§ MR. W. FIELD (Dublin, St. Patrick)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether, in the tenders for Curragh contract of meat supply, the tendered price for native live stock was less than that tendered for the supply of foreign dead meat?
In November last, a tender was accepted for the supply to Curragh Camp, until the end of May next, of live cattle and sheep; but their place of origin was not specified. No offer for foreign dead meat only was received.
§ MR. MACARTNEY
A portion of the salt pork supplied to the Navy is Danish. In contracts recently concluded, orders for 275,000 lbs. to the value of £5,852 were placed with Danish firms, while orders for 1,075,000 lbs to the value of £25,447 were entrusted to Irish curers. As the prices quoted for Danish pork were lower than for Irish, the above distribution involves an additional cost to the Navy of about £2,150. I may add that in 1893, when the lowest tenders were accepted, 489,000 lbs. were ordered from Denmark and 409,500 from Ireland, and that in 1894 the orders were distributed in the proportion of two-thirds to Ireland one-third to Denmark, at an additional cost of about £360.
§ MR. FIELD
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War, whether he is aware that forms of the tenders were lately changed for the meat supply to the troops in Dublin; whether the relative prices of home and foreign meat warranted any alteration; whether the military authorities and the soldiers preferred native meat; whether the existing contract permits 60 per cent. of the total supply to be frozen meat; whether all the mutton at present supplied is frozen; and, whether any preference is given to imported foreign meat?
The forms of tender were changed to meet the alteration in the system of supply caused by the substitution, as explained 232 on the 28th March 1895, of contracts for dead meat for meat killed in military abattoirs. The change was made for military reasons; but its financial results appear to be satisfactory. Comparison cannot be made between the prices of home and foreign meat, as the contract is for a mixed supply. The General Officer Commanding in Dublin has reported that the meat at present supplied is satisfactory in quality. The limit of the supply of frozen mutton and refrigerated beef together is 60 per cent. of the total weekly issue; but during August and September refrigerated beef is not issued at all. In any week the frozen mutton must not exceed one-seventh part of the whole meat issue. Mutton is only issued once a week; and at present the whole supply of mutton at Dublin is frozen. Sixteen per cent, of the beef supplied at Dublin is refrigerated. The whole question, however, of the supply of meat to the troops in Ireland is under consideration.
I am not aware that any complaint was made before the change; but since then the Commander-in-Chief has expressed approval of the meat supplied.