Speeches, etc.

Margaret Thatcher

Letter to Neil Kinnock MP (ban on Martin Galvin entering Britain)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: No.10 Downing Street
Source: Thatcher Archive
Editorial comments:
Importance ranking: Minor
Word count: 488
Themes: Law & order, Northern Ireland, Terrorism

Dear Mr Kinnock,

Thank you for your letter about the violence which attended Mr. Galvin 's recent appearance in Northern Ireland.

First, may I say that further death and injury in Northern Ireland is a cause of sadness whatever the circumstances. Second, I should like to express again my support for the RUC (two of whose officers died from terrorist murder on 12 August) in their difficult task.

Mr. Galvin is Publicity Director of NORAID, which has rightly been described by an American court as an agent of the IRA. In his last visit to Northern Ireland, in April of this year, Mr. Galvin made a public speech in which he said he was “encouraged” by the IRA's murder of a British soldier which had taken place the previous evening. On learning that Mr. Galvin intended to lead a NORAID group to Northern Ireland last week, the Secretary of State for James PriorNorthern Ireland asked the Leon BrittanHome Secretary to consider exercising his power under the Immigration Act 1971 to prohibit the entry of a person whose exclusion is, in the words of the Act, “conducive to the public good” . After considering the views of his colleagues the Home Secretary decided that it was appropriate for him to make an order excluding Mr. Galvin from the United Kingdom. Mr. Galvin was informed that the order had been made. [end p1]

I see no purpose in an independent inquiry into the decision to exclude Mr. Galvin from the United Kingdom. The facts are already publicly available. Whether people should be free to come here from abroad against the background which I have indicated may be a matter for argument but will not be resolved by an inquiry.

You also suggest an independent inquiry into the police action on 12 August. The police have a duty to investigate the death of Mr. Downes and to submit a report to the Director of Public Prosecutions, who will decide whether criminal proceedings are appropriate. Other allegations which might lead to criminal proceedings, if substantiated, must be similarly investigated. Sir John HermonThe Chief constable of the RUC has appointed the Deputy Chief Constable with a team of officers to conduct an inquiry into these matters and other aspects of the police operation on 12 August. You will have seen that a preliminary report has already been received and that the Chief Constable is in touch with H.M. Inspectorate of Constabulary who will advise on the inquiry, and monitor its progress.

Since you released your letter to the press, I am also publishing this reply.

Yours sincerely,

David Barelay

Approved by the Prime Minister and signed in her absence.