Mr. John David Taylor
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of the Republic of Ireland following the recent decision by the EEC Commission that the Dublin Budget restrictions on shoppers visiting Northern Ireland are in conflict with EEC legislation; what effect the Budget restrictions have had on the economy of border towns in Northern Ireland; and if he will request an urgent removal of these budgetary restrictions to cross-border trade in Ireland before Christmas in the current year.
§ Mrs. Chalker
We made clear to the Commission in April that the measures taken by the Irish Government were in our view inconsistent with EC law. The Commission has now instituted legal proceedings against the Irish Government under the EC treaty. We hope that these proceedings will lead to the measures being rescinded. Although this is primarily a matter of EC law, we have also taken up the matter directly with the Irish Government, on a number of occasions. The issue of what impact the measures have had on the economy of Northern Ireland is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.