HC Deb 28 October 1976 vol 918 cc681-2
4. Mr. Wm. Ross

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he is satisfied with the degree of control of movement of persons and farm stock at the land frontier between the United Kingdom and the Irish Republic.

Mr. Dunn

As long as there is any evidence of smuggling, I cannot be satisfied. As far as the smuggling of stock is concerned, I would refer the hon. Member to the answer to the Question asked by the hon. Member for Devon, West (Mr. Mills).

Mr. Ross

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the smuggling of large numbers of live and very noisy animals is an indication of poor control at the border? Will he give an undertaking to increase the security forces on the border, as this would have beneficial effects not only in regard to cattle smuggling but in relation to the movement of arms and explosives?

Mr. Dunn

My colleagues have been devising all sorts of responses to that question. The hon. Member will be aware of the difficulties of dealing with the border problem. We are aware that live pigs and dumb pigs are crossing the border. The problem is to apprehend them. It is rather like trying to catch greased pigs on a sports day. One moment they are there, the next moment they are not.

Mr. Hardy

Is my hon. Friend aware that the practice of smuggling in Northern Ireland is long-standing and that the animals making the noise of which the hon. Member for Londonderry (Mr. Ross) complains are probably descendants of animals who were smuggled many generations ago?

Mr. Dunn

I have no way of contradicting or admitting that.

Mr. Powell

How can there be any satisfaction with control on the movement of persons between the Republic and the United Kingdom when it is possible for a person who has been judicially deported from this country to return no fewer than 14 times, as recently happened? Is the Secretary of State aware on how many occasions Mr. Dundon returned to the United Kingdom through Northern Ireland?

Mr. Dunn

With respect, I was dealing with another problem. I am sure that my right hon. Friend has heard the right hon. Gentleman's question, but it is not a matter for me.

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