§ 10. Mr. McGovern
asked the Minister of Shipping the reason for placing the steamship "Al Rawdah" at the service of the Government of Northern Ireland as a sea prison for 216 internees, in view of the need for conserving our shipping, the cost of this ship and the alterations made; and whether he has made inquiry as to the safety of the lives of the persons interned in this anchored prison ship in view of the chances of bombing or submarine attack?
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Shipping (Sir Arthur Salter)
The "Al Rawdah" was placed at the disposal of the Government of Northern Ireland at their request, and at their cost, to provide accommodation for internees for whose safe custody Northern Ireland was responsible and for whom they had, at that time, no other suitable accommodation available. As regards the cost falling on the Government of Northern Ireland, and the policy of using a ship for this purpose, I would suggest that the hon. Member address his inquiry to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department.
§ Mr. McGovern
Can no action be taken to see that shipping is put to proper use and that the Government of Northern Ireland are allowed to provide on their own territory some means of maintaining these persons instead of in shipping?
§ Sir A. Salter
Certainly, the Minister of Shipping would be extremely happy if it were possible to make any other arrangement which would release this shipping. At the urgent request of the Government of Northern Ireland we had no alternative to shipping accommodation, and this ship was provided. As to the policy of commandeering shipping for that purpose, I suggest that the Question be addressed to the Home Department.
§ Mr. McGovern
Can representations be addressed to the Government of Northern Ireland by the hon. Gentleman's Department, with a view to seeing that this ship is released? Surely representations can be made?