HC Deb 16 November 1987 vol 122 c390W
Rev. Martin Smyth

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much money from public funds has been spent providing hospitality for Ministers and officials attending meetings of the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference or of its secretariat since 15 November 1985; and if he will publish this information broken down by month.

Mr. Tom King

[holding answer 9 November 1987]: Information is not available in the form requested and would be disproportionately expensive to obtain, but I can tell the hon. Gentleman that total costs so far assessed in this financial year in respect of conference meetings and associated meetings between officials is £1,275.

Rev. Martin Smyth

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what measures have been agreed, pursuant to paragraph 6 of the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference on 17 June 1986, to ascertain the number of Irish speakers in Northern Ireland; what financial support has been agreed for Irish language-related cultural activities; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. King

[holding answer 13 November 1987]: A number of questions on the use of and interest in Irish and other languages have been included in the Government's continuous household survey of social trends in Northern Ireland. Support for Irish language-related cultural activities is being provided through the Department of Education, through the Arts Council for Northern Ireland, and through public funding of research into Irish place names. I recognise and respect the special importance of the Irish language to a number of people in Northern Ireland. I am ready to consider further support where an appropriate level of demand for the use of the Irish language can be established.