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Clause 10. — (Short title and extent.)

Part of Clause 4 (Prohibition of offensive weapons at public, meetings and processions), ordered to stand part of the Bill. – in the House of Commons on 26th November 1936.

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Photo of Mr David Logan Mr David Logan , Liverpool Scotland

I beg to move, in page 7, line 26, to leave out Sub-section (2).

This manuscript Amendment has been handed in by me for one particular purpose, and that is to get a statement from the responsible Minister as to where we stand in regard to the maintenance of public order in Northern Ireland. If there are to be special laws for England and Scotland I am at a loss to understand why they should not apply to Northern Ireland, and I have moved the Amendment to delete the sub-section which says that this Measure shall not extend to Northern Ireland. This is the first time for many a day that we have had the opportunity of raising the question of having proper regulations for dealing with turmoil and trouble in Northern Ireland. In July of last year matters pertaining to public order in Northern Ireland had to be raised in this honourable House, and His Majesty's Forces in great strength had to be brought out in the streets of Northern Ireland to protect civilians. Not only was that so in July of last year, but it has been so every July as long as my memory goes back. Now that public order is the thing of the day, and we are setting our own house in order, we should know what power is vested in us in respect of the affairs of Northern Ireland. I contend that we have power and authority which all Ireland is not able to take away from us, and that in time of public disorder or rebellion, this land has still the right to exercise its authority, especially over the section which claims to he constitutional and to be within the bounds of the Empire. How far have we the right to interfere in the internal affairs of Northern Ireland, in respect of public order, discipline, turmoil and rebellion?

I do not disagree with any section of opinion in Northern Ireland; I have put forward this Amendment in order to get a reply from the Home Secretary to my question. How far can we deal with the terrible outrages that take place from time to time in Belfast, which are a reflection not only on England, but on other parts of the Kingdom? It is time that English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh social order became as of one common family. The sooner we recognise it as a trinity-in-one, the better for all concerned. I do not want to have representations made to me that the streets are likely to run with blood, and that 10 or 14 people will be killed—not in Russia but in Belfast—and homes burnt down, although Christianity is practised by all the parties concerned. Such incidents in the life of a busy city should cease to exist. If the Home Secretary is able to improve that state of affairs I shall have obtained all that I wish for. I hope the right hon. Gentleman can get us out of the difficulties which have disgraced Northern Ireland for so long.