Dail debate concerning Spanish Civil War

15th Feb. 1939.

That a Supplementary sum not exceeding £1,745 be granted to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending 31st March, 1939, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of the Minister for External Affairs, and of certain Services administered by that Office (No. 16 of 1924).

This Supplementary Estimate calls for provision being made under four new sub-heads. I propose to deal with these in order.

Sub-head A (7)—Expenses of withdrawal of volunteers of Irish nationality from Spain. The sum of £400 provided for under sub-head A (7) is required to meet the cost of withdrawing a number of volunteers of Irish nationality from Spain, in accordance with arrangements made, towards the end of last year, by the Non-Intervention Committee. As a member of the Non - Intervention Committee, we agreed to the withdrawal plan drawn up by the committee last July. The plan embodied a scheme whereby combatants of other than Spanish nationality engaged on one side or the other in the Spanish civil conflict would be gradually withdrawn from Spain. It was found impossible to put the withdrawal plan into operation in the exact form in which it had been approved by the committee; but, when a limited arrangement on similar lines was put into operation at the end of last year, we agreed to fall in with it so far as volunteers of Irish nationality who had left this country for Spain after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, were concerned. Under this arrangement, we became responsible for the cost of transferring the men concerned from the Spanish frontier to this country. The cost is estimated at about £10 per man. So far, 18 volunteers have been returned to this country under the scheme, and the total number to be transferred is not expected to exceed 30.

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