Thursday, 12 November 1970
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. Desmond: asked the Minister for Defence if, further to his reply of 5th November, 1970, to Question No. 88 seeking information concerning the transfer of guns and ammunition on a certain date to Dundalk by the former Minister for Defence, he will elaborate on the basis of his reply that it is a long-standing practice that, in the interests of security, information is not given about movements and locations of defensive equipment, more particularly in view of the statements made by the former Minister during the recent arms trial.
Mr. Cronin: The long-standing practice referred to by the Deputy is based on the fact that it would not be in the interests of security to disclose  to unauthorised persons any information relating to the locations at which arms and ammunition are kept or the quantities of such equipment held at specific locations. The particular disclosure made by my predecessor as a witness in the recent arms trial did not signify any change in the general practice.
Mr. Desmond: Self-consciously aware of the grin on Deputy Haughey's face, may I put a supplementary question to the Minister? Aware of the fact that information was given notwithstanding the long-standing practice not to disclose information, may I ask the Minister in relation to this incident when the Taoiseach was informed that such a transference of Army equipment took place? I asked that question last week and the Minister said that in the interests of security the information could not be given. I am asking the Minister again could be now give the information?
Mr. Desmond: I regard the Minister's reply, if I may say so as an individual, as impudent. The Minister is asked when the Taoiseach was informed of such a major movement of Army equipment from the Dublin area to Dundalk. When did the Minister's predecessor inform him of that transference of equipment? It is public knowledge and the Minister cannot hide under a cloak of security.
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