§ Mr. Harold McCusker (Armagh)
I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter which should have urgent consideration, namely,the serious escalation of the IRA campaign of genocide across the frontier of the United Kingdom, which resulted last night in the murder of the Sovereign's personal representative in County Armagh, the right hon. Sir Norman Stronge, MC, and his son James, and which is likely to lead to yet further bloodshed in that part of the United Kingdom.That the matter is specific can hardly be disputed; that it is important no one would gainsay. Therefore, my task is to persuade you, Mr. Speaker, that urgent consideration is justified.
Six days ago an attempt was made on the life of a former Member of this House, Mrs. Bernadette McAliskey, and many people believe that last night's atrocity was a deliberate act of retaliation. I shall not enter into the argument whether that is so, but my experience in the Province—and particularly the lessons of the last few weeks of 1975 in my constituency, which culminated in the murder of 10 workmen outside Bessbrook—suggests that these events may prove to be a prelude to a renewed campaign of murder. I most strongly urge that the fear and apprehension felt throughout our community today deserve the urgent attention and thoughtful consideration of the House.
The House is well used to complaints from Ulster Members about inadequate security arrangements, particularly in border areas. Time and time again our fears have been dismissed by the Secretary of State with the assertion that security co-operation with the Irish Republic has never been so good. I submit that last night's events in my constituency testify to the worthlessness of such assurances, and make clear, for all to see, the ease with which terrorists continue to wage war against British citizens from the safe haven of the Irish Republic.
Fear and uncertainty in Northern Ireland have already been heightened by the political policies adopted by the Secretary of State, and this latest illustration of the Government's abysmal failure to secure the frontier and defend their citizens can only result in a further collapse of confidence and yet more lawlessness and suffering.
Lawlessness and suffering have been commonplace in the Province during the past decade. I seriously and respectfully submit that the situation in Ulster is more serious and more threatening than it has been for some time. In addition, a state of affairs has been permitted to develop in the Province that this House would have deemed unacceptable in any other part of the United Kingdom.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member for Armagh (Mr. McCusker) gave me notice this morning, before 12 o'clock, that he might seek to move the Adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 9 for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he thinks should have urgent consideration, namely:the serious escalation of the IRA campaign of genocide across the frontier of the United Kingdom, which resulted last night in the murder of the Sovereign's personal representative in County Armagh, the right hon. Sir Norman Stronge, MC, and his son James, and which is likely to lead to yet further bloodshed in that part of the United Kingdom.437 Hon. Members always listen with more than anxious concern to statements of events in Northern Ireland. I listened with deep concern to what the hon. Gentleman had to say. As the House knows, my personal feelings do not enter into this type of question. I am guided by a very strict set of rules when deciding whether there should be an emergency debate tonight or tomorrow night.
As the House knows, under Standing Order No. 9 I am directed to take account of the several factors set out in the Order, but to give no reason for my decision. I listened with care to the hon. Gentleman, but I have to rule that his submission does not fall within the provisions of the Standing Order and, therefore, I cannot submit his application to the House.