Mr. G. MURRAY:33.
asked the Prime Minister what is the position of the South of Ireland territorial waters under the Irish Free State (Agreement) Act, 1922; whether, in view of certain specified harbour defences which, under the Annex to the Schedule of the Act, are retained in British care and maintenance, it will be necessary to retain control of the South of Ireland territorial waters; and what is the attitude of the British Government in this matter and the position of British shipping generally in South of Ireland territorial waters?
In reply to the first and third parts of the question, I am advised that under the Treaty all the powers and duties of the Imperial Government relating to Irish territorial waters are transferred to the Free State Government, except in so far as this transfer is modified by the provisions of Article 6, which provides that the defence by sea of Great Britain and Ireland shall be undertaken by His Majesty's Imperial Forces, and Article 7 (6), which provides that in time of war or of strained relations with a foreign Power those forces shall be afforded such harbour and other facilities as the British Government may require for the defence by sea of Great Britain and Ireland. I would also refer the hon. Member to the provisions of Article 9 of the Treaty. The reply to the second part of the question is in the negative.