HC Deb 19 July 1990 vol 176 cc1162-3
9. Mr. Alton

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people have been killed or injured in Northern Ireland as a consequence of paramilitary activity since 1969.

Mr. Brooke

Since 1969, 2,804 people have been killed and 32,700 people injured. Four of those deaths have occurred since I last answered questions on 21 June. Constable Harold Beckett and Constable Garry Meyer, both full-time members of the RUC, were murdered as they patrolled the city centre in Belfast. William Sloss was murdered by the Irish People's Liberation Organisation and Martin Hughes by the Ulster Freedom Fighters in sectarian attacks.

However, the police and the Army continue to make important finds of arms and ammunition. They also made a number of significant arrests in recent weeks. In particular, I know the whole House will join me in praising the exemplary courage of the young RUC constable who drove off a heavily armed Provisional IRA gang in Dungannon. But for his quick thinking and bravery, I am sure that he and his colleague would be dead today.

Mr. Alton

I am sure that the House will concur with the sentiments expressed by the Secretary of State. Does he agree with what Dr. Cahal Daly said yesterday that sectarian killings are the product of sick minds and twisted attitudes? He described those actions as loathsome and despicable. Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that at some time the House will have to decide that those who pursue the strategy of the armalite and the bomb in one hand and the ballot box in the other will have to forgo the right to stand for election to this Parliament?

Mr. Brooke

I join the hon. Gentleman in endorsing the comments expressed yesterday by Bishop Cahal Daly and I am sure that the whole House would do the same. The second part of the hon. Gentleman's question related to the proscription of organisations. I keep that matter constantly under review.

Mr. Barry Porter

Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is time that we listened to half the advice given by the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) and stopped this pretence of saying that the Anglo-lrish Agreement has achieved any of its fundamental aims? It has not. That emperor has no clothes. I wish my right hon. Friend every success in the discussions, but will not he concede that there is no reason to blame my hon. Friends who represent the Unionist cause on both sides of the House as they have expressed good will towards reaching some agreement. If the talks fail, let us place that blame where it lies, and that is on Dublin.

Mr. Brooke

My hon. Friend has asked a comprehensive question. The question asked by the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) perhaps had a conclusion different from that suggested by my hon. Friend. We are more likely to make progress in the talks if we concentrate on looking forward and on the positive aspects rather than questioning the motivation of anyone who is involved in them.

Mr. Hume

In answer to the hon. Member for Wirral, South (Mr. Porter) and some other Conservative Members, will the Secretary of State confirm that we will not have lasting peace and stability in Ireland without the full agreement of the Irish Government and all constitutional parties in Northern Ireland?

Mr. Brooke

I endorse what the hon. Gentleman says about uniting people of peace and good will to ensure that the terrorist is defeated.

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