Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14th May 1987.

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Photo of Mr Tom King Mr Tom King The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 12:00 am, 14th May 1987

Before answering that question, may I add my personal regret that I fear that this may be the last time that my right hon. Friend will make a contribution in this House. I know what a loss so many hon. Members feel that in future we shall not have the pleasure and the value of his contributions. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear. hear."]

I am grateful for my right hon. Friend's comments about the efforts of the security forces. In view of fairly wild speculation, I think that I should make it quite clear that the events of last Friday night were the consequence of a number of steps that we have been taking to seek to improve the security of police stations against a number of attacks, particularly attacks against police stations of a rather "softer" nature, and that what was prevented was quite clearly a deliberate attempt to murder two policemen. It was a very determined attack indeed. We were extremely fortunate not to suffer serious casulties among the security forces. I recognise that they managed to resist very effectively, but there is no question but that the responsibility for the casualties lies exclusively with the IRA, which launched such a futile but dangerous attack.

As for co-operation with the Garda Siochana, others may have seen last night the events to which my right hon. Friend referred—the incidents surrounding the funeral of one of the terrorists and the hatred that the IRA also shows to the Garda Siochana. It was for that reason that my right hon. Friend will have noted that I included those statistics in my original answer. They show something of the contribution that the Garda Siochana is seeking to make to defeating what is an evil, whether it is north or south of the border.