I beg TO ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether he can state how many of the twenty vessels which are in the course of construction for the Royal Navy are being built in Ireland; how many of the thirty-three new vessels that are to he built in the coming financial year will he built in Ireland; how much of the £30,875,500 which it is proposed to spend on the Navy in the coming year will be paid by the people of Ireland; and how much of this sum will be spent in Ireland; and can he say what reasons, if any, exist why the Government should not establish a dockyard at Cork or Dublin in which some of these vessels could be built, in order that some of the money raised in Ireland should be spent there.
None of the twenty vessels which are in course of construction for the Royal Navy are being built in Ireland, nor will any of the thirty-three new vessels, referred to in the question as being in course of construction in the coming financial year, be built in that country. No tender for the construction of ships for the Royal Navy has been received from any Irish firm. A tender has been received from an Irish firm for the construction of machinery. This tender has been accepted, and the engines are now being manufactured. It is impossible at present to state how much of the funds voted for the Navy will be spent in Ireland during the forthcoming year. The Admiralty are not aware what proportion of the sum which may be voted for the Navy will be paid by the people of Ireland. The interests of the Navy do not at present require the establishment of a dockyard at Cork or Dublin; but I may remind the hon. Member that there is a Government dockyard at I Haulbowline, and that the establishment of this dockyard, and the expenditure in connection with it, have both been greatly increased during the past year.
Is any Irish firm entitled to tender for Government work?
Any firm which sends a requisition to be placed on the list of Government contractors has the application considered on its merits, and, if found suitable, is invited to tender.