§ 12. Colonel ASHLEY
asked why so many lady drivers of Government vehicles are retained in the public service, especially in Dublin and the central districts of Ireland, in view of the fact that large numbers of ex-Service men qualified to drive motor vehicles are unemployed in those districts, some of the above having worked as civilian motor drivers and mechanics before the outbreak of War, and others have been trained since 1914 in the Mechanical Transport Army Service Corps?
As I have already explained in answer to recent questions, it is essential that certain services should 1073 be performed by enlisted or properly enrolled personnel; the number of women drivers employed is being gradually reduced as enlisted men become available to take their places. Every effort has been made to induce ex-Service motor drivers to re-enlist for short periods. Wherever it is possible to employ civilians for driving War Department motor vehicles preference is given to ex-Service men.
§ Colonel ASHLEY
Does the term "general service" mean service at home for a short period or general service any where for a considerable period?
§ Colonel ASHLEY
Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that you can get any number of ex-Service men for service at home for a short time, but you will not get many to take service abroad for general service?
§ Mr. MacVEAGH
Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware of the fact that more than four times the number of Government vehicles than are necessary are being used in Dublin at the present day?
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
Is he aware that one of the local pensions committees in Midlothian has communicated with the War Office drawing their attention to the fact that numbers of disabled soldiers are offering their services as motor drivers, while at the same time the War Office are advertising for fresh women drivers, and that these men have received no satisfactory answer? Will the hon. and gallant Gentleman take up this specific definite case brought to the notice of the War Office, and see if it cannot be definitely dealt with?
I entirely agree with my right hon. Friend. The reduction of women classes in all branches of the Ser vice is going on extremely rapidly, and I cannot understand why the advertisements are out.
§ Lieut.-Colonel ARCHER-SHEE
Why are women being trained now as motor drivers? Instead of reducing the number they are increasing them.