HC Deb 21 March 1922 vol 152 cc208-9
21. Sir J. BUTCHER

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies why the forces at the disposal of the Provisional Government for the preservation of law and order in Southern Ireland are still described as the Irish Republican Army; and whether he will suggest to the Provisional Government that this description of the forces employed by them for keeping order should be discontinued at the earliest possible moment?


I must refer the hon. and learned Member to my replies to previous questions on this subject, more particularly to my reply to a supplementary question addressed to me by him on the 14th February. The force known as the Irish Republican Army and the force which is being organised by the Provisional Government for the preservation of law and order are, as I have previously explained, not identical; but the Provisional Government, as I understand, from time to time use the so-called Irish Republican Army, in areas where this force acknowledges their authority, to assist them. The latter part of the question does not arise.


Does my right hon. Friend not think that it is extremely undesirable that a Government that is not a Republican Government should utilise forces which describe themselves as Republican?


No, Sir; I think that in all the difficult circumstances prevailing in Ireland the Provisional Government are doing their best.