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Mr. Robinson : I heard the hon. Gentleman's question when he was standing, so I do not need to hear it again when he is in a sedentary position. The Ulster Democratic Unionist party has consistently supported the security forces. It has never been a party to violence in any form. The hon. Gentleman, who has a history in Northern Ireland of street politics, is the last person whom I shall allow to lecture me on the subject. The Ulster Democratic Unionist party has no relationship with any organisation that is involved in terrorist activity.
Whenever the Government are asked whether they are prepared to take tough and resolute action on the security
Column 180front, they say that it would be counter- productive to do so. In a letter to my hon. Friend the Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley), the Prime Minister said that such a course would damage the integrity and credibility of constitutional politics and the institutions of the state--damage which he believed would be irreparable. Therefore, he implied that, if one took tough and resolute action on the security front, there would be an advantage to the terrorists.
Everyone knows that terrorism thrives particularly in a liberal democracy, and that terrorism enjoys the fact that in a liberal democracy people must have recourse to emergency legislation. However, the one thing that the terrorist dislikes most is that no appeasement is given to him as a result of his terrorist activity. An intervention was made in the speech of the Father of the House in which it was suggested that the Government had not made any concession to violence. That was inaccurate. The Government have consistently made many concessions.
One concession that stands out is the Anglo-Irish Agreement. It was a major concession to violence. When the then Prime Minister signed the agreement, she said, "I simply could not allow the violence to continue." She clearly indicated to the public and to the world that her signature on the Anglo- Irish agreement was brought about by the violence of the Provisional IRA.
If the terrorist organisations know that they have the ability to gain concessions from the Government through their violence, the certainty is that violence will continue. Indeed, after the Anglo-Irish Agreement was signed, the publicity officer of the IRA, one Danny Morrison, said that the Anglo-Irish Agreement had been won by the sacrifices of the volunteers. He implied that, the more violence there was, the more concessions there would be. That being the fact, the Government have encouraged violence by the political actions that they have taken.
The Government's acceptance that the Government of the Irish Republic can be involved in a joint authority under the Anglo-Irish Agreement is an encouragement to those who carry out violence on the nationalist side to continue their violence. It is essential that the Government make no concessions to either those who are directly involved in violence or those who ride on the back of those who are involved in violence. It is essential also that the Government are prepared to use the full rigour of the law against the terrorist organisations.
The Minister responsible for security has equated requests that my hon. Friend the Member for Antrim, North made for more resolute action on the security front with a request that the security forces should act outside the law. That was not the case. The security forces must act within the law. But if the law is not adequate to allow the security forces to deal with the terrorism, it is necessary to frame new legislation and give them additional powers. It is essential that there should be tougher sentences. There should be minimum or mandatory sentences, so that the courts can ensure that those who are involved are put away for a time that fits the crime that they have committed.
Rev. Ian Paisley : I am sure that my hon. Friend's attention has been drawn to the case in our courts yesterday. Although they were not charged with murder, five men killed a constituent and friend of mine by
Column 181ambushing his car. What did they get? None of them got more than four years. When the Northern Ireland Office was questioned by the press, it confirmed :
"Most of those sentenced will be free in just over two years". Does my hon. Friend appreciate the outrage of Thomas McNabney and the whole family at the way in which the matter has been handled and especially at the sentences? Young Ivor was doing a Christian job in charity, and was so killed.
Mr. Robinson : I certainly can concur with my hon. Friend's remarks. Last night on television, I saw the sad sight of the father of the young man being interviewed. How can anyone ever justify a sentence of four years? The life of the killed man is worth only four years of the life of his killer. There can be no justification for such a light sentence. I trust that those with authority in the House will consider reviewing it. It is essential that a tough sentence should be given to those involved in such a killing.
In addition to the necessity for tougher action against terrorists, it is important that those with responsibility for the security forces at grass roots level make full use of the powers that already exist. About two weeks ago, on a Wednesday evening at about 11.15, the Royal Irish Regiment carried out a number of road stops in the markets areas of Belfast. In effect, the regiment closed off the whole of the markets area.
During the road stops, a gunman opened fire on a soldier and attempted to kill him. He shot the soldier through the face. The soldier was taken to intensive care in a local hospital. The RIR had sufficient personnel on the ground to carry out a house-to-house search of the area. There was a divisional mobile support unit in the nearby Musgrave street police station.
