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Volume 931: debated on Thursday 12 May 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he will make a statement on the current security situation in the Province.

My right hon. Friend fully shares the concern felt by many people about the continuation of violence in Northern Ireland notwithstanding the improvement in the security situation which has taken place. Security measures are constantly under review to adjust them to a changing situation and to increase their effectiveness. He is certain however that the best strategy is to work through the police, with the support of the Army, to maintain the rule of law. This strategy is achieving real results. In the first four months of this year the level of violence measured by the numbers of incidents and numbers of casualties has been running at half the rate of last year. It is all the more regrettable that the UUAC in seeking to compel a stoppage of work, ostensibly in part for the purpose of seeking improvement in security measures, should divert the security forces from their prime task of defeating the IRA. Indeed, the UUAC or men claiming to act in support of them are themselves resorting to terrorism, intimidation and murder. Such action must not be allowed to succeed.