HC Deb 23 October 1975 vol 898 cc689-90
1. Mr. Molyneaux

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many members of the Army, UDR, RUC, RUC Reserve and the general public, have been killed, and how many have been injured, by terrorist action in Northern Ireland during the third quarter of 1975.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Mr. Merlyn Rees)

In the third quarter of 1975, as a result of the security situation, four members of the Army were killed and 56 injured; two members of the UDR were killed and two injured; two members of the RUC were killed and 40 injured; no members of the RUC Reserve were killed, but 12 were injured; and 59 civilians were killed and 652 injured.

Mr. Molyneaux

On behalf of my colleagues I express condemnation of those who have committed these appalling crimes, and express sympathy to all who have suffered, but is the right hon. Gentleman fully satisfied that the security forces are in no way prevented by the so-called cease-fire from safeguarding their own lives and the lives of others?

Mr. Rees

In every possible way the security forces must take steps to look after themselves. The hon. Gentleman may have noticed the figures that were given in a Written Answer the day before yesterday, namely, that 950 people have been charged to go through the courts—116 people charged with murder and 75 with attempted murder. In that group of 950 are members of all the para- military organisations on both sides of the community.

Mr. Gow

What evidence does the Secretary of State have to show that there has been any return to terrorism by any of the 360 detainees whom he has released since December of last year?

Mr. Rees

A very small number—I am not making a point of it—have been charged with terrorist offences. As they have yet to go through the courts I think it better that I should not refer to individual cases, but the number is under 10. There is undoubtedly evidence, and knowledge on the part of the security forces, that some of those who have been released are back with the organisations to which they belonged. That is equally true of the nearly 300 people who have been released from prison after being sentenced. Exactly the same thing applies. Over the year, approximately 2,000 people have been interned and detained. If the policy had been harder both before and during my time, the figure could have been a good deal larger. The plain fact is that a sizeable number of people support the paramilitary organisations in Northern Ireland.

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