HL Deb 05 February 1957 vol 201 cc415-6

My Lords, I beg to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government who, under the new defence organisation, is responsible for the security of Territorial Army Establishments in Northern Ireland, and why the new barracks at Dungannon, County Tyrone, which was recently blown up, was apparently unguarded despite the fact that it had been named as a target, as shown by captured I.R.A. documents.]


My Lords, in all parts of the United Kingdom the civil police are primarily responsible for the protection of Territorial Army centres in peace time. Northern Ireland is no exception to this rule, and since the start of the current series of incidents, the Royal Ulster Constabulary have been providing guards, so far as their resources permit, on Territorial Army centres and other public buildings in Northern Ireland. They have been assisted by the Army.

The attack on the new Territorial Army centre at Dungannon, County Tyrone, on January 18, took place after the departure of the builders, who were still working on the building, and before the arrival of the night guard of Ulster Special Constabulary. Because of their many commitments the Police and the Army had to risk this gap in time during which the building was virtually unoccupied. I should emphasise that Dungannon Territorial Army Centre was only one of about fifty targets that had been mentioned in I.R.A. documents, and there were, of course, other possible targets of equal importance. I am glad to be able to assure your Lordships that co-operation between the Royal Ulster Constabulary and the Army is very close indeed and at all times conducted with a great measure of mutual confidence.


My Lords, I think the noble Lord for his Answer.