HL Deb 10 February 1972 vol 327 cc1264-5

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

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many persons have been detained in Ulster under the Special Powers and other Acts since the beginning of the emergency, how many have been brought before the courts and charged with offences, and how many have been released.]


My Lords, since the information requested by the noble Lord is available in the form of a table, I will, with permission, arrange for it to be circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the table:

Arrests under the Special Powers Act
Arrested between 9th August, 1971, and 8th February, 1972 2,376
Released without detention order 1,413
Released after detention order 113
Escaped from detention 10
Released from internment 34
Escaped from internment 1
Held under Regulation 10 (i.e. persons held for questioning) 48
Held under Regulation 11 (i.e. detained) 161
Held under Regulation 12(i.e. interned) 596

28 of those arrested under the Special Powers Acts have been brought before the courts and charged with various offences.

Other arrests

Details of arrests under the criminal law for offences in connection with the civil disturbances, are available only for 1971:—

Persons arrested and charged 1,239
Persons convicted 621
Cases withdrawn 145
Cases dismissed 119
Cases pending at end of 1971 354

This information has been obtained from the Northern Ireland authorities.


My Lords, I am very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, for his interest in the matter and I shall read the details with interest. Meanwhile, may I ask him whether he has read the article which appeared in The Times newspaper yesterday, by a legal expert, who referred to the somewhat chaotic, anomalous and incongruous situation in Ulster in relation to legal administration? Does not what is con-contained in that article indicate that there should be an inquiry of some kind in order to put the matter in the proper perspective? And, at the same time, would the noble Lord consider its bearing on the whole internment issue?


My Lords, my right honourable friend the Home Secretary is aware of the article to which the noble Lord has referred, but he does not feel able to accept all its conclusions.


My Lords, does the noble Lord realise that, although his right honourable friend is unable to accept my conclusions, eventually he will be compelled to: he will have no alternative, because unless the internment issue is resolved in some form, even in a modified form, there is not the slightest hope, not the remotest hope, of finding a solution to the Ulster problem?


My Lords, we had a long debate on Northern Ireland only last week, lasting some seven hours. This Question was a specific request for statistics, and as I have arranged to circulate the information in Hansard I do not think it would be the wish of the House that we should debate the whole question of internment again now.