HC Deb 24 April 1941 vol 371 cc233-5
3. Mr. Rhys Davies

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that unemployed artisans in Northern Ireland, who were informed some time ago that they would lose their unemployment benefit if they refused to undertake Government work in Lancashire, have been so employed in that county for some months-past; that they found it impossible, though their employers were willing, to visit their homes during Easter; that they were informed by the passport authorities that they would not be allowed to leave this country for another six months; and will he take steps to remedy this?

Mr. Bevin

I am informed by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary that, for reasons of security, the restrictions in force on travel between Great Britain and Ireland do not allow of persons employed in Great Britain making temporary visits to their homes more often than once in six months.

Mr. Davies

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, since I put down this Question, Belfast has been very badly bombed, and that these people are very disturbed about their families there? Is he aware that they were told by the Home Office that they could not visit Ireland until six months after the date of their application which makes it nearly 12 months all told?

Mr. Bevin

I will take this matter up with my right hon. Friend, especially in view of the association of this point with the bombing of Northern Ireland.

26. Mr. Frankel

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that the restriction of travelling permits to Ireland to persons desirous of visiting their parents is causing inconvenience and hardship; that a nursing sister employed by the London County Council for over 20 years, who has been carrying on her work in recent emergencies, has been refused a permit to visit her brother in Ireland; whether this restriction will be reconsidered; and whether, in the case of persons employed in this country, he will consider granting travel permits upon the recommendation of the employing authority?

Mr. H. Morrison

I am aware that the restrictions on travel between this country and Ireland involve inconvenience and hardship, but these restrictions have recently been relaxed so as to enable persons to visit their homes in either country once in every period of six months. This relaxation enables parents to visit their children and wives to visit their husbands, but I cannot see my way to extending this relaxation in respect of brothers and sisters, unless the applicant is a minor whose home is with the relative he wishes to visit. As regards the last part of the Question, I should not feel able to grant an exit permit to a person employed in this country on the recommendation of the employing authority unless the person in question qualified for an exit permit under the Regulations.

Mr. Rhys Davies

Would my right hon. Friend look into the matter again, because his reply does not tally with the facts as submitted to me. He said that people were entitled to proceed to Ireland once in six months to visit their relatives, whereas a notice issued from the Passport Office tells the people who have come to work here from Northern Ireland that they cannot go back until another six months have elapsed, when they have been working here for several months already?

Mr. Morrison

I should not have thought that was so, but if my hon. Friend will let me have particulars, I shall be glad to look into them. My information is as I have stated.