Northern Ireland and Eire (Communications)

Oral Answers to Questions — Civil Defence. – in the House of Commons on 17th July 1941.

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Photo of Mr Alexander Browne Mr Alexander Browne , Belfast West

asked the Home Secretary whether he has any statement to make regarding his recent visit to Northern Ireland and, in particular, what further steps are being taken to make espionage impossible; and whether he will close the border between Northern Ireland and Eire to all except those possessing British passports?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

As the Home Secretary is responsible for matters affecting Northern Ireland in its relations with the United Kingdom Government, I thought it desirable to visit Belfast for the purpose of establishing personal contacts and also for the purpose of maintaining touch with those who are concerned in measures of civil defence. Amongst a number of subjects which were discussed in the course of my visit was the question whether further measures are desirable and practicable for the control of communications between Northern Ireland and Eire, a subject to which much expert consideration has already been given. On grounds of security it is undesirable, at any rate at this stage, that I should make any further public statement on the matter.

Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that anyone can cross over to Northern Ireland, take a ticket to Dublin, and go straight into the German Legation there with any information he may have about this country or Northern Ireland?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

That point and a number of others are at present the subject of consideration.

Photo of Mr Alexander Browne Mr Alexander Browne , Belfast West

Has the Minister any power with regard to the censoring of correspondence between Eire and Northern Ireland or the United Kingdom?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

There is much more going on than my hon. and gallant Friend knows. If I may say so, there is more going on than it is desirable to say. I can assure my hon. and gallant Friend that everything possible is being done in this matter.