HC Deb 27 November 1986 vol 106 cc424-5
13. Mr. Spencer

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the latest security situation in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Tom King

Since I last answered questions in the House on 23 October, one police officer and two civilians have died as a result of the security situation in the Province.

So far this year, 576 people have been charged with serious offences and 197 weapons, 28,000 rounds of ammunition and 4,000 1b of explosives have been recovered.

The security forces displayed great skill, patience and professionalism in dealing with demonstrations in various parts of the Province. Despite disgraceful behaviour by some sections of the crowds, serious disorder was generally averted.

Mr. Spencer

Does my right hon. Friend agree that a mass resignation of councillors will only increase tension and make the job of the security forces more difficult?

Mr. King

I certainly would say that I have never quite understood the point of resigning and allowing the people whom one sought to oppose and stood against at an election to take over one's responsibilities, which otherwise they would not have had a chance to do. I certainly think that there is a valuable role for people to play within the government in Northern Ireland.

Ms. Clare Short

Does the Secretary of State agree that the problem of security in Northern Ireland is not helped when the leader and deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist party openly incite loyalist paramilitary organisations to violence? When will he and the Prime Minister start treating the leadership of that party exactly as they treat Sinn Fein? The only difference is that one takes the money but does not come here, while the other does not take the money and does not come here.

Mr. King

We are absolutely satisfied that the security forces, particularly the RUC, will take appropriate action if offences such as those described by the hon. Lady are committed. It is the duty of all people in constitutional parties within Northern Ireland to support the security forces, and I hope that members of the SDLP will reconsider very directly the comments they have made about support for the RUC, and make absolutely unequivocal their support for it.

15. Mr. Peter Bruinvels

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many members of the security forces, police and Army, have been (a) murdered and (b) injured in each of the past five years; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Scott

As the answer is in the form of a tabular statement, I shall, with permission, Mr. Speaker, arrange for it to be published in the Official Report.

Mr. Bruinvels

Will my hon. Friend look back with regret at the growing number of members of the security forces and others within Northern Ireland who have been tragically murdered in the past five years? Does my hon. Friend agree that the greatest problem with maintaining cross-border security is that many of our security forces have been deterred from preventing incursions breaching cross-border security because of the Ulster Resistance Movement's activities under the leadership of the leader of the Democratic Unionist party? Should we not try to stop the security people from being taken away from the important task of protecting our borders, thus ensuring that the people of Northern Ireland are properly protected? Should we not be prepared to stand up and protect this country and Northern Ireland?

Mr. Scott

I agree totally with my hon. Friend. Those who engage in street disorder and demonstrations divert the RUC from its task of fighting terrorism and are not contributing to the peace and security of the Province.

Following is the table:

The information in respect of members of the security forces killed and injured in Northern Ireland due to civil unrest in each of the past five years is as follows:

Deaths Injuries
RUC Army RUC Army
1982 12 28 99 98
1983 18 15 142 88
1984 9 19 267 86
1985 23 6 415 33
19861 12 12 552 45
1To date.

Note: RUC figures include the RUC Reserve and the Army figures include the UDR.