HC Deb 28 June 1984 vol 62 c1151
12. Dr. Mawhinney

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, in the light of the European Economic Community election results in Northern Ireland, how he is now seeking to learn and assimilate the political views of the minority community.

Mr. Prior

I recognise the importance of maintaining close contact with political and other community leaders of the minority who reject violence, especially the hon. Member for Foyle (Mr. Hume) and his party, who plainly speak for most people on that side of the community. Proper account needs to be taken of the minority's views and the issues that are of concern to it.

Dr. Mawhinney

Does my right hon. Friend accept that the votes cast for the political face of violence in the recent election represented deep alienation? If he accepts that, will he impress upon the Irish Government the fact that if they are concerned about alienation and the threat of it spreading into the Republic, it is time for them to join him in making it clear that, whatever the political aspirations may be, the reality is that there is no way forward through a united Ireland and that people must come to terms with that if progress is to be made?

Mr. Prior

During Monday's debate I hope to set out a number of realities which one must bear in mind in assessing the New Ireland Forum's report and other documents. I entirely agree with what my hon. Friend has said.

Mr. Soley

Does the Secretary of State accept that it is not just a matter of the learning and assimilation of minority views, but also of majority views? Does not the lack of coherence of British Government policy lead to gross uncertainty in both the minority and majority communities in Northern Ireland, with the result that people turn to authoritarian candidates and authoritarian parties on both sides of the political divide?

Mr. Prior

Nothing is as incoherent as saying that one is in favour of a united Ireland, and working towards that end, while knowing that the people of Northern Ireland would not be prepared to accept it.

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