§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL (Donegal, S.)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War on what grounds were the contracts for the supply of forage for all military stations in the Belfast district, including Belfast, Athlone, Dundalk, and Belturbet, given to one Belfast company, Cullen, Allen & Co., at prices amounting in some cases to 33 per cent. higher than various traders who had each of them at different times discharged forage contracts with satisfaction and had tendered for these contracts; whether the fact of these tenders at lower quotations than the quotations of Cullen, Allen & Co., was reported to and known to the War Office authorities when those authorities gave their sanction and approval to these contracts; whether, although the business arising from the Belfast contracts is conducted by the staff of Messrs. Cullen & Allen, the work of the other contracts has been intrusted by that firm to agents, some of whom had tendered for these contracts to the military authorities at Belfast, and what explanation, if any, has the War Office to offer of this transaction.
§ MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
In two cases this firm made the lowest tender, and in the two other cases the lowest tenderers were unsatisfactory, and Cullen, Allen & Co., who were the lowest satisfactory tenderers, were accepted. The reply to the second part of the Question is in the affirmative. As regards the last part of the Question, there is only one station at which one of the agents of this firm had himself been a tenderer, and for this station Messrs. Cullen, Allen & Co.'s tender was the lowest.