§ 1. Mr. Dunlop
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what are the regulations governing the entry of guide dogs for the blind into food shops &c., in Northern Ireland.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Mr. Ray Carter)
No regulations have been made on this matter; but a circular of guidance will be issued in a week or so to district councils. The circular will suggest that, when public health inspectors are discussing with managers of food premises the exclusion of dogs, they should recommend that an exception be made in the case of guide dogs for the blind and that notices requesting customers not to bring dogs into the premises should specifically exempt guide dogs.
§ Mr. Dunlop
I thank the Minister for his reply. Is he aware that the practice of non-admission of guide dogs for the blind is widespread in places such as hotels, restaurants, bars and food shops in Northern Ireland? Will he make a public declaration of the regulations he has just mentioned in order to encourage all those who at present refuse admittance to guide dogs into their various premises to allow them in? The blind in Northern Ireland are just as blind as the blind in Great Britain, and they need this assistance.
§ Mr. Carter
Our attitude towards guide dogs for the blind is the same in Northern Ireland as it is for the rest of the United Kingdom. We hope that the circular to be issued in a fortnight's time will get wide publicity and that as a result guide dogs will gain admittance to all premises.