The person in charge of the regiment asked for permission to conduct a house-to-house search of the area to get the gunman who had attempted to kill one of his soldiers and the weapon. Both the gunman and the weapon will undoubtedly be used in further attempts to kill, if not in killings. Permission was refused by an assistant chief constable. If we are to win the war against State said that the security forces are not handcuffed in any way. I have given one example of where they were handcuffed and were not allowed to do the job. The colleagues of the young man had to sit back and not take action that would have apprehended the man responsible for attempting to kill one of them.
Sir Patrick Mayhew : The hon. Gentleman misrecalls what I said. I said that the Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary had referred to frequent assertions in the wake of one terrorist outrage after another that the security forces are handcuffed and that the handcuffs should be removed. The Chief Constable went on to say that there was no restraint of any kind whatever imposed from any political quarter on what the RUC can do in the defence of law.
Column 182know why the assistant chief constable refused permission to the RIR to carry out a house-to-house search to find the person who attempted to kill a soldier and remove the weapon used.
In conclusion, after a quarter of a century of terrorism in Northern Ireland, far from being defeated, it is stronger than it has ever been. It is stronger because of a Government policy that encourages those who are involved in terrorism by making concessions and appeasing them. It has grown stronger because tough, resolute security initiatives have not been taken against terrorists. In 25 years' time, Members of this House will gather once more and say to themselves and each other, "Isn't it terrible how terrorism continues in Northern Ireland?" Terrorism will continue until this failed Government security policy is put to rest and a new initiative is taken to defeat terrorists through tough, resolute military action.
Mr. Seamus Mallon (Newry and Armagh) : Reference has been made to 25 years on several occasions. The House will forgive me if I start further back than that at the very foundation of the state 72 years ago. From its very foundation the north of Ireland has never had anything other than emergency legislation. It was then called the Special Powers Act.
From the very day and hour that the state was formed it has been sustained by draconian emergency legislation, military might, soldiers, not one police service but on certain occasions two and on others three, and by the inpouring of billions of pounds--according to the Secretary of State, £3.5 billion last year.
There is a fundamental question to be asked outside of the legalities of the emergency provisions legislation, of the statistics and of the emotions that it engenders. Where a state or a statelet is formed with the weight of the British Government behind it in military and financial terms and in terms of the emergency provisions legislation, the Prevention of Terrorism Acts and the Special Powers Act and still the problem remains, is there not a fundamental question to ask?
Is it not even more fundamental to ask why, after 72 years, all those measures have never brought peace, stability or unity of purpose to the north of Ireland? There is something much more fundamental than the points that have been made about terrorist violence, statistics and the legalities of the Act, as my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) admirably pointed out.
The question must be repeated : will the north of Ireland for as long as it lasts in its present form require armies to sustain it, lookout posts to defend it, emergency provisions Acts, prevention of terrorism Acts and billions of pounds per year? That is the question that we should be asking ourselves. That question is at the heart of this debate.
The Father of the House made a valiant attempt to face up to it and the House of Commons should face up to it. Year after year we skirt around the subject. We do not deal with the core of the problem because the core hurts. It is much easier to indulge ourselves in self-righteousness, righteous anger or whatever emotion happens to be taking us.
After 72 years, has not the 1921 arrangement that set up the north of Ireland failed abysmally to deliver peace,
Column 183stability, economic well-being and a future for the people there? Is it not an artificial entity that can be sustained only by this type of militarism and emergency legislation? Is it not further the case that until fundamental changes are made in that arrangement violence, unrest and political instability will continue whether we like it or not? That is a core problem and it is not popular to say so in the House.
It is strange that I have yet to meet a Member who, when I talk to him privately over a cup of tea or something stronger, does not ask the same question that I am asking now : is it not the case that the north of Ireland constitutional arrangement of 1921 is not capable of being sustained except by military might, repressive legislation and what we have seen during the past 72 years? That is one of the issues that the House must start to consider.
The fundamental reasons for failure are not the Army, the police, the courts or the Ministers because we have had all kinds of generals, Chief Constables and Ministers and God knows how many regiments of soldiers. They cannot all be equally bad. It is not their fault. They are put in a situation where they have to sustain the unsustainable and make the unworkable work. Unless we face that problem and make the fundamental changes that are required, more Ministers will go over to Northern Ireland to suffer the same type of frustration and failure, more hon. Members like us will come and suffer the same frustration as that to which we give vent here and more people will have worse to deal with--their lives will be lost.
