HC Deb 07 December 1971 vol 827 cc1123-4
Q8. Mr. Biggs-Davison

asked the Prime Minister what further exchanges he has had with the Prime Minister of the Irish Republic about matters of common concern; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister

Mr. Lynch made a formal call upon me for a short time yesterday afternoon. In the course of our meeting we touched on a number of matters of common interest, but this was not the occasion for discussions in depth or detail.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Was it made clear to our always welcome visitor that, despite the recent utterances of the Leader of the Opposition—not to mention the remarks of the hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley)—the bipartisan pledge remains that Northern Ireland will not be separated from Britain against the wishes of its Parliament? Would not the best expression of Irish unity today be a common strategy against forces which are at least as dangerous to Mr. Lynch as to Mr. Faulkner?

The Prime Minister

Mr. Lynch fully understands the nature of the 1949 Act and the undertakings given by successive Prime Ministers since then—undertakings which were repeated by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition in the debate on Northern Ireland last week.

Mr. McNamara

Did the Prime Minister of Ireland expound on any of the suggestions in my right hon. Friend's speech—in particular, did he speak about the need for international discussions as between the two countries on the future constitution of Northern Ireland?

The Prime Minister

I explained to the Prime Minister of the Republic that the Leader of the Opposition and I had a private discussion since the debate about the manner in which the talks might be organised. He told me he had been considering the way in which this could also be done in the Republic.

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