HC Deb 30 September 1942 vol 383 cc766-8
47. Major Sir Ronald Ross

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of recent attacks by armed parties from neutral territory and the ease with which enemy agents can at present get information as to British and United States Forces in Northern Ireland, an effective boundary under military control will now be established between the United Kingdom and neutral land frontiers; and whether the censorship and control of travel at present in force between two portions of the United Kingdom will be transferred to traffic and mail between the United Kingdom and neutral territory?

The Prime Minister

The primary responsibility for dealing with criminal outrages, including those in which the criminals use arms, rests on the civil authorities, who can call for the assistance of the military authorities if need arises. Appropriate arrangements have been made in Northern Ireland for the provision of such assistance if required. I understand the Government of Northern Ireland are satisfied that the situation is well in hand. As regards control of the land boundary careful examination has shown that such a scheme as my hon. and gallant Friend suggests would not be the best method of preventing leakage of information. For this purpose other measures are taken which I am advised are more appropriate and effective. It would not be practicable to adopt the proposal in the last part of the Question to dispense with the existing control over traffic and communications from Great Britain.

Sir R. Ross

Is my right hon. Friend not aware that the responsibility for the defence of the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland, from attack from without is an Imperial responsibility of the Government of the United Kingdom, that these attacks were from without, and that at the present time there is no serious attempt made to prevent information from Northern Ireland, even as to the passage of convoys which are visible from the coast of Antrim, from going down to organised enemy organisations in Eire?

The Prime Minister

I have never pretended to regard the situation as satisfactory, but the arrangements made go a considerable way to mitigate the danger.

Professor Savory

How long are His Majesty's Government going to tolerate the murder of our constables on the border of Eire, as happened at Clady, County Tyrone, on 5th September? Will not my right hon. Friend give vent to his righteous and well-expressed indignation?

The Prime Minister

I see no reason to withdraw my trust from the regular processes of British justice.