HC Deb 06 April 1998 vol 310 cc74-5W
Mr. Beggs

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if she will list the confidence building measures undertaken to encourage the Unionist community in Northern Ireland since the commencement of the current talks process. [36711]

Marjorie Mowlam

The Government are committed to building confidence throughout the community in Northern Ireland. We have considered carefully the views put forward by a wide range of people, including in the Liaison Sub-Committee on Confidence Building Measures, on measures which would benefit the community as a whole. The steps we have taken include: continuing to work towards an agreement in the talks which is supported by a majority of Unionists and Nationalists, to be put to the people of Northern Ireland in a referendum; putting in place all the necessary machinery to ensure that there is no obstacle to the decommissioning of illegal weapons as soon as those holding them accept the need to decommission; the establishment of a Commission on Victims; proposals for the reform of firearms legislation to reflect the local circumstances in Northern Ireland; and proposals for an Equality Commission. We believe that a widely acceptable agreement in the political talks would be the best way to build confidence among both communities.