I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 20, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely,
the massacre by the IRA of four Ulster Defence Regiment soldiers in Downpatrick on 9 April.
During the recess, the IRA carried out a bloody massacre of four young Ulster Defence Regiment soldiers in Downpatrick on 9 April. Those young soldiers were Private Michael Adams, aged 23, who had served in the regiment for seven months and was formerly with the Royal Engineers; Lance-corporal John Bradley, aged 25, who had four years of service in the UDR and was formerly with the Royal Highlanders; Private Steven Smart, aged 23, who had served with the regiment for a period and was also with the Royal Artillery; and Private John Burch, aged 28, who joined the regiment over one year ago.
I understand from personal knowledge that three of the four bodies were so shattered that the loved ones were not able to open the coffins and see the remains. The vast crater, like a lake, that was left in the road speaks volumes about the strength of the explosives that were used to carry out those atrocious, cold-blooded murders. We should add to that the circumstances of the kith and kin—one already a mother and carrying yet another child who will never see his father; one a fiancée for whom this is a double sorrow, for her father was murdered by the IRA in the Kingsmill massacre; another a mother of two; and another a young bride-to-be, looking forward to her marriage day.
A vehicle used in the atrocity was hijacked by the IRA on the border, and no doubt the murderers are now across the border, in the very safe haven of the Irish Republic.
Those murders took place against the background of a vicious political attack on the Ulster Defence Regiment. Mr. Haughey has said that the regiment must go; Mr. Collins has said that there is no place for the regiment in the Ulster security effort; and in a recent programme, the BBC equated the Ulster Defence Regiment with the IRA and said that it was part of the problem.
One final word—
The hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 20, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he believes should have urgent consideration, namely,
As the hon. Gentleman knows, under Standing Order No. 20, I have to announce my decision without giving my reasons to the House. I have listened with deep concern to what the hon. Gentleman has said about this matter. As he also knows, the decision that I have to take is whether to give that matter precedence over the business set down for today or for tomorrow. In this case, I regret that the matter that he has raised does not meet the requirements of the Standing Order and I cannot, therefore, submit his application to the House.