HC Deb 13 July 1922 vol 156 cc1430-1
19. Brigadier-General COLVIN

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in order to present undesirable persons travelling between Great Britain and Ireland, he will recommend as a temporary measure the institution of a rigid passport system between the two countries?


The question of the supervision of passenger traffic between Great Britain and Ireland has been recently discussed in detail with the chief officers of police concerned, and the result of the conference goes to show that measures can be taken at the ports of entry which will provide at far less cost and inconvenience as effective a safeguard of the interests of the community here as would not be secured by any system of passports which would be incompatible with the maintenance of a considerable volume of traffic between the two countries. The measures, which, for obvious reasons, I cannot describe in detail, are in operation, and their working is being carefully watched. It is considered that these measures are adequate to the existing situation, but, of course, if circumstances require it, they can and will be strengthened to any degree necessary, irrespective of the inconvenience which would result in the intercourse between the two islands.

Brigadier-General COLVIN

Will these measures be put into operation on both sides of the Channel?


These particular arrangements are, I understand, in operation on this side, and, of course, certain measures are taken also in Northern Ireland.


Before the right hon. Gentleman puts any measures of this kind into operation in Northern Ireland, will he consult the Northern Authorities?


I have no doubt that these matters are discussed between the police authorities on both sides of the Channel.


Is a careful watch kept at other ports besides those communicating with Ireland?


At the present time we are not establishing a general system of passports, but we may have to do so. It would cause immense inconvenience, but one has to balance a certain measure of risk against a very much larger measure of inconvenience.


What is the good of watching the ports if undesirable people can come over here?


The hon. and gallant Member had better put that question on the Paper.