HC Deb 09 July 1957 vol 573 cc196-7
49. Mr. Armstrong

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been drawn to the attack on a police patrol at Crossmaglen on the Northern Ireland border on Thursday, 4th July, when a police constable was killed; whether he is aware of the tension in Northern Ireland because the assailants escaped across the border into Eire and so out of the jurisdiction of the Northern Ireland Government; and whether he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister

Her Majesty's Government have learned with deep regret that one member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary was murdered and another seriously injured in the early hours of 4th July in an ambush close to the border in Armagh and tender their deep sympathy with the relatives.

It has been established by the Royal Ulster Constabulary that the persons concerned in the ambush escaped into Republican territory. In view of this, Her Majesty's Ambassador in Dublin has already taken the matter up with the Government of the Republic, who equally deplore this incident and are doing all they can to trace the culprits.

Mr. Armstrong

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the people of Northern Ireland have all along had confidence in their own Government and their own police but that there has been a bitter and dangerous sense of frustration when it seemed that the people responsible for these murderous attacks were able to find sanctuary across the border? Further, is my right hon. Friend aware that the action taken during the last few days by the Government of the Irish Republic will do much to make it easier for those in Northern Ireland who have striven for restraint and against any form of reprisal or retaliation, more especially if it is possible to bring to justice the murderer of this policeman?

The Prime Minister

I think the whole House will feel, with me, that we sympathise, admire and accept the very wise words which have fallen from my hon. Friend.