HC Deb 23 October 1972 vol 843 cc207-8W
Mr. Kilfedder

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland why Irish Republican Army military style funerals are still permitted to be held; and why rifles, which are used by Irish Republican Army gunmen at funerals, are not seized by the Army.

Mr. David Howell

The decision on action against IRA military style funerals must be left to the commander of the security forces on the spot. He must take into account the risk of escalation, and of an emotional incident. The recent photograph in the Press of IRA weapons being fired during a funeral procession was skilfully staged for publicity. The weapons were not carried by those accompanying the funeral but were produced, fired, and hurried away from the scene at an opportune place and moment.