Skip to main content

Munition Factories

Volume 154: debated on Tuesday 30 May 1922

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for the Colonics if ho is aware that there are several munition factories in Ireland, that these factories are in full work, and if he will inquire of the Provisional Government for what object these munition factories are producing munitions of war?

I should be obliged if my hon. Friend would put mc in possession of the data on which his question is based?

Will the right hon. Gentleman inquire from the Provisional Government why these munitions are being made? He has facilities for seeing representatives of the Provisional Government of Ireland and conferring with them. I gave notice of this question last night. Will he make it his business to inquire into the matter? It is a very important matter.

I would ask my hon. Friend that I should have the advantage of which he is possessed before I embark upon further inquiries.

Is it a new policy of the Government that hon. Members have got to give a Minister details, instead of the Government giving them information? I have got information, which I suggest is true, and I want him if ho can to deny it.

I have had certain information, I would like to add to that the information of my hon. Friend, which I am certain he will place at the disposal of the public.

Why are the people of Northern Ireland being provided with munitions by the Government of this country while they are denied to people in the South?

Has the right hon. Gentleman pressed the Provisional Government, since he has had my question, to give definite information on this matter?

The hon. Member knows that he brought the question to me, and I think it is the least that can be asked of him that he should offer his information.

On a point of Order. Is it not the business of Ministers to give information to the House rather than to expect to receive it? And is not this a perfectly legitimate question, the answer to which the right hon. Gentleman can get from some of the members of the Provisional Government who are over here?

The question is one of which I only got notice about half-an-hour before I came to the House. I have some knowledge of what is being done in this respect, but I am not in a position to make a full statement on the subject. It must be clearly understood that if munition factories are working in Dublin the Provisional Government are within their rights under the existing legislation in so doing, but I agree that the manufacture of munitions or the importation of munitions upon a great scale would be a matter which would have most seriously to be considered. If my hon. Friend has information of a graver kind than I have to put at my disposal he should put it at the service of the Government.

I am willing to give any information which I have to the right hon. Gentleman, but he must know that any information which I have might lead to the murder of people who gave this information as the Government have failed to give any protection to anybody over there who gives information.

Are we to understand that the right hon. Gentleman has information that certain munition factories are working in Ireland?

Yes, I have information, but nothing I have heard leads me to suppose that anything is going forward on a great or formidable scale. Up to the present we have trusted to the Provisional Government to maintain order in Southern Ireland, and we have been enabling them to secure a certain amount of equipment and munitions which could be used for that purpose. That is the position up to the present. It may be that a new position will supervene, and when it does I must inform the House.

Now that the Provisional Government are manufacturing their own munitions of war, is the right hon. Gentleman suspending supplying thorn with munitions of war on this side?

Yes. I have suspended all supplies from the date of the Collins—de Valera Agreement.

Why are the Provisional Government allowed to manufacture munitions, and what does the eight hon. Gentleman consider to be a reasonable scale?

We are obviously approaching one of these recurrent crises in the Irish situation with which this House is familiar. I will make a statement to the House to-morrow on the subject. I would far rather that it should be considered by the House then than by these fragmentary questions and answers.