HC Deb 18 May 1989 vol 153 c463
10. Ms. Armstrong

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he has met with representatives from pressure groups working on behalf of women.

Mr. Viggers

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State met representatives of the women's information group last year. I had an opportunity recently to discuss employment issues affecting women at a meeting with representatives of the Equal Opportunities Commission for Northern Ireland.

Ms. Armstrong

Is the Minister aware that the working women of Northern Ireland have a crying need for the provision of better child care? Northern Ireland fares worse than the United Kingdom in terms of nursery provision and education. What will the Minister do to ensure that the situation in Northern Ireland at least replicates that in the rest of the United Kingdom—even though it makes the poorest provision for such facilities in the whole of Europe?

Mr. Viggers

I sit as a member of the ministerial group on women's issues, which considers such matters. We will of course deal with any specific questions about nursery education or creche facilities that the hon. Lady asks. I assure her that the Civil Service as an employer seeks to set its own standards in equal opportunities, but I take note of the hon. Lady's points.

Mr. Barry Field

Does my hon. Friend agree that there could be no better representation of the interests of the women of Northern Ireland than the photograph in The Times today of Mrs. Breige Morgan holding her three-year-old daughter, who was maimed by a bomb in a telegraph pole that was detonated by the IRA, and who cannot have the shrapnel removed from the calf of her leg in case it does permanent damage? Will my hon. Friend join right hon. and hon. Members on this side of the House in condemning such revolting acts of terrorism?

Mr. Viggers

The act of terrorism to which my hon. Friend refers, will, I am sure, disgust the entire House. That photograph will be seen around the world, and will illustrate the impact of terrorism in Northern Ireland.