§ 27. Mr. HEALY
asked the Secretary of State for War if he has received any Report from the General commanding in Northern Ireland, or if he will ask for any, as to the number of fully-armed men in the A, B, and C class, respectively, of the special constabulary in that area, the number of rifles, machine-guns, and other equipment they possess, which were allocated from military stores, and the number transferred from the late Royal Irish Constabulary Force?
§ Viscount CURZON
May I ask, Mr. Speaker, whether this is not entirely a matter for the Government of Northern Ireland, and, if it is, whether you will allow the question to be put?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
imagine that the question relates to the General commanding His Majesty's forces in Northern Ireland.
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Rhys Davies)
I have been asked to reply. Any question with regard to the numbers, organisation and equipment of Special Constabulary in Northern Ireland is not a matter for the Imperial Government, but for the Government of Northern Ireland, on whom Parliament has by the Government, of Ireland Act placed the responsibility for the maintenance of law and order. As regards the latter part of the question, I do not know what equipment is now in the possession of the Special Constabulary, but I may say that before December, 1922, ordnance stores to the value of over £600,000 were allocated by the War Office under a loan arrangement to the Government of Northern Ireland, and ordnance stores of the Royal Irish Constabulary to the value of about £170,000 were handed over.
§ Several Hon. Members rose—
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I must confess that I as misled by the use of the term "General commanding" at the beginning of the question, and I thought, therefore, that it referred to some Report which came to this Government. Apparently that was not so, and the matter cannot be pursued.