18 FEBRUARY 1949, Page 18


SIR,—I am sorry that Professor Savory found the heading In Darkest Belfast offensive. It was merely meant to indicate that to me Belfast was a mysterious and unknown place. I am even sorrier that he has caught me out on two points of fact. The first is not so important. I was well aware that voluntary Protestant schools exist in Northern Ireland, but in order to simplify, not to mislead, I ignored them. For the issue is this ; Roman Catholic schools cannot be transferred to the Local Education Authorities because of their church's well-known rules about the method of religious teaching. Therefore no Roman Catholic school can receive a grant in excess of 65 per cent. I inserted no innuendo to the effect that this is religious discrimination. I said that Roman Catholics consider it to be so. And so they do. I cannot help it.

I am far more contrite about the second point. Owing to my having stupidly misread the Ulster Year Book, the figures which I gave for political prisoners were wrong. ("Political prisoners " is not a propa- ganda term, but is used to describe those who have been imprisoned under the Special Powers Acts of 1922 and 1933.) During the war years the daily average of those in prisoa for offences under these Acts did average between three and four hundred, but this was, of course, a very special period. I have not been able to get hold of earlier figures. There are at present, in spite of the 1945 release of internees, about a dozen men imprisoned under these Acts.

I am grateful to Professor Savory for rightly contesting my facts, but do wish he would not suspect me of some strange green design to stain the orange. I am only attempting the rare job of observing Irish affairs