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Excluded Persons

Volume 894: debated on Thursday 26 June 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he has any evidence to link those people who have been excluded from Great Britain under the Prevention of Terrorism Act with continuing acts of violence in Northern Ireland.

Will not the Minister concede that the action of Brendan Magill, one of the first men to be excluded from Great Britain, who recently delivered the oration over the grave of the terrorists killed in my constituency and described them as having been killed in action, suggests some complicity with the behaviour of those terrorists? If he agrees that it suggests complicity, does he not agree that it is time to introduce a system of surveillance over all these excluded men?

The important fact concerning the 27 people excluded from Great Britain and sent to Northern Ireland is that none has as yet faced criminal charges, and it is with that aspect that the Government have to be concerned.

Will the Secretary of State say what effect the removal from the statute book of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act would have on the Secretary of State's task in Northern Ireland in trying to contain, control and reduce violence?

As my hon. Friend is aware, the Act was introduced on a temporary basis by the Home Secretary because of incidents that had taken place within Great Britain itself. My right hon. Friend's action in trying to bring about peace in Northern Ireland is proceeding and will continue to proceed.

Will the Minister agree that Mr. Brendan Magill's political activities since his exclusion have been confined to such relatively unlethal activities as panegyrics at paramilitary funerals?

As long as the gentleman concerned just talks, he is free to do that, but if he takes action which is in any way in violation of the law, we shall, of course, take action.