HC Deb 18 May 1989 vol 153 cc466-7
16. Mr. McCusker

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement about the work of the International Fund for Ireland.

Mr. Ian Stewart

The international fund is making good progress in fulfilling its objectives of promoting economic and social development in those areas of Ireland north and south which have suffered most in recent years, and of encouraging contact, dialogue and reconciliation. I pay tribute to the board of the fund for the way in which it has approached this important task.

Mr. McCusker

What does it feel like, as a member of a Government who put such a premium on hard work, self-reliance and thrift, to be the recipient of Third world aid from the United States of America?

Mr. Stewart

The hon. Gentleman makes an extraordinary point if he is criticising the suggestion that the United States and other contributors to the international fund should make their own contribution to economic and social development in Northern Ireland. I should have thought that, as he represents constituents in Northern Ireland, the hon. Gentleman would welcome the contribution that the fund has made.

Mr. Kilfedder

My hon. Friend's point is that he believes that there are places in Great Britain that would benefit from the international fund. I think that I heard him suggest Brixton.

Mr. Stewart

I did not hear that comment, but any suggestion that the fund's resources are not welcome for desirable purposes in Northern Ireland strikes me as extraordinary.