HC Deb 12 November 1987 vol 122 c546
8. Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what proposals he is considering to enable the people of Northern Ireland to have a greater say in the administration of the Province.

Mr. Tom King

While I believe that some form of devolved government would best meet the needs of Northern Ireland, the crucial test for any system is whether it can command widespread acceptance. I am willing, therefore, to consider any proposals that might pass that test.

Mr. McNair-Wilson

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the overwhelming reaction to the massacre at Enniskillen is a feeling that unless the community is prepared to live under the shadow of the gunman and bomber indefinitely, it must find a way of working together? Earlier, my right hon. Friend referred to a new spirit. If he is to make something of that, is this not the moment for the Government to bring forward an initiative for some type of political forum in which the political parties in Northern Ireland could take part?

Mr. King

I have made it clear that I would welcome discussions on any matters along the lines that my hon. Friend suggests. Whether it would he best for the Government to bring them forward, or whether others should seek to propose them and at a later stage the Government might become involved, is a matter for consideration. The events of recent days and weeks make clear the responsibility on all of us to see whether we can find a way in which that spirit of reconciliation that is echoing out of Enniskillen and other parts of Northern Ireland at this time can enable us to recognise our responsibility towards the people showing that spirit.