§ 20. Mr. Biggs-Davison
asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will make a statement on security operations in Northern Ireland, with particular reference to South Armagh.
§ Mr. Robert C. Brown
As my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Northern Ireland told the House yesterday, Army operations continue throughout Northern Ireland, supporting the 659 police in the task of combating violence and terrorism. Extra security measures are in force in South Armagh following recent terrorist incidents and, in particular, the killing of three young soldiers, and the wounding of a fourth, on Saturday. I know that the House will join me in condemning these outrages in the strongest possible terms; in expressing our admiration of the outstanding courage of these soldiers; and in conveying our deepest sympathy to their families and friends. The Security Forces will make every effort possible to bring to justice those responsible for these despicable outrages.
§ Mr. Biggs-Davison
I join the Minister in his expression of sympathy and admiration, but may I ask what progress has been made in gaining from the Eire Army the same good co-operation as exists between the RUC and the Garda? If that co-operation is not given, will our troops be authorised to fire on terrorists and hotly to pursue terrorists across the border, as they are fully entitled to do under international law?
§ Mr. Brown
I must emphasise, as did my right hon. Friend the Minister of State yesterday, that we are receiving excellent co-operation from the security forces of the Republic. I do not want to go any further than that, because it would be foolish to imperil the type of cooperation that we are now receiving.