HC Deb 31 May 1945 vol 411 cc363-4
69. Mr. Tinker

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is aware of the many inquiries about travelling permits to Eire; and if he is now in a position to announce any modification of these restrictions.

Sir D. Somervell

Yes, Sir; but as an explanatory statement of the new arrangements is necessarily long, I will, with permission, circulate it in the Official Report.

Following is the statement:

From 11th June, any British subject normally resident in the United Kingdom will be at liberty to travel freely between Great Britain and Eire in the same way as between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. He will, however, have to produce at the port in Great Britain the identity document known as a Travel Permit Card issued either by the Passport and Permit Office in Great Britain or the Northern Ireland Permit Office in Belfast. The general conditions of travel will be the same as for travel to Northern Ireland, which my predecessor described in his reply to the hon. Member for County Antrim (Sir H. O'Neill) on 17th May.

It has also been decided to permit on and after 11th June the departure of citizens of Eire from this country for any part of Ireland on production of a travel permit card issued by the Eire authorities. Any such person who wishes to return to Great Britain after a temporary visit to Ireland of not more than one month will be able to obtain exemption at the port of departure from the requirement of a visa for the return journey if he satisfies the Immigration Officer that he is ordinarily resident in Great Britain or will be returning to resume approved employment, e.g., by producing a leave certificate from his employer authenticated by the Ministry of Labour and National Service.

It must be realised that there is still a considerable shortage of suitable shipping and it will be some time before normal facilities can be provided. Meanwhile, the issue of sailing tickets is necessary to ensure that the numbers travelling to the ports to embark do not exceed the capacity of the ships.

It is necessary for the present to retain the visa system for persons resident in Eire who seek to come to this country but certain modifications are being considered to facilitate travel by persons who have permanent connections with both sides of the Irish Channel.