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Northern Ireland (Conscription)

Volume 389: debated on Tuesday 11 May 1943

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asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs what representations have been made by Mr. de Valera with regard to the introduction of conscription in Northern Ireland; and what grounds have been put forward by him in support?

No recent representations have been made by Mr. de Valera on this subject.

I have not asked for any recent statement. Were any representations made by Mr. de Valera some little time ago with regard to conscription in Northern Ireland, and, if so, what was the nature of those representations?

The Question did not say "recent" at all. Is not my hon. Friend aware that the failure to introduce conscription in Northern Ireland as requested by the Ulster Government is mainly responsible for the large numbers of unemployed in Northern Ireland, as in default of conscription many thousands of men and women from Eire have obtained jobs in Ulster which would otherwise be available for Ulster men and women?

Was it not the fact that when the matter was first mentioned in this House the Southern Irish Parliament was especially called together? Are we to understand that no representation has been made yet to the Government?

I should like to have notice of that Question in order to be able to discover whether any particular representations were made and what was their nature.

When were representations last made, and can the hon. Gentleman say what was their nature?

Why is there always this difficulty in getting information about statements made by Mr. de Valera? In the case of other Dominions, statements by their Prime Ministers are easily conveyed to this House. Is Mr. de Valera always to be regarded as sacrosanct?