We must all face up, honestly, to a number of false premises. One is inherent in the order. One cannot make the legal process solve what are essentially political problems, but that is what has been attempted. A political problem is staring us in the face and has been doing so since 1921. An attempt has been made to use the law to solve it. The only way in which that can be done, however, is by diminishing, bending and retarding the law. It has been made to do something that it is simply not geared to do. As long as we keep tinkering with the law to try to make it do just that, we will do more damage to its integrity and the process of law.
The law does not exist to solve political problems. It exists for different reasons. That is the first premise which must be challenged when we consider the emergency legislation.
The second false premise that must be considered is the erroneous view that, somehow or other, if one has a problem such as that which exists in Northern Ireland and if one throws more troops and police at it, builds more Army installations and lookout posts, pours more billions of pounds into it and makes more emergency laws, as the Chief Constable recommends that we should do, that will result in more successful policing, greater intelligence information, more arrests and less terrorism. We need only listen to the speech of the hon. Member for Belfast, East (Mr. Robinson) to be convinced that the more one does that, the more one adds to terrorism.
An erroneous paradox exists in Northern Ireland--the greater the intensity of security, the more the community suffers ; the more that community suffers, the less the police are able to gather real intelligence from it. That means that the terrorist is laughing all the way to his next atrocity because he knows the political reality. The terrorist also knows that the security operation in Northern Ireland, perhaps through no fault of its own or misdirection, but because of the fundamental flaw in its purpose, has strangled its own capacity for detection. The
Column 184security arrangements are defeating their own purpose. One need only look at the figures relating to those charged with terrorist offences who come from the mainstream Catholic areas and the mainstream Protestant areas to realise that that is the case. Intelligence information is not coming through to the police because the security operation has strangled itself. The gap between the police and the community has grown to such an extent that that intelligence information is simply not there, despite what people will say.
When are we ever going to address that fundamental flaw in the security operation ? When will we realise that there is a problem with policing in the north of Ireland--not with the police. That problem is a political, historical, ideological reactive one. It is for that reason that the IRA can operate in my constituency, almost impervious to the battery of security that operates around it. That is why the IRA was able to move down to Cullaville village, right under one of the look-out posts which houses all the most sophisticated observation equipment, and take it over for two hours with huge machine guns. The Army personnel stood up in their look-out post and watched.
I do not blame the Army for not coming down, but I blame the people who put them up in that observation post. I blame those who have created a situation in which fools are being made not just of the soldiers, the Ministers and myself but of the entire community. That community now realises the strength of the position that we all, in our own way, have given to the terrorists. We must face up to that fact because we are faced continuously with such behaviour by terrorists.
Until we realise that there is a fundamental problem with policing, as it affects the nationalist community, we will not solve that problem. That will also make it much more difficult to solve the other extraneous problems.
The rake's progress continues. Every year we all say the same things. Every year we have a knee-jerk reaction to this order. If one is feeling in a good mood, one tries to soften that reaction slightly, but if one is a bad mood, one tries to tell the truth. Telling the truth in a political forum is not always the most advisable thing to do, but that is much more healthy than to have the type of ritual dance on the problems that we have once a year while ignoring their roots.
I began by referring to the Special Powers Act. Let us remind ourselves what John Vorster, Minister of Justice in South Africa, said when he introduced the Coercion Bill :
"I would be willing to exchange all the legislation of that sort for one clause in the Northern Ireland Special Powers Act." What has changed since then?
It is interesting to consider that Act. I know that the Minister will go away and read it. The power to arrest without a warrant and to be held for 48 hours for interrogation is included in the EPA and it was also added to the Special Powers Act. Internment without trial, powers of search and entry without warrant, the prohibition of the right of assembly and the outlawing of organisations was also permitted under those two Acts. Exclusion orders, would the House believe it, are permitted under the Special Powers Act and the PTA. A prohibition on the holding of inquests is not set down in statute, but operates in practice. Such is the relationship between the Northern Ireland EPA and the order that we are debating tonight.
Column 185One can see clearly that the legislation may have been softened at the edges and that changes have been made--I admit that the paragraph about which Vorster talked has been changed fundamentally--but it is the same animal with furry boots. It has existed since 1921.
