HC Deb 31 January 1974 vol 868 cc600-2
9. Mr. Kilfedder

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many acts of terrorism have been committed in Northern Ireland by terrorists operating from the Eire side of the border; and how many terrorists have fled into the Irish Republic after committing crimes in Northern Ireland during each of the past six months.

Mr. Pym

Between 1st August 1973 and 30th January 1974 there were 345 border incidents in which terrorists who sought refuge in or came from the Republic were suspected to have been involved.

It is not possible to say how many terrorists have fled into the Republic after committing crimes in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Kilfedder

Will my right hon. Friend accept that the figures he has just announced and the aerial attack by the IRA on the town of Strabane about a week ago indicate that there has been an intensification in assaults by IRA terrorists on Northern Ireland from bases in the Republic since my right hon. Friend met Mr. Cosgrave at Sunningdale? Is he aware that there is no real evidence that the Dublin Government are anxious to move effectively against the IRA terrorists in the Republic?

Mr. Pym

Regrettably, I can confirm only that there has been increased activity along the border. It is probably a deliberate decision by the IRA and is partly the result of the success of the security forces in Belfast and other parts of the Province. I do not accept that the Republic is in any sense uninterested or inactive in dealing with the situation on the border. It has given clear indication that it intends to increase its activities. It has already sought to increase the size of its own Garda in order to contribute to this. The police on both sides of the border are co-operating more closely than ever before, and both this Government and the Government of the Republic are determined to do everything they can to improve the situation.

Mr. Merlyn Rees

Is it not the case that in Northern Ireland there is a phone-in system whereby citizens can provide information to the security authorities for dealing with terrorists? Is the Secretary of State aware that the hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) did not use the telephone but used his pulpit last Sunday to say categorically that the IRA had murdered Mr. Niedermayer after the Government had refused a demand to transfer the Price sisters to London? Is that true, and has the hon. Gentleman provided information to the proper authorities?

Mr. Pym

No. No evidence of any kind has been produced from any source about the fate, whatever it may be, of Mr. Niedermayer. There has been no telephone call relating to the case other than the ones to which I referred. Some people have alleged that they have information, but none of that information has proved to be accurate and none was substantiated. I have had no contact from the hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) on this matter. If he had any information I can only imagine that he would have given it to me as, indeed, he should have done.

Rev. Ian Paisley

Will the Secretary of State confirm or deny that certain communications were made to Downing Street regarding the kidnapping of Mr. Niedermayer? Will he confirm or deny that a proposition was put to No. 10 Downing Street about the conditions for the release of Mr. Niedermayer? Will he confirm or deny that the Government took no action upon the matter? Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that it is evident that the IRA does not make threats without carrying them out? Is it not conclusive from the information now available and released by the Home Office that these matters took place and that they point to the fact that Mr. Niedermayer has been murdered?

Mr. Pym

There have been a number of telephone calls about this sad, tragic and worrying case. Every telephone call was followed up in the greatest detail. The hon. Gentleman referred to a telephone call and said that at the conclusion of the call it was said that Mr. Niedermayer had been brutally murdered. He has not produced one iota of evidence to substantiate that. I am still waiting to hear from him what that evidence is.