HC Deb 02 March 1939 vol 344 cc1409-10
1. Mr. Gallacher

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that discrimination is exercised by employers in the London area and other parts of the country against Irishmen leading to their dismissal, as a result of recent happenings which are at present being investigated by the courts; and will he take steps to discourage such discrimination where it is brought to his notice?

The Minister of Labour (Mr. Ernest Brown)

I have no information that such discrimination is being exercised.

Mr. Gallacher

Is the Minister not aware that there are very many cases of Irish people being harried, and in some cases dismissed from employment, as a result of the unnecessary talk against the Irish in general, because of the trouble that has been created by a few Irishmen in particular, and will he take measures to see that every effort is made to prevent any discrimination against Irishmen in general?

Mr. Brown

I have told the hon. Member that I have no information that such discrimination is being practised and if he has any evidence on the subject, apart from mere assertion, I shall be glad to look into it.

Mr. Anstruther-Gray

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that there are many good Englishmen and good Scotsmen without a job in this country to-day?

Sir Frank Sanderson

While it would be grossly unfair to suggest that employers have any prejudice against Irishmen, is it not a fact that as a result of recent happenings employers must inevitably exercise caution when engaging more Irishmen for the first time; and in view of this does not the right hon. Gentleman consider that any Irishmen who may be responsible for these happenings are doing a gross disservice to their fellow countrymen?

Mr. Pilkington

Can my right hon. Friend ascertain how many people who are not citizens of this country are on the unemployment registers?

Mr. Brown

That would be a very difficult thing to do, because from the start of unemployment insurance the nationality of individuals has never been declared in terms of whether they are Englishmen, Scotsmen, Welshmen or Irishmen.

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