Mr. Molyneaux : Would the hon. Gentleman be generous enough to look to the southern end of the island where he will find that the same kind of legislation was introduced to protect that state from its enemies within? Is it not a fact that very similar legislation currently operates in the Irish Republic, including something even equivalent to provisions for internment?
Mr. Mallon : I accept that point. We would not have the problem if the legislation in the south had succeeded. Emergency legislation in the south has failed as much as ours. The problem there is the same as ours. There is a fundamental political flaw within the island of Ireland, from which those in the south suffer as we do. No matter how often people are interned or how much emergency legislation is introduced, those in the south have the same problem as we have. Unfortunately, we share the same failure.
Are we progressing at all? The most depressing things that I have seen for a long time were the recommendations by the Chief Constable about additional powers, which we must consider closely. One recommendation was the removal of the right to silence when questioned about a crime. In The Independent on Wednesday 2 June, a well known QC in this city, Anthony Scrivener, said of the Asil Nadir case that the powers given to the Serious Fraud Office were the widest powers of
"any British institution since the Star Chamber".
That is the view of an eminent QC in London. He should make the EPA and the PTA his bedroom reading for at least a few nights, because it is the very right to silence--the refusal to answer questions--which the Chief Constable said should become an offence. Where is the difference? We are supposed to be part of Britain. We are supposed to share the benefits and advantages, but the Chief Constable of the north of Ireland makes that demand in the face of the legal opinion of Anthony Scrivener.
The Chief Constable also states that accomplice evidence should be more readily admissible. We saw what accomplice evidence did to the court system and the north of Ireland. We know how many people are running about in the north of Ireland and here as a result of accomplice evidence which simply could not be sustained. The Chief Constable wants to reintroduce that provision.
The Chief Constable also states that the burden of proof in defined circumstances should shift to the accused. The most basic legal principle that has existed in the western world is to be jettisioned because the Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary believes that, unless a person convicts himself, it will be impossible successfully to bring a case against him. Is that not pushing the panic button and doing something dreadful to the legal process? Does it not further demean the law? Is it not an admission from the Chief Constable that, unless the accused is placed in a position where he will make a confession or condemn himself out of his own mouth, the
Column 186Chief Constable will be incapable of obtaining the evidence necessary to put the accused behind bars if he is guilty? That is what the Chief Constable is saying.
The Chief Constable is right--one figure shows that 86 per cent. of those charged and convicted under emergency legislation are convicted on their own evidence. If we pursue that line, the law in the north of Ireland will be in tatters. If we take the action recommended by the hon. Members for Antrim, South (Mr. Forsythe) and for Upper Bann (Mr. Trimble), we shall further diminish the law to a point way beyond the Special Powers Act begun in 1921. Surely, that would not be progress and that is not the way to advance.
I know that the Secretary of State is a wise and learned lawyer and I believe that he has a respect for the law derived from his profession. I know that he would share my view that, not only is the law too precious to be left to lawyers, but it is much too precious to be left to policemen. It should be guarded by all hon. Members so that we do not allow even the consideration of such possibilities. When I read the Chief Constable's analysis it made me despair almost as much as I despair of the terrorism that he is trying to prevent. Internment is still on the statute book, and I shall not describe its history, or its merits or demerits in detail. All I say is that we must get rid of internment if only to get rid of the knee jerk reactions that we see every time a particularly bad atrocity is committed. We should do so because at least we would take such venom out of the air.
The notion that internment can work successfully in modern society is based on the belief that there are those within the governmental, policing, army or intelligence systems who know who are committing the terrible acts. There are politicians in the House and people outside the House who believe that, but it is not true. It is time that we addressed the issue of internment. We should get it out of the way because sooner or later some of us, whether we are in Government or Opposition, will have to start putting Humpty Dumpty together again. We cannot do that on the basis of a further diminishing of the law.
I shall recount an incident involving the issue of search and arrest. A few weeks ago two young men in my constituency had the milking machine on in their milking parlour as they were ready to go milking. A section of the Army arrived in their yard and asked them for proof of identity. The young men were dressed for milking cows and were not carrying proof of identity in their own milking parlour so could not make it available to the Army. They were bundled into a Land Rover and, after receiving considerable abuse, they were taken to Markethill police station.
