Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security
Mr Kevin McNamara (Kingston upon Hull North, Labour)
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that backhanded compliment.
My point, which is important, is that until we wrestled with the problems of reform in Northern Ireland, until we saw that people there had an unaddressed grievance, we would not succeed.
At the time of internment without trial, there was a song in Northern Ireland with the chorus "Armoured cars and tanks and guns". The song included the words:
"Being Irish means they're guilty
So we're guilty one and all."
Racial profiling of the Irish in Britain made them a suspect community. Not until there was more finesse in policing, and draconian treatment of the Irish community in this country was seen to be counterproductive, did we start to see an improvement. Indeed, terrorism and incidents of terrorism were at their height when internment was in operation in Northern Ireland. It started to diminish only when the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, now my right hon. and noble Friend Lord Merlyn-Rees, started to end internment without trial.