HC Deb 12 May 1983 vol 42 c913
20. Mr. Stephen Ross

asked the Secretary State for Northern Ireland whether he has any plans to meet the Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland.

Mr. Prior

I met the Taoiseach during my visit to Dublin on 5 May.

Mr. Ross

Although I welcome the right hon. Gentleman's meeting with the present Taoiseach, I congratulate him on his refusal to comment on the perfectly understandable remarks of his colleague the Secretary of State for Defence while he was there. Can it be pointed out from the House how much we feel that the tactics of the former Taoiseach are not helping relations between the United Kingdom and Southern Ireland and that the more that we can build up these relations the better it will be for all of us?

Mr. Prior

I think that it would be unwise for me to comment on that.

Mr. Molyneaux

In the regrettable event of a return visit by the Prime Minister of the Irish Republic or any future meeting with him, does the Secretary of State feel that it would be beneficial to have with him the present Secretary of State for Defence?

Mr. Prior

I do not think that that is a very relevant question, but I should always be pleased to take my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence anywhere.

Rev. Ian Paisley

When the Secretary of State met the Taoiseach, did he raise with him the matter of extradition? Will he assure the House that that will be the number one topic for discussion between the Taoiseach and the United Kingdom Government?

Mr. Prior

The talks were private, but I can say that it would be an extraordinary occasion when the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland visited anyone in the Republic and did not raise that subject.

Mr. Stanbrook

Did my right hon. Friend tell the Prime Minister of the Irish Republic that a period of quiet on his part and on the part of other Republican politicians in the South would be beneficial to all parties?

Mr. Prior

I do not think that it is quite for me to tell him that, but I assure my hon. Friend that I stressed the need for care in what was said—and that goes for a lot of other people, too.