I was immediately informed of the incident. Those young men were arrested under the emergency provisions legislation and the Prevention of Terrorism Act. When I made inquiries, the young men were being released. When I talked to the police it was obvious that they did not believe one word of the soldiers. It was the second time that the family had been treated in such a way. On the first occasion, I was in correspondence with the Minister. I reported the incident to the police, whose views I received. I reported it to the brigadier in charge of the area and the Anglo-Irish Conference. Not one person within the system has been able to say that it was wrong that the event should have occurred and that the soldiers involved would be dealt with. There has been no redress.
Column 187The hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) is smirking--he is enjoying this. It is such abuse of the legislation that is throwing people into the arms of the provisional IRA. I have never raised a specific case on the Floor of the House before and I probably shall not do so again. However, when such a case is fed into the system, but that system is impotent and cannot protect the rights of people against the excesses carried out under such legislation, it makes me despair, not just of the system, but of the legislation. One could speak for ever--I shall not--about elements of the legislation. I shall simply make the same point that I have made every year since I entered the House. Do we want to solve the problem or do we want military victory over the IRA, the UVF, the UDA and whatever else? It is worth thinking about that. Do we want peace and a solution, or do we want to respond to the type of Kiplingesque demands that are consistently made?
Mr. Andrew Hunter (Basingstoke) : I listened with care to the remarks of the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon). Although it was by no means the first time that I have heard him speak, never before had I heard him so strident and intransigent, and I found his remarks depressing. I saw them, first and foremost, as a bleak, ill omen for any hope at some time in the future of restarting the constitutional talks.
If those are the hon. Gentleman's attitudes--of course, he means what he says--one can only conclude that he sees the nationalist community as continuing to be a source, and a provider of succour, for those men of violence, unless the nationalist community gets its own way. What hope is there for normalisation, with that sort of attitude running through? His is a thesis that is devoid of hope. A degree of repetition inevitably characterises these annual debates on the renewal of the provisions of the emergency provisions Act and the prevention of terrorism Act. I am aware that what I say may reflect what I have said in the past. If I am open to that charge, I am sure that the same charge can be levelled against other hon. Members.
Given the tragic fact of the continuation of violence in Northern Ireland by the IRA and various republican groupings on the one hand and, on the other, by so-called loyalist groupings, there is no alternative other than to give the measures our approval, and we should be failing in our duty if we did not do so.
For that reason, I deeply regret the attitude of Opposition Members. I understand their reservations about a number of features in the provisions, but they are making the wrong conclusion in jumping from those reservations to a position of not supporting them. As the saying goes, that gives the wrong signals to this country and especially to the IRA.
I give my full and unequivocal support to the continuance order. I note with interest the unequivocal support given also at various stages by Lord Colville. I cannot recall him writing so succinctly as he writes on page 4 :
"It is impossible to disagree with those who advise that the Act is still needed."
He later adds :
"Any diminution of the determination or capability on the part of the Government and the Security Forces to prevent these crimes or catch the criminals could merely act as an invitation to the opposing faction".
Column 188I particularly welcome his further comment :
"the impact of the EPA is not so dramatic as to affect the majority of the law-abiding public to any great extent."
That suggests that the right balance is being maintained. It adds to my confidence in the continuance order and the other measures. Such measures are demanded by the circumstances and we should be failing in our duty if we did not support them. Any infringement of civil liberties must be accepted with regret as necessary and right. A few points in the report particularly struck me. My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State referred in his opening remarks to the first of the major recommendations, on page 5 : "The Government should give consideration to introducing custody time limits for all persons on remand for indictable offences". I welcomed my right hon. and learned Friend's comments on that point and I believe that we are moving in the right direction. Some of the evidence that has come my way about the situation in Northern Ireland has led me particularly to welcome the sixth recommendation in the report, that
"the Government should consider introducing a code of practice on stop and search' under the EPA."
I have felt for some time that that matter demanded attention. I was grateful to my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for enabling me to intervene in his speech to mention the matter of greatest concern to me measures relating to the confiscation of terrorist funds. I sincerely hope that the amendments will close any existing loophole and that soon there will be something to show for those measures.
It is obvious that terrorism flourishes, among other things, on its financial support, its financial means and its ability to finance its operations. It is regrettable that there has been little action in that respect in the past, but I hope that the reassurances and optimism that characterised my right hon. and learned Friend's speech will soon become reality.
