HC Deb 22 April 1987 vol 114 cc659-60
10. Mr. Dubs

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he plans to meet the Foreign Minister of the Irish Republic to discuss Anglo-Irish relations.

Mr. Eggar

My right hon. and learned Friend sees the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Ireland most frequently at meetings of the European Community member states.

Mr. Dubs

Will the Minister comment on relations with the Dublin Government, and will he confirm that the new Irish Prime Minister and the new Irish Government have shown a positive attitude to the Anglo-Irish Agreement and to the Intergovernmental Conference, which is meeting today? Will he comment also on whether this augurs well for more rapid developments in future?

Mr. Eggar

We have excellent relations with the Republic of Ireland and I can confirm that we have made a good start in conducting business with the new Irish Government.

Mr. Gow

Does my hon. Friend believe that the Anglo-Irish Agreement has led, or will lead, to peace, stability and reconciliation in the Province?

Mr. Eggar

We believe that the agreement has improved the framework of co-operation in a number of areas. We wish to continue to build on that agreement.

Mr. Duffy

Is the Minister aware that today's Intergovernmental Conference will almost certainly signal Mr. Lenihan's intention to raise with the Foreign Secretary at their next meeting the worsening job discrimination involving Catholics in Northern Ireland? If the Foreign Secretary and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland do not act urgently to check the growing imbalance in the public as well as the private sector, the present McBride principles campaign will continue to gain ground, not only in the United States, but in other countries, notably Scandinavia.

Mr. Eggar

I have taken careful note of the hon. Gentleman's views, but that is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Mr. Peter Bruinvels

Has my hon. Friend been able to discuss with the Irish Foreign Minister the matter of border incursions? As the Anglo-Irish Agreement is in practice, does he not agree that there should be give and take on both sides, rather than difficulties being caused every time a member of the armed forces from the north crosses into the south?

Mr. Eggar

I have taken careful note of my hon. Friend's comments, but, again, I must refer him to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.