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Disbanded Soldiers

Volume 154: debated on Tuesday 30 May 1922

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asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the existing conditions in many parts of Ireland, he will grant to married non-commissioned officers and men of the Irish regiments which are being, or are about to be, disbanded, the same consideration as was extended to the Royal Irish Constabulary in the shape of a temporary separation allowance in cases where these individuals cannot at present safely return to their homes in Ireland?

I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to my reply yesterday to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for the Shettleston Division of Glasgow.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the answer he gave yesterday in no way answers the question I put now to him? What I ask now is why should disbanded soldiers who have to go back to Ireland be treated worse than the Constabulary?

I do not think my hon. and gallant Friend should say that they are treated worse. The answer I gave yesterday was to call attention to the Army Order under which those men get a bonus, and that is, I believe, a sufficient bonus, and as much as can be granted in the Service.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that they get the bonus whether they live in Ireland, Scotland, Wales or elsewhere? What I am asking is why, owing to the conditions in Ireland by which these men cannot go back to their homes, they should not be treated like ex-members of the Royal Irish Constabulary?

Will the right hon. Gentleman look again at the answer he gave yesterday? If he does, he will find that these cases are quite outside the terms of the reference to my Committee. I cannot deal with them at all.

The hon. and gallant Gentleman is, I think, not quite right in saying that these cases are outside the terms of reference to his Committee "if" there is financial need. It is because there may be financial need that the hon. and gallant Gentleman, who puts this question, asks for their better treatment—treatment better than is given under the Army Order.

Ts the right hon. Gentleman aware that under the terms of reference to my Committee I can only deal with refugees who have landed in Great Britain from Ireland? These men are not refugees who have landed in Great Britain from Ireland.

Owing to the answer of the right hon. Gentleman, I shall call attention to the matter on the Adjournment to-night.