HC Deb 18 March 1942 vol 378 c1484
8. Dr. Little

asked the secretary of State for Air, whether, as the recently discharged Royal Air Force Security Police in Northern Ireland were engaged by the Air Ministry for the duration of the present emergency which still continues, he will either reinstate these men or find other suitable employment for them in some branch of the Air Ministry in Northern Ireland, as they and their dependants are suffering seriously through their discharge from a position which they understood on their enlistment was to be for the duration of the war?

Captain Balfour

While no assurance was given to these men on enlistment that they would continue to be employed for the duration of the emergency, and their engagements were terminated when their services were no longer required, I appreciate that some of them may have been placed in a difficult position. I am therefore reviewing all cases in which any undue hardship is alleged, with a view to finding alternative Air Ministry employment for them. In existing circumstances, however, it may not be possible to ensure that this is in Northern Ireland. I have so far received representations on behalf of several of the men concerned and will communicate with my hon. Friend when my inquiries are completed.

Dr. Little

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that when some of these men, on instructions from the Air Ministry, sought employment they were told by the officials that they knew nothing about these instructions? Will the right hon. Gentleman give an interview to the men and have a public inquiry into the whole business? There is strong feeling in Northern Ireland regarding the way in which they have been treated, and I ask him to do them justice.

Captain Balfour

If my hon. Friend will send me particulars of the circumstances where some of these men got confused replies on applying for employment, I will most certainly look into it. Just because we feel that there has been some indirect injustice, though not strictly injustice according to the law, my right hon. Friend and I are endeavouring to find alternative employment.