HC Deb 12 May 1983 vol 42 c914
23. Mr. Kilfedder

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on his discussions with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland.

Mr. Prior

I visited Dublin on 5 May and had useful discussions on matters of common concern with Mr. Barry, the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Ireland, and met the Prime Minister, Dr. FitzGerald.

Mr. Kilfedder

Are the Government of the Republic of Ireland aware that the vast majority of the people of Northern Ireland have come to appreciate the value of the Northern Ireland Assembly as a means of dealing with the bureaucracy and helping to shape legislation, or at least influence Government policy in Northern Ireland?

Mr. Prior

The Government of the Republic are more aware of the advantages of the Assembly than they were, but I wish that they would feel able to bring perhaps a little more pressure to bear on the SDLP to take part.

Mr. J. Enoch Powell

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the fateful role in the past four years that meetings with Prime Ministers of the Irish Republic have played and that many have lost their lives in Northern Ireland as a result of the implications of what has emerged from those meetings?

Mr. Prior

I refute that last remark totally. I do not believe that the good relations that ought to exist between the North of Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have anything to do with the consequential level of violence in Northern Ireland. It would be an enormous mistake to allow that impression to persist.