The Stormont Papers
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Volume 2 (1922) / Pages 1159 - 1160
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Volume 2 / Page 1160

is it that it would be the biggest thing this Parliament has accomplished during the last twelve months if it could secure the free entry of our cattle into the ports and markets of Great Britain. This six days' quarantine should be taken off as a compliment to the fact that Ulster is part of the United Kingdom.

These are all the points I wish to bring before the House. The particular point to which I intended to refer was the question of the Boundary, so that we might have from the Prime Minister a statement that would carry such weight as would settle the matter in the minds of the people so far as Ulster is concerned. I thank the Prime Minister for that statement. It was most handsomely, unreservedly, and courageously made. I do hope that in these other matters to which I have alluded the Government will do all they can. I know we have our representatives in the British House of Commons, but at the same time the voice of Ulster as coming from this House and from the Government will strengthen the hands of our representatives in the British House of Commons, and will secure for us the right of free entry into the ports of Great Britain such as we accord to that country.

The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE MINISTRY OF FINANCE (Captain Dixon): I have been asked to reply to the points raised by the hon. Member for Tyrone, and might I say I think the Government are under an obligation to him for some very helpful criticism. The first point he raised was with regard to cottages for ex-servicemen. This question was one that affected the British Exchequer only. The print that was made in the Imperial House was that the money for ex-Servicemen's houses was given by the British people as a token of thanks to Irish ex-soldiers and they intended to keep control of this money. They went so far as to say that no matter what Committee was set up they would retain a majority on that Committee so as to control these funds. In the Imperial House of Commons we made exactly the same case as the hon. Member for Tyrone and Fermanagh has made here to-day, but they would not agree to our proposals. They will, however, set up an office in London which will carry on all the work now done in connection with this fund by the Local Government Board in the South, of Ireland and in Ulster, and no matter what happens the building of cottages for ex-Servicemen will continue. That was made perfectly clear, and I hope that the reply will satisfy my hon. Friend. The point really is this: this is not a Southern Ireland fund or a Northern Ireland fund. It is a British fund. The people in Great Britain are perfectly satisfied to carry on in the way they are doing now, getting the help which

will be given them by our Government. Whether the Southern Government will make it possible for them to carry on in the South or not is a question I cannot answer, and I do not think that at the moment it affects us. I can assure my hon. Friend that the building of these houses will continue, and that in no case will the Ulsterman suffer. May I quote what I said in the Imperial House?

I readily accept the assurance that has been given by the hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies

that no matter whether we go from his Department or not that is, the Colonial Office

or no matter whether the Local Government Board is scrapped or not, the building of houses for ex-Servicemen in Ireland will go on. That was the statement which he made.

I readily accept it. I think that deals with that point. The next point raised was the question of the five years during which the Council of Ireland will be in abeyance. The reply to that is, that had it not been for the extraordinary efforts which our Prime Minister made in London, the Council of Ireland would now be in existence, and we would actually be under that body at the present moment. The British Government could not get away from the Treaty. They would not alter one line of the Treaty, and therefore our Prime Minister was able to prevent us from going under this Council of Ireland by getting Mr. Cosgrave to agree to put this matter off for five years. I think in doing that the Prime Minister did a very great work for Ulster. It must be clear to everyone that we are improving our position every day we are out of the Council of Ireland. I am sure everyone will agree I am sure my hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Coote) will agree that in five years' time we will certainly be in a very much better position than we are in now. The point I wish to make is that it was not our Prime Minister who fixed this period of five years, but we had either to put the matter off for five years or to go automatically under the Council of Ireland. Mr. Bonar Law declared distinctly that he would not bring in an Amending Bill. I think I need not go further into that matter.

The third point made by my hon. Friend (Mr. Coote) referred to the six days' detention of Irish cattle. With every word he said this House is in agreement. I think the treatment meted out to the farmers of Ireland, North and South, has been disgraceful. I think no one could defend it. We saw Mr. Bonar Law. No one could have met us more sympathetically, but he said that he had to take over the commitments of the late Gov

 
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