said, he understood the hon. Gentleman to ask him whether he saw any objection to all the clothing required for troops or other Departments in Ireland being exclusively obtained in Ireland. He should see the greatest possible objection to such a course. There were questions both of cost and good workmanship to be considered, and it would, therefore, be impossible to lay down the rule that clothing required in a particular district must be made in that district. Ireland was not the only part of the Kingdom to which such a rule would have to apply, but also Scotland, or Lancashire, or any other distinctive part of the country.


asked, whether the clothing obtained in Limerick cost less or more than that obtained in other places?

[No answer was given to the Question.]