HC Deb 04 December 1975 vol 901 cc1923-4
7. Mr. Marten

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the supply of arms into Northern Ireland for the Irish Republican Army.

The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office (Mr. Stanley Orme)

The majority of modern weapons recovered by the Security Forces in Northern Ireland are clearly identifiable as originating in the United States. The American authorities are aware of this, and we are in regular contact with them to find ways of stemming the flow.

Mr. Marten

As one who knows the terrain and understands the difficulties, and also has experience of how terrorist organisations work, may I ask the Minister whether he agrees that it is now time to issue clear instructions to the Army to close the United Kingdom land frontier with the Republic by means of barbed wire and landmines, in order to stop the gun-running that goes on across the border?

Mr. Orme

The advice that we have received from the Security Forces is that that would not be workable. We are dealing with a border more than 300 miles long, with dozens of roads and regular crossings. Weapons do not necessarily come across the border; they are imported, in large numbers, from the United States. The Government are taking every step to see that this is checked, and the hon. Member will have seen that we had some success a short while ago at one of our major ports.

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