T3. Mr Chambers asked the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs whether he agrees that the comments of the Member of Parliament for South Down, Mr Chris Hazzard, regarding the World War II ordnance that was accidently picked up by a trawler out of Ardglass were, at best, unhelpful and appreciates the bravery and skill of our Army bomb disposal teams who dealt with the incident and who, during the years of the Troubles and beyond, had to deal with many unexploded and volatile devices that were left under cars, in roadside ditches and in close proximity to schools by people such as those after whom the MP’s office is named. (AQT 413/17-22)
I thank the Member for the question. I suggest that it is more embarrassing than anything for the Member of Parliament for South Down to come out with the statement that he did, given that, as I believe, the ordnance dates back to the Second World War. We should be glad of anybody who was prepared to risk their life in order to make the ordnance safe. I am greatly appreciative of the people who served in the Second World War, such as Captain, now Sir, Tom, who demonstrated bravery to us not only back then but bravery and resilience to us now in their response to COVID-19. Perhaps the MP from South Down could learn something from someone who served in the British Army, like Captain Tom.