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Northern Ireland

Volume 827: debated on Monday 29 November 1971

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asked the Prime Minister is he is satisfied with the co-ordination between the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office over action following reports of unauthorised flights by military aircraft over Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement.

As my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Defence for the Army explained in his reply to the hon. Member's Question on 19th November, the Ministry of Defence received reports of three flights by Alouette helicopters similar to those used by the Army of the Republic of Ireland of which prior notification had not been received. It was originally thought these were mercy flights by the Irish Army engaged in the transfer of hospital patients. It has however been established that they were in fact flights by civil Alouettes. Authorisation would not be required for flights in either of these categories, but would be required for flights of a military nature.