§ MR. CONOR O'KELLY (Mayo, N.)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that the men of the 3rd Battalion Connaught Rangers, before being sent from Gravesend to Castlebar to be disbanded, were taken to a clothing establishment in the former place to purchase clothes by the quartermaster of the battalion, and that the amounts of the purchases were stopped from the bounty to which the men were entitled. Whether he will state the arrangement made between the Gravesend clothier and the quartermaster; whether he is aware that the men have been complaining of the manner in which they were treated in their purchases; whether there is any precedent*See Debates [Fourth Series], Vol. xcv., page 1057; Vol. xcvi., page 75.81 for the proceeding, and can he explain why the men were not allowed to purchase the clothing wherever they wished.
I am not aware of the matters alluded to. On embodiment militiamen can dispose of their plain clothes or arrange for their safe custody, and on disembodiment can either take plain clothes or 13s. 6d. in lieu; in the latter case they are absolutely free to make their own arrangements as to purchasing plain clothes. If any man of this corps has any complaint to make he should refer it to the local military authorities.
No, Sir; this is a question entirely in the discretion of the general officer commanding, and if the men have any complaints I am certain they will be looked carefully into by officers on the spot.