§ 11. Mr. McCusker
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement regarding the policy of the security forces on the closing of border roads.
§ Mr. Moyle
I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 16th May to Questions from the hon. Member for Esher (Mr. Mather) and the right hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Mr. West). Since then, six more unapproved border crossings have been closed, making a total of 37 since September 1973.—[Vol. 873, cc. 1433–5.]
§ Mr. McCusker
Is the Minister aware that there are approximately 80 frontier crossings along the South Armagh border, of which the majority are unapproved and, therefore, should not be used by regular traffic? What is the status of the Flagstaff Road between Newry and Omeath, which was closed at great expense both in time and manpower by the Army because it was obviously considered a big security risk? That being the case, will the hon. Gentleman assure us that he will not take any cognisance of representations made to him by citizens of the Irish Republic to keep unapproved border roads open into an area where more than 40 British soldiers have been killed?
§ Mr. Moyle
The question of keeping roads across the border open or closing 1802 them is one for recommendation by the security forces. With regard to the Flagstaff Road closure, this is an unapproved crossing. It was closed at the end of June because it was known as a route for terrorists. It is now being reopened, following agreement between us and the Irish Republic security forces. The Republic's security forces will mount a permanent vehicle checkpoint on their side of the border.