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Refugees From Ulster

Volume 155: debated on Thursday 15 June 1922

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that many British subjects in Dublin and elsewhere are compelled by Republicans to feed and lodge Republican families alleged to be refugees from Ulster; what representations have been made by His Majesty's Government to the Free State Government on the point; and what hope is there of this compulsory billeting being put an end to?

This is a matter for the Provisional Government, upon whom the responsibility for maintaining law and order now rests. I understand, however, that, so far at least as Dublin is concerned, compulsory billeting has now ceased, and that the Provisional Government have acquired public buildings for the accommodation of refugees.

What representations have been made by the Government to the Provisional Government?

The attention of the Provisional Government is being constantly drawn to matters of this kind. Many times a week, and sometimes several times a day, matters are brought to their attention by communications from the British Department on this side to the Irish Provisional Government.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, in a great number of cases, these so-called refugees are not refugees at all, but men who have been sent out by the Republicans of the North, at the point of the pistol, for propaganda purposes?

I cannot tell. A great many people have gone out of the North into the South; a great many out of the South into the North, and a good many people from both North and South have come over here.

Will the right hon. Gentleman appoint a Commission of Inquiry into the number of these refugees from North and South?