HC Deb 25 January 1978 vol 942 cc1357-8
1. Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last met the Irish Foreign Minister.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Frank Judd)

My right hon. Friend last met the Irish Foreign Minister at the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels on 17th January.

Mr. McNair-Wilson

Will the Minister say what representations were made to the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Ireland about the recent remarks by Mr. Lynch about a demand for a British intent to withdraw from Northern Ireland? Does the hon. Gentleman agree that such remarks were an unacceptable intrusion into the domestic affairs of the United Kingdom? Does he also agree that the future of Northern Ireland is a matter not for negotiation between Dublin and London but for the express wishes of the majority of the people in Ulster?

Mr. Judd

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has made the Government's policy in Northern Ireland quite clear on a number of occasions, and most recently in the House on 12th January, when he underlined that the Government are looking for a partnership administration reflecting the interests of both communities in Northern Ireland. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister also made the same point to the Taoiseach at their meeting last September. I refer hon. Members to the Prime Minister's answer on 17th January, when he said that the people of Northern Ireland will remain in the United Kingdom as long as it is their desire to do so.

Mr. Kilfedder

When the Secretary of State met the Eire Foreign Minister, did he emphasise that the continuing failure of the Eire Government to sign the European extradition agreement gives comfort to the terrorists who have fled from Northern Ireland to the Irish Republic after committing atrocities in the Province?

Mr. Judd

The Government have made clear that they regard extradition as the most effective means of dealing with fugitive terrorists. Our views are well known to the Irish Government.

Mr. Henderson

Is the Minister in a position to tell us what support the United Kingdom has had from Ireland on renegotiating the common fisheries policy?

Mr. Judd

It is true to say that there is a great deal of common interest between the position of the Republic of Ireland and ourselves on that issue, and we endeavour to work closely together.