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Anglo-Irish Agreement

Volume 87: debated on Monday 18 November 1985

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4.41 pm

I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 10, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely,

"the Anglo-Irish agreement and the fact that the Prime Minister of the Irish Republic affirms that that agreement provides that the question of how security should be organised in Northern Ireland is one for the conference, thus destroying the sovereignty of this House over security in part of Her Majesty's dominions."
I have been asked to say whether the matter is specific. It is. The Prime Minister of the Irish Republic is on record on television, on radio and in the press. When he arrived back from the Hillsborough summit he said that in future the Ulster Defence Regiment will operate differently from the way in which it has operated over the last 12 years.
"That means,"
said Dr. FitzGerald,
"that from now on, as soon as this can be put into effect, the position at present, whereby the Ulster Defence Regiment can hold people up on the road, stop them, search them, and question them will no longer operate."
Therefore, it is specific.

Is it important to the people who sit in comfort in this House? It is of the utmost importance to those on the border in Northern Ireland, who never see a member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and whose only defence is the Ulster Defence Regiment. Hon. Members talk about representatives from Ulster being stirred up. Last night I sat in a home where a father and mother were mourning their young boy who was assassinated by the IRA because he was a member of the security forces. It is important that the border in Northern Ireland be given proper defence.

Is it urgent? There is nothing more urgent than the lives of the citizens of Northern Ireland. Today, tomorrow and the next day the Dail will be discussing the affairs of Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland Members of this House, the only place where we can put our views to the Government, are denied the right of instant debate.

The hon. Member asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 10 for the purpose of discussing an important and specific matter that should have urgent consideration, namely,

"the Anglo-Irish Agreement and the statement by the Prime Minister of the Irish Republic that the question of how security should be organised is one for the conference, thus destroying the sovereignty of this House over security in part of the United Kingdom."
I have listened with great care to what the hon. Member has said. As he knows, my sole duty in considering an application under Standing Order No. 10 is to decide whether it should be given priority over the business already set down for this evening or for tomorrow. I regret that I cannot find that the matter he has raised meets all the criteria laid down in the Standing Order and I cannot therefore submit his application to the House.