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Orders of the Day — Northern Ireland (Foyle Fisheries) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd December 1951.

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Photo of Professor Douglas Savory Professor Douglas Savory , South Antrim 12:00 am, 3rd December 1951

I think I am in order in saying that so far as fisheries and railways are concerned they were handed over by the Act of 1920 to the Council of the whole of Ireland consisting of 20 members from the North and 20 from the South to be presided over by the Lord Lieutenant, but, unfortunately, that Council, due to no fault of Northern Ireland, never came into existence. Had it done so, it would have been a most valuable means of co-operation.

My right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary has pointed out the legal necessity for the introduction of this Bill. It is because Clause 4 of the 1920 Act not merely prohibits Northern Ireland from having relations with foreign countries, but also with any other part of His Majesty's Dominions. The Republic of Eire has become a foreign country, and clearly, therefore, it comes under that Clause. That is why my right hon. and learned Friend has had to demand legislation to enable Northern Ireland to carry out this agreement, because, obviously, it consists of a relation between Northern Ireland and a foreign country. I feel that this is a very encouraging sign of co-operation—the third instance of co-operation which comes to my mind—between the North and the South, and I certainly hope very much it will continue.

When I was interrupted by the hon. and learned Member opposite, I was pointing out that the Honourable the Irish Society has made a very valuable concession in handing over these rights which brought in a very large revenue in the past, in order to enable this agree- ment to be carried out. Throughout all history, I think this Society in its treatment of its tenants in Northern Ireland and of its charitable trusts has behaved with the utmost generosity, and that on this occasion it has really excelled itself. I think that we in this House should express great gratitude towards it.

I do not wish, as did the last speaker, to introduce a discordant note into this discussion. It would be very easy for me to answer the points he raised, but in view of the very conciliatory—