HC Deb 12 November 1970 vol 806 cc596-7
Q4. Mr. McMaster

asked the Prime Minister what discussions he has had with the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland during the Recess of the problems affecting that area; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Maudling

I have been asked to reply.

My right hon. Friend has had no such discussions, but I recently met the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland for a general exchange of views.

Mr. McMaster

Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied with the adequacy of the security arrangements and particularly with the state of liaison—that there is rapid and easy liaison—between the Army and the R.U.C. in view of the serious threat that was revealed in the evidence during the recent arms trial in Dublin and the discovery of armed men training both north and south of the Border and several caches of arms and ammunition found in I.R.A. hide-outs?

Mr. Maudling

It would be complacent to say that we are satisfied with all the arrangements that have been made, in view of the number of bomb incidents that have occurred and the general troubles in Northern Ireland. However, I am satisfied that liaison between the police and military authorities is being strengthened all the time.

Mr. Rose

Would the right hon. Gentleman consider increasing employment prospects by aiding lame duck industries in Northern Ireland and by reminding the Northern Ireland Government that no reform will have any effect unless it includes the full representation of all the communities there at both local and national government level? Does he appreciate that this would imply a degree of proportional representation in these specific circumstances?

Mr. Maudling

The inducements offered to industry to go to Northern Ireland are very considerable indeed. As for the reform programme, I sometimes think that hon. Members could contribute better to the peace of Northern Ireland if they recognised how big is the effort that has already been put behind the reform programme.

Mr. Stratton Mills

Has my right hon. Friend seen the statement of Mr. Brian Faulkner, Minister of Development, about the bleak position over attracting new industries because of the disturbances there? Will he do everything he can, in consultation with the Northern Ireland Government, to provide incentives to industry to go there as a valuable contribution to restoring normality in Northern Ireland?

Mr. Maudling

Certainly, but incentives are not enough if there is not the prospect of civil peace; and those who create riots are destroying their own livelihood.

Mr. Kaufman

Did the right hon. Gentleman in his discussions with the Northern Ireland Government raise the question of abolishing the work permit system, taking into account the great resentment that is felt among British workmen, particularly those in Manchester, at being prevented from working in Northern Ireland when, through their taxes, they are contributing large sums to subsidise Northern Ireland?

Mr. Maudling

That did not arise in the course of my discussions.