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Eire And Northern Ireland

Volume 439: debated on Monday 30 June 1947

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asked the Prime Minister whether he has considered the statement made in Dail Eireann on 24th June, 1947, by the Prime Minister of Eire, to the effect that a simple declaration from the British Government that it was their desire to see partition ended, and that, if an agreement were reached between the people of the two parts of Ireland, His Majesty's Government would not hesitate to give it effect, would help towards a solution of the problem; and whether he will consider making such a declaration.

I have seen reports of the statement by Mr. de Valera to which my hon. Friend refers. It has been made clear on many occasions that it is the policy of His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom to maintain and develop by all practicable means the closest relations between Great Britain and both Northern Ireland and Eire, and to facilitate the solution of any outstanding questions. But I do not consider that this policy would be assisted by the making of a statement on the lines suggested in my hon. Friend's Question.

Is the Prime Minister aware that such a simple declaration, which would not involve the Government in any immediate policy, would give great satisfaction in both parts of Ireland, and would also help to strengthen our friendship with the United States of America, where this question is regarded with very great interest?

I can only repeat that I do not think it would be helpful to make that statement.

Does not the right hon. Gentleman recollect that this question was definitely settled by the Tripartite Agreement of December, 1925— which was ratified by overwhelming majorities of both Houses of Parliament sitting in Dublin—by which the existing frontier was guaranteed?