§ 77. Mr. Lambert
asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether he is aware that the number of passengers into Great Britain from the Irish Free State during the past five years exceeded the outflow of passengers by over 70,000; whether he has information how many propose to settle in Great Britain; and what will be the status of citizens of the Irish Free State when the proposed revision of the Constitution approved by the recent plebiscite is enacted in the Irish Free State?
§ The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs (Mr. Malcolm MacDonald)
The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. No information is available regarding the intentions of the persons concerned as to settling in this country, but judging from experience it would appear that many of them intend after a period in this country to return to the Irish Free State. As regards the last part of the question, the proposed revision of the Constitution had a majority at the recent plebiscite, but it has not yet come into force. In the present circumstances it would be premature for me to make any statement, but I may observe that the Constitution does not contain any new provision affecting the status of citizens of the Irish Free State.
§ Mr. Lambert
As Ireland is gradually getting poorer and the influx of Irishmen from the Irish Free State into this country is greater, should not steps be taken in order to ascertain the situation?
§ Mr. MacDonald
I think the House knows that a departmental inquiry into immigration from the Irish Free State is taking place now. Until that inquiry is completed I can make no further statement on the matter.
§ Mr. MacDonald
I am not sure whether the committee will present a formal report. They will report to me the result of their inquiry, and as soon as I have heard what the committee or the officials have got to say, I shall consider the matter and shall be perfectly prepared to answer questions in the House on it. I cannot say when that inquiry will have been completed.