§ Mr. Callaghan
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he is taking to encourage religious tolerance in Northern Ireland.
§ Mr. Ancram
The Government are committed to ensuring that there is full equality of opportunity and equity of treatment for all sections of the Northern Ireland community and that every opportunity is taken to encourage greater contact between the communities, thereby increasing mutual understanding and acceptance of cultural diversity. Over the past four years the Government have facilitated a wide range of measures to encourage better community relations and has committed more than £23 million towards community relations programmes in Northern Ireland, including over £7 million in this financial year. From September 1993 all pupils of compulsory school age are required to be taught two cross-community themes—education for mutual understanding, and cultural heritage—which are intended to foster greater understanding and improved relationships between people of different cultural traditions.