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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 17 Feb 1944

Vol. 92 No. 10

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Parachute Landing.

asked the Minister for External Affairs whether he will state the facts relating to the landing in Ireland by parachute of two men since detained.

Two young Irishmen who had been working in Jersey when the German forces occupied that island were dropped by parachute from German aircraft in the County Clare, one on the 16th and the other on the 19th December, 1943.

Both were arrested shortly after landing and have since been detained.

Arising out of the Minister's reply, could he tell us (1) why did the Germans drop these two young men in this country; (2) if they were spies designed to injure the interests of this country, have representations been made to the German Minister in regard to this act; and (3) is it true that one of these young men was carrying a suit case when first seen by the authorities and that the authorities were subsequently unable to discover what had become of that suit-case; has the suit-case since been found and is the Minister for External Affairs in a position to tell us what was in that suit-case?

In regard to the first question as to why they were dropped, naturally, the authorities are trying to get as much information as they can on that particular matter. In regard to the second question, as to whether they were spies, and so on, and as to whether representations have been made, that matter is also being examined. It is a question which is related to the first question really, and representations have been made. Thirdly, with regard to the suit-case which they were supposed to have brought in—I take it that has particular reference to the same thing— that has been found.

May I suggest to the Minister for External Affairs that if the authorities want to find out why the Germans sent these two men here, they might inquire of the German Minister who, presumably, knows what his own Government is doing? Has the German Minister been asked why he is dropping agents in this country and, if so, what is the German Minister's reply to that inquiry?

The Deputy may be perfectly certain that all pertinent questions have been asked.

May I suggest that Dáil Eireann is entitled to know why a foreign Power is dropping secret agents in this country? I want to ask the Minister for External Affairs has he asked the German Minister why his Government dropped spies in this country and, if he has asked the German Minister that question, what did the German Minister say? Did he say he was anxious about their health and wanted to restore them to their native air, or did he say why they were dropped here?

I am afraid I would have to get more notice of that question.

If I give notice of that question, will the Taoiseach answer it?

I will not promise to give the Deputy, in matters of this sort, full answers to every detail he may ask. I cannot do it.

If the Taoiseach has asked the German Minister why the German Government dropped these agents here, will he at least give me, on notice, the text of the German Minister's reply?

That question, too, will have to be considered, in all the circumstances.

Very well, Sir. I will give you an opportunity of considering it.

The Minister said that representations were made. Was there any answer to the representations?

Communications take a considerable time at present.

It is a long way to the Northumberland Road.

It is a long way to headquarters.

Wireless travels fast.