§ Mr. Chichester-Clark
Mr. Speaker, I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing an important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely,the immediate exertion of new and stronger diplomatic pressures on the Government of the Republic of Ireland to control the activities of organisations using the Republic of Ireland as a base for inciting and mounting armed aggression against a part of the United Kingdom".I feel that I need make no apology for raising this matter. Hon. Members in all parts of the House know that the lives of the constituents of myself and my hon. Friends are in almost hourly danger.
This matter deserves urgent consideration because of the mounting anger at the assassination, brutal bombings of civilians and the killing of soldiers, particularly in recent days. In the period immediately after the assassination of Senator Barnhill in Northern Ireland, the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland said that it was no secret that an I.R.A. gang had been operating in the area for several months from their safe haven across the border. As he said, this may be the fifth murder that they have committed since mid-September this year. Yet, despite the lip-service to justice and public order paid by the Southern Ireland authorities, this gang still move about with apparent impunity just a few miles across the border. That is the situation we are facing now.
Today The Times carries a photograph of an I.R.A. Press conference held openly in Dublin. That photograph depicts one person who escaped from the prison in Belfast who said of his own interrogation that he had been accused of four murders, 463 including the killing of three soldiers. Yet this Press conference, which was held openly, is one of a long series which the organisation has been holding openly in the Republic of Ireland.
At the present time, 94 people who are believed to have been involved in terrorist activities are currently in the Republic of Ireland. Extradition orders have been sought against those whose whereabouts are definitely known and whose offences are contrary to the law of the Republic as well as of the United Kingdom.
There have also been 22 incidents in the last three months of firing at security forces across the land frontier at which Eire soldiers or gardai have been reported present but inactive. There have been widely publicised rescruiting meetings in different parts of the Republic to obtain members to conduct illegal operations against the United Kingdom. Money has been openly solicited for the same purpose. There is virtually a gelignite trail across the border.
I submit, finally, that this is a matter which is urgent, because if the anger of ordinary men and women is to be restrained these activities must be curbed, and the pressure can come only from here. I submit this application with a sense of urgency, because I believe that the lives of my constituents and those of my hon. Friends and of British soldiers are at stake and that this matter should be discussed at once.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member for Londonderry (Mr. Chichester-Clark) asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 9 for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter which he thinks should have urgent consideration; namely,the immediate exertion of new and stronger diplomatic pressures on the Government of the Republic of Ireland to control the activities of organisations using the Republic of Ireland as a base for inciting and mounting armed aggression against a part of the United Kingdom.As I repeatedly say to the House, for me this is a purely procedural decision; it bears no relation to the merits of the case, nor does any refusal of mine reflect in any way upon the sincerity of the hon. Member who has asked for the leave of the House or on the importance of the matter. I have simply to say 464 whether it is a matter properly to be debated under Standing Order No. 9 or in some other way.
I regret that I cannot grant the hon. Gentleman's application.
§ Mr. Paget
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Can you clarify the rules a little with regard to these applications? I understand that the moving itself is a point of order and, therefore, cannot be interrupted.
The other day I sought leave to move the Adjournment of the House on a question concerning Rhodesia. You, Mr. Speaker, stopped me in the second sentence and said that I must not make the speech which I would make if I were granted the Adjournment. We have just heard from the hon. Member for Londonderry (Mr. Chichester-Clark) a speech of about seven minutes' duration and of considerable eloquence which was almost exactly the same speech as the hon. Gentleman would have made had he been granted leave. What is the rule as to the form in which the submission must be made?
§ Mr. Speaker
The rule is that, strictly speaking, the application is not a point of order. It is an application to the Chair. It is the practice and the precedent that hon. Members should not seek to make the type of speech which they would make if their application were successful with the leave of the House.
The Chair is in a certain difficulty. There are certain matters upon which the whole House feels very deeply, and perhaps in such cases the Chair allows rather more latitude than it otherwise would.
However, I should certainly deprecate the practice of hon. Members taking the opportunity of applications under Standing Order No. 9—I point out that I must allow hon. Members to make their applications—to go too deeply into the merits of a particular case.