I give a warm welcome to the measures, which I believe will again play an important part in combating terrorism.
Mr. David Alton (Liverpool, Mossley Hill) : I am happy to speak following the hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mr. Hunter). Like him, I have come to the conclusion that, unpalatable though it is that there should be a continuing need for measures of this kind, it would send the wrong signals if the House were not to agree to the continuance order.
It cannot be easy for anyone to work up enthusiasm for the measures. The hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) said much with which I agreed. I cannot believe that any hon. Member feels enthusiastic or gung-ho about the measures or believes that, as the hon. Member for Belfast, East (Mr. Robinson) put it, we are doing other than going through the annual ritual of agreeing to the measures. Yet, as I say, it would send the wrong signals not to approve them. We have a duty to continue to maintain what order we can in Northern Ireland and accept that, as Lord Colville says in his report, there is no other choice but to maintain our security and military presence there to ensure that civil war does not break out in Northern Ireland.
Lord Colville comes to the depressing conclusion--perhaps it is the most that he is able to say--that life is
Column 189simply liveable in Northern Ireland. In the same vein, our agreeing to the renewal of the measures tonight merely represents our minimalist objective of allowing life there to be just about liveable.
Surely we can do better than that, and this is where I disagree with some of the remarks of the right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (Sir E. Heath). He talked about excluding members of the Democratic Unionist party- -for example, the hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley)--from the talks process, if that would ensure that some sort of easy agreement could more rapidly be reached. It would be absurd to exclude people from any part of the community in Northern Ireland. The hon. Member for Belfast, East spoke with passion and vigour, as he always does on such occasions, about the reality of life for people in the unionist part of the community. In the same way, the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon) spoke with passion and vigour about the effects of terrorism on the people he represents in the nationalist part of the community in Northern Ireland. No great prizes would be won by excluding either side from the talks process.
Surely we yearn for the day when Sinn Fein renounces violence and becomes part of the process. Let us remember that "Sinn Fein" means "ourselves alone." That sums up the whole problem of people who simply want to look after themselves and their own interests. We desperately need not to exclude people but to listen carefully to what all parts of the community are saying.
Reversing the blood bath and having another alienated group of people in Northern Ireland--on this occasion, the unionist community rather than the nationalists, who have been alienated in the past--would not solve any problems. That is why I believe that the process of talks, difficult though it is, and the process of political progress with which the Secretary of State has so steadfastly persevered, are the right way ahead.
Mr. Mallon : I had hoped to make this point in my speech, but I forgot to do so. Just in case there is any misunderstanding, I am not in favour of excluding anyone from anything. Any future talks must be inclusive and include everyone possible. I certainly have no desire to exclude anyone.
Mr. Alton : I am reassured, although not surprised, to hear the hon. Gentleman say that. He must be right. We need the maximum involvement of everyone in Northern Ireland to make political progress. We have to deal with the democratic deficit there. Although political progress alone may not overcome terrorism--on this, I agree with the hon. Member for Belfast, East--unless we fill the political vacuum we will continue to be in trouble. Such progress can be brought about only by real leadership on the part of the politicians of Northern Ireland, all of whom I admire as individuals. I have visited many of their constituencies and have seen for myself what they have to endure.
I am amazed by their personal stamina and courage in the face of so much tragedy. I enormously admire the way they represent their constituents' interests and their stance against terrorism. I imagine that, as the years pass, all that must take its toll--day after day, they hear of friends, relatives,
Column 190neighbours or political associates being killed. It would be surprising indeed if, after all this has gone on remorselessly, they could be expected to come here and participate like members of a friendly debating society. It is remarkable that they can co- operate as much as they do
Cardinal Daly, in his booklet "Dialogue for Peace", put it very well :
"The problem in Northern Ireland is fundamentally a political one. It is the problem of establishing credible institutions of government able to win the allegiance and merit the trust of both communities." The security problem mirrors that, too. The security institutions must win the trust and confidence of both sides of the community. There is no doubt that confidence is undermined and that the cause of reconciliation is jeopardised by events such as the Stalker affair and the cases of Annie Maguire, the Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six. If these emergency powers lead to any abuses in Northern Ireland, they will continue to endanger opportunities for political progress.
