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Volume 933: debated on Thursday 16 June 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will ensure that in future detonators are marked to indicate whether they are intended for use in Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, or elsewhere.

No, Sir. I am satisfied with the existing system, which provides that all detonators made in Great Britain for use in Ireland bear one of two markings which indicate whether they are destined for use in Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland.

Does the right hon. Gentleman not agree that we must do more to control the distribution of detonators, because, in my opinion, we are not doing enough? A detonator is the key to an explosion. Will he consider a system of marking that will show where a detonator is destined, from the point of manufacture to final use, to help trace the detonator used in a terrorist explosion?

I put my mind to this matter when I was Secretary of State for Northern Ireland as well as in my present office as Home Secretary. I am satisfied that the existing system is the right one for the situation. We also have other means of knowing the movement of detonators and other material.