HC Deb 14 December 1989 vol 163 cc1145-6
2. Mr. Dalyell

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will raise at the next meeting of the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference the possibility of the publication by the Irish Government of the Garda report on its inquiry into the death of John Francis Green, referred to by the Minister of State for the Armed Forces at Official Report, column 817 on 29 November.

The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office (Mr. John Cope)

No, Sir.

Mr. Dalyell

Is the Minister aware that it is over 20 years since I went to Harold Wilson and James Callaghan to ask them why they imagined that they would be more successful than Strafford or Cromwell, and to plead with them not to send Scottish and English troops into Ireland? The answer was that the troops would be out by Christmas—Christmas 1969. Given that the Army is there, would it not be much better to be absolutely frank and to tell all that is known of the truth of John Francis Green?

Mr. Cope

In answer to the first part of the hon. Gentleman's question, I was not aware of the advice that he gave to the Prime Minister of the day 20 years ago, or of the Prime Minister's response.

In answer to the second half of the hon. Gentleman's question, we are, of course, as frank as we can possibly be in matters of this kind, but the hon. Gentleman must understand that there are operational considerations. On the specific allegations contained in the book referred to in the question, the hon. Gentleman is asking for the publication of a Garda report to the Irish Director of Public Prosecutions. We would not publish such a report in this country and the House would be astonished if we did. It would be even more exceptional for us to ask the Irish to do so. Investigations have been conducted on both sides of the border and in co-operation between the two police forces. I am satisfied that the allegations have been thoroughly investigated and reported to both Directors of Public Prosecutions.