HC Deb 10 May 1990 vol 172 c390
12. Mr. Riddick

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on steps being taken to improve cross-border co-operation on security with the Eire Government.

Mr. Cope

Measures to improve security co-operation, particularly in the border area, are regularly discussed at Anglo-Irish Conference meetings, most recently on 19 April. In addition, regular meetings take place at all levels between members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and the Garda Siochana. Progress has been made, but where further improvement is possible the Government are committed to securing it.

Mr. Riddick

Is it not the case that the Irish police in the border area are unable effectively to tackle IRA terrorists fleeing across the border from the north having just committed terrorist crimes because those Irish policemen are unarmed? Is not the obvious solution for the Irish Government to arm the Garda in the border areas or to place units of the Irish army on the border? Has my right hon. Friend raised those issues with the Irish Government and, if so, what response did he receive?

Mr. Cope

We frequently discuss all such aspects, but those are operational matters which must be for the authorities in the Republic to decide for themselves.