§ 39 and 40. Sir Ronald Ross
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) in view of the fact that the present suspension of exit permits to Northern Ireland is imposed for security reasons, why evacuees from Gibraltar are given preference over residents in Northern Ireland who are refused permits to go to their homes;
(2) whether residents in Northern Ireland, now situated in areas in England, subjected to air attack and not engaged in essential war work, will be granted exit permits to return to their homes.
§ 44. Rear-Admiral Beamish
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is now prepared to withdraw the restrictions on overseas travel and on travel between Great Britain and Ireland.
§ 50 and 51. Major Procter
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether he will reconsider his decision not to allow widows of Service men killed on active service to return to their homes in Ireland, in view of the suffering caused in cases of this kind;
(2) whether he will reconsider his decision not to allow Service wives, unless they come within the priority classes, to travel to Ireland to live with relations when their husbands go abroad, in view of the suffering caused in many instances.
§ Mr. H. Morrison
As the House knows, the restrictions on overseas travel, and on travel between Great Britain and Ireland, were imposed for military reasons, and I am advised that the time has not yet come when they could be withdrawn without prejudice to military operations. At the same time, His Majesty's Government are aware that these restrictions have imposed considerable hardship and inconvenience and, with a view to mitigating such hardship, I am prepared to consider applications for travel facilities in the following limited classes of cases. As regards overseas travel, I am prepared to consider applications from wives of persons permanently stationed overseas and persons returning to their homes within the Empire or Allied countries. As regards travel between Great Britain and Ireland, I am prepared to consider applications from persons who 1598 desire to visit their homes in either country as the case may be, and leave certificates may be issued for this purpose. Of course, in any case, an application will be refused if there is any security or other cogent objection to the proposed journey. It will in future be necessary for intending travellers between this country and Ireland to obtain a sailing ticket from the railway or shipping company before applying for an exit permit or a leave certificate.
§ Sir R. Ross
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman, if his grounds are those of security, whether Gibraltarian evacuees are considered to be more discreet than residents of Northern Ireland who are trying to get back to their homes?
§ Mr. Morrison
We had a problem in London, as my hon. and gallant Friend may know, in connection with the flying bomb, of housing all sorts of people, including workpeople who have been brought into London on housing repairs. The Northern Ireland Government very kindly and very patriotically agreed to receive the Gibraltarians—who will, in due course, go back to Gibraltar—in order to relieve the situation in London, and I am very grateful to the Northern Ireland Government for their help.
§ Sir R. Ross
Cannot the right hon. Gentleman be as sympathetic to the difficulties of Northern Ireland people trying to get back to their homes as he is to his own difficulties?