HC Deb 15 January 1987 vol 108 c403
14. Mr. Peter Bruinvels

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what advice is being given to the security forces concerning recent incursions into Southern Ireland.

Mr. Scott

Police and Army commanders are well aware of the importance of avoiding incursions. Policemen and soldiers, particularly those belonging to newly arrived units, are advised frequently of the need to avoid incursions into the Republic of Ireland when operating close to the border.

Mr. Bruinvels

While thanking my hon. Friend for his detailed reply, may I ask him to confirm that it is not just a matter of troops from Northern Ireland going into the South, but of troops from Southern Ireland crossing the border into the North? We should have a give and take policy, and it is rather unfair that some legal authorities in Southern Ireland are promoting the fact that some of our troops have lost their way on the border.

Mr. Scott

It is important to recognise that in effectively carrying out their duties the security forces of both jurisdictions have to operate right up to the border. The troops are, of course, forbidden to cross the border, but incursions into both jurisdictions take place from time to time as a consequence of the joint pursuit of the common enemy of both security forces—the terrorist. I should mention that this matter was discussed at the last meeting of the Intergovernmental Conference.