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German Spies, Eire (Extradition)

Volume 437: debated on Monday 5 May 1947

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asked the Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether he has given diplomatic support to the U.S.A. in their demand for the re-arrest of six German spies who had been set free in Eire last September, in view of the fact that one of them was parachuted into Eire in 1940 and was at large 12 months before being captured and another, after having escaped from Mountjoy prison in 1942 disguised as a woman, returned to Eire; and whether, taking into consideration the menace to the security of Northern Ireland, as well as Great Britain, caused by this organised system of espionage in Eire, he will join with the U.S.A. in pressing for the extradition of these men.

Three Germans and one Austrian who had formerly been held in custody in Eire were deported by the Eire authorities on 15th April. Applications were lodged on behalf of three other Germans, in respect of whom deportation orders had been made, for those orders to be quashed and for orders of Habeas Corpus to be made directing their release. These applications were recently rejected in the Eire High Court. Notice of appeal to the Eire Supreme Court has been given in one of these cases, and in another, in which the man concerned had entered Eire legally before the war and had a regular residence there, the Eire Minister of Justice has decided to allow the usual three months' notice before the execution of the deportation order. The matter is one which the Eire authorities themselves are dealing with and no question of representations to them arises.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the question of espionage is not in doubt; that these men were in touch with the Irish Republican Army, and that the only question of appeal to the Supreme Court is whether the deportation order is valid? The point is simply this: are they entitled to three months' notice? In view of the fact that though these men were in the country for five years, they spent a great part of that time in prison, are they entitled to three months' notice before being deported? The facts are not in doubt.