§ 2.58 p.m.
§ Lord Gridley
My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.
§ The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government, in view of the terrorist outrage in London on 20th July, to what extent there exists a procedure enabling the Government of the Irish Republic to pass immediately to Her Majesty's Government information about the movements of known and suspected IRA terrorists from Ireland to England.
§ Lord Elton
My Lords, the Irish Government are as conscious as we are of the need to stamp out IRA terrorism. Monitoring the movements of criminals and exchanging information about them are matters for police forces rather than for Governments. There is close co-operation between police forces in the United Kingdom and the police in the Republic of Ireland on a wide range of matters. As your Lordships will have noticed, both police forces worked together to excellent effect in the arrest and assembling of evidence against Gerard Tuite who was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment after conviction in Dublin of an offence of the possession of explosives which had been committed in London. For obvious reasons it would not be appropriate to enter into details about procedures for passing information.
§ Lord Gridley
My Lords, I thank my noble friend the Minister for that Answer. Does he realise that in no way do I criticise the police or the Government for the excellent way in which they are handling a difficult situation, but may I ask him whether he is aware that in the recent past there has been a list of outrages by IRA terrorists which remain unresolved and undetected, and men who have been connected with those crimes have not been arrested? Therefore, may I ask my noble friend whether the Government consider that our present methods of detection are adequate, and whether in order to help in the situation it might be advisable to strengthen the Suppression of Terrorism Act 1976?
§ Lord Elton
My Lords, any Government who said they were satisfied with their methods of dealing with terrorism would be uttering a prelude to catastrophe. We shall never be satisfied, but very considerable resources and ingenuity are expended to this effect. I am well aware of the hideous tally of crime to which my noble friend refers and to a number of those which remain unresolved. I trust that those who perpetrated them will not for a moment mistakenly think that they are now ever free of the danger of conviction. As to the Prevention of Terrorism Act 1976, I believe it was in my noble friend's mind to ask that it should be applied to people coining from places other than Ireland, and indeed it does apply to people coming to this country from the Continent as well.