HC Deb 22 November 1979 vol 974 cc552-3
13. Mr. Cohen

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what facilities were given by public bodies for which he is responsible to the arrangement between the BBC and the Provisional IRA by which the village of Carrickmore in county Tyrone was sealed off for the purpose of making a television documentary programme.

Mr. Humphrey Atkins


Mr. Cohen

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the widespread concern in this country because of the suspicion that there may have been collusion between the BBC and the Provisional IRA in arranging a televised programme? Can he assure the House that no moneys changed hands between the BBC and the Provisional IRA in order to provide that sort of facility?

Mr. Atkins

I am well aware of the concern, which I share. I cannot give the hon. Gentleman a precise answer to his question because the whole incident, and precisely what happened and the events leading up to it, are still being investigated by the police.

The following question stood upon the Order Paper

24. Mr. Biggs-Davison

to ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what facilities were given by the public authorities for the filming of the Provisional IRA by a BBC "Panorama" team in Carrickmore, county Tyrone.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State informed me in writing that he would take my question together with question No. 13.

Mr. Speaker

Order. I noticed that the right hon. Gentleman did not group them. I thought that he did that because of the time. If the Secretary of State intended to do that, I shall call the hon. Gentleman to ask his supplementary question and allow an extra minute at the end of Prime Minister's questions to make up for the time taken now.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

I am grateful to you, Mr. Speaker.

Since it is the judgment of experts in the psychology of terrorism that terrorism thrives on publicity and perishes without it, should not the media be prepared to rate human life higher than the collection of sensational material for television?

Mr. Humphrey Atkins


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