Earlier, the hon. Member for Eltham (Mr. Bottomley) intervened to highlight the case of John Matthews. In common with other hon. Members who have been following the work done by the hon. Member for Foyle (Mr. Hume) on behalf of John Matthews, I have received a letter from his uncle, Danny Kelly. Speaking of his nephew, he writes : "My nephew has never been in trouble with the law before in his life. This is his first time ever being brought before a court. Since John graduated in Geography from Queens University, Belfast in 1992 he has been working and living openly in London with his aunt in Wood Green, north London."
John was put in an identity parade, in which he agreed to take part to try to dispel allegations against him. The witness did not positively pick him out. In his letter, Danny Kelly says : "The witness was convinced that John was not one of two persons who hijacked his taxi and his remarks at this ID parade clearly expressed that. It has now just become known to us that this ID evidence has now been withdrawn by the police at the latest court hearing." Mr. Kelly continues :
"The forensic eded in this case".
The Irish Times of 27 May states :
"According to Irish community activists in London, the 11 people arrested after the April 24th NatWest bombing included a young man who left Belfast earlier this year after the IRA had shot dead his brother. Irish community groups fear that there may be a recurrence of the events of the mid-1970s when the British police forces felt under pressure to respond with arrests to IRA outrages."
If a mistake has been made in this case--I cannot say whether one has been- -we should listen to the representations such as those from Mr. Kelly. So as to ensure that the security forces are not further undermined by the conviction or attempted conviction of the wrong person, I hope that the Secretary of State will be open to that. For the future, we need a far more credible system to uphold the administration of law. Surely the logic of the Anglo-Irish process leads to the idea of a joint security commission, and perhaps some system of examining magistrates who can probe cases of the sort that I have described. In the long term, I would also like joint courts and the joint enactment of legislation such as that under discussion here. The Dail should be asked to pass identical
Column 191legislation concurrently. That would show that both Parliaments are committed to the cause of extinguishing terrorism and of cherishing the democratic ideal.
We must also redouble our efforts to deal with the financing of terrorism. It is an oxygen line that pumps money into organisations such as the IRA, much of it from the United States of America. After the terrible Warrington outrage, I met Mr. Colin Parry, one of the most courageous men I have ever met. His boy was killed in that bombing. He has indicated his wish to go to north America to tell people there what happens to families who get caught up in acts of terrorism.
Within days of Mr. Parry's statement to that effect, it was traduced by members of Noraid. In The Irish People, Martin Galvin tried to turn Mr. Parry's statement on its head. Downing street was good enough to send me a copy of the report which appeared in The Irish People after I wrote to the Prime Minister telling him of Colin Parry's initiative. Noraid had quite erroneously tried to give the impression that the British Government were launching a propaganda exercise to try to capitalise on the deaths at Warrington.
We have to realise what we are up against, but it is right to encourage people such as Colin Parry and Susan McHugh, whom I visited in Dublin recently. She and thousands of ordinary people in Ireland and in this country are saying that they have had enough of this terrorism--here, I echo the remarks of the right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup--and they deserve a response with all the force that we can muster. We must particularly ensure that the funding that still pours into the terrorist organisations is stopped.
After two years of the operation of the new laws, there have as yet been no convictions or sequestration of funds from terrorist groups. We know that many of them are involved in thuggery and gangsterism of the worst sort-- not unlike that of the Mafia. This goes way beyond the terrorism that emerged 20 years ago after the civil rights demonstrations. It is essential that we get to grips with it and ensure that the money used by these organisations is reinvested in the work towards reconciliation that needs to be undertaken throughout these islands.
This is not an Irish problem. William Gladstone pointed out how extraordinary it was that the genius of the British people had failed them in this one area, and it has continued to fail them over the century that has passed since then. The solution has continued to elude us. It is absurd that in this one remaining corner of western Europe the old hatreds and the twin houses of hatred and terrorism should persist, enmeshing and embroiling so many of us.
I am proud to hold, besides my British citizenship, Irish citizenship, because of my mother's origins. I am proud that my three children hold Irish citizenship too. There is so much in both our traditions of which we should be proud. We must build on the things that we hold in common as Europeans. That is how to combat this terrorist plague and to get our relationships right. Unless we do that, we shall come back here year after year into infinity to renew orders of this kind.