HC Deb 23 June 1943 vol 390 cc1139-40
17. Mr. Francis Watt

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport how many Allied ships have been lost in conveying cargoes to and from Eire; and how many British and Allied sailors have lost their lives in these endeavours?

Mr. Noel-Baker

I regret that statistics are not kept in a form which enables me to give my hon. Friend a precise answer to his Question, but, so far as I am aware, no United Kingdom or Allied ship has been lost while carrying a full cargo of goods either to or from Eire on an ocean voyage. I cannot say whether any goods ultimately destined for Eire were being carried in ships which have been lost on their voyages to this country.

18. Major Petherick

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport, what proportion of imports into, and exports from, Eire are carried in Allied and what proportion in Eire vessels?

20. Mr. Leslie

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport, whether steps will be taken to ensure that all imports and exports to and from Eire will be carried in Eire-owned or neutral vessels, so as to avoid the risks to British seamen?

Mr. Noel-Baker

I regret that precise statistics are not available, but I am able to state in general terms that a very high proportion of imports from overseas sources into Eire, and of such exports as are sent overseas from Eire, are already carried in ships on the Eire or on a neutral register. The trade between Great Britain and Eire is of mutual benefit to both countries, and the risks to British seamen which it involves are small.

Commander Sir Archibald Southby

Is it not a fact that Eire ships take advan- tage of the protection afforded by British convoys while ports in Eire are denied to His Majesty's ships?

Mr. Noel-Baker

I am afraid I cannot answer that, but if the hon. and gallant Member will address that Question to the Admiralty, I am sure they can.

Mr. Leslie

Does my hon. Friend appreciate the fact that so long as there is a German Embassy in Dublin there is great danger of spying on the movement of ships?

Mr. Noel-Baker

Yes, Sir, I am fully alive to that danger, but it is not in my power to end the German Embassy in Dublin.

Professor Savory

Can the hon. Gentleman state how much butter Eire is sending us in exchange for our best tea and our best coal?

Mr. Noel-Baker

I think that if my hon. Friend would be good enough to address that Question to the Ministry of Food, he would get an accurate answer.

Mr. Logan

Has there ever been any representation made to Eire to see whether we can have the German Embassy removed?

Mr. Noel-Baker

That is not a matter for me.