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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 26 Jun 1952

Vol. 132 No. 12

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Emigration to England.

asked the Taoiseach if he is in a position to state how many persons have left this country over the past 12 months to take up work in England.

The information which the Deputy requests is not available.

As was stated by the Minister for External Affairs, in reply to a Dáil question on the 23rd April, 1952, the British Government abandoned, on the 7th April, 1952, the system instituted during the war whereby Irish citizens were required to have passports or travel permits for entry to Britain. No passport or travel permit is now required by an Irish citizen entering Britain. Statistics compiled on the basis of such travel documents are not, therefore, available for any period later than the end of March last.

In any event, as has repeatedly been pointed out, no accurate information as to the numbers of persons going to take up work in Britain could be derived from the statistics based on travel documents. In fact, for reasons which I stated in my reply to a Dáil question on the 1st May, 1952, those statistics were seriously misleading.

Irrespective of whatever regulations the British Government might make with regard to identity cards, surely the Taoiseach must agree that there ought to be a strict check on this very important matter.

That we should have a system of travel permits permitting people to leave the country?

How can we get the statistics required otherwise directly?

From the shipping companies.

I am not suggesting a specific remedy but surely the Taoiseach or the Government ought to consider whether there should be some check on the number of young men and young women or old men or old women who are required or who volunteer to go to Britain to work. Possibly it could be done through the employment exchanges or the shipping companies or the airports.

I do not know about that. I know there was an attempt made before to have something of the kind but it was found to be unsatisfactory. However, I will look into the matter.