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Northern Ireland (Terrorist Activities)

Volume 984: debated on Thursday 15 May 1980

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I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely,

" the deteriorating security situation on the United Kingdom frontier with County Donegal."
I have a specific reason for wishing to move the Adjournment of the House, and that reason was given impetus by the murder yesterday of a 23 year-old workman, who was working on a building site—Ballymagroarty—close to the border. Indeed, the building site is within a few hundred yards of the border. The young man had no connection with the security forces. He was working with his companions when he was shot by three armed men. They were armed with a hand gun, a rifle and a sub-machine gun. He was shot to death in front of his workmates. He was the second civilian to die in Northern Ireland at the hands of the IRA in the past few days.

The issue is important because there has been an apparent change in the IRA's tactics. In addition, it was one of a number of recent serious incidents in that area. It is important also because the Prime Minister will soon be meeting the Prime Minister of the Irish Republic. I think that it would do the Prime Minister a world of good if she heard the views of hon. Members, especially those representing Northern Ireland constituencies before that meeting.

The hon. Member for Londonderry (Mr. Ross) gave me notice before noon today that he would seek to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he thinks should have urgent consideration, namely,

" the deteriorating security situation on the United Kingdom frontier with County Donegal."
I listened with concern to the hon. Gentleman, as did the whole House, about the continuing situation in Northern Ireland.

As the House knows, under Standing Order No. 9 I am directed to take account of the several factors set out in the order but to give no reason for my decision.

I have listened with anxious care to the hon. Gentleman's submission, but I must rule that it does not fall within the provisions of the Standing Order. Therefore, I cannot submit his application to the House.