HC Deb 15 June 1950 vol 476 cc521-2
6. Captain Orr

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations whether he has any statement to make on the circumstances in which the trawler "Lock Esk" was fired upon by Irish Republican fishermen off Malin Head on the night of 10th June.

Mr. Gordon-Walker

The skipper of the "Loch Esk" has stated that he was fishing at night off the coast of the Irish Republic near Inishtrahull Light in Donegal. While fishing there his vessel was fired upon from three small boats. The skipper was wounded in the thigh. The authorities in the Republic have stated that none of their fishery protection vessels was involved. The local police have questioned fishermen and arrested a man whom they have charged with causing grievous bodily harm to the skipper of the trawler. This man has been remanded on bail until 20th June. A request has been received from the police of the Irish Republic for statements to be obtained by our police from the skipper and members of the crew of the "Loch Esk." The House will not expect me to say more while the matter is sub judice in the Irish courts.

Sir Ronald Ross

Does not this case emphasise the importance of having British fishery protection vessels at places such as Inishtrahull, not only to protect British trawlers but to see that the regulations applying to trawlers are fulfilled in every detail?

Mr. Gordon-Walker

I think it will be difficult to comment on that without prejudging the issue in this case.

Professor Savory

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that no fishermen from Eire would ever be refused the right of fishing in either British or Northern Ireland waters? Why not, therefore, demand reciprocity?

Mr. Gordon-Walker

I think we must be careful not to assume the facts until they have been established. We only know them at present from the newspapers.

Sir Herbert Williams

On a point of order. We know that we are unable to discuss a matter which is sub judice in British courts. Does that also apply to matters which are sub judice in foreign courts?

Mr. Speaker

I should like to have notice of a difficult question like that.