HC Deb 07 April 1998 vol 310 c181W
Mr. Maginnis

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if she plans to sanction her Department's Director of Information's proposals relating to a possible referendum campaign, with particular reference to the involvement of the Archbishop of Armagh; if she will place a copy of the proposals in the Library; and if she will make a statement. [37820]

Marjorie Mowlam

The proposals drawn up in relation to a possible referendum campaign will be considered in the light of events. If a referendum is to be held, some of the proposals will be implemented and others will be considered.

However, as I have made clear, Dr. Eames had no knowledge of the communications document. I have also assured Archbishop Eames that at no stage was there any intention or suggestion that anyone in the NIO was seeking to bring any pressure on him or any other church leader in terms of what they might say about the talks process or anything else. I greatly respect Dr. Eames and his independence as a Church leader as I do his integrity and that of the other Church leaders.

The main point of the paper was to develop a strategy for informing the Northern Ireland public about the content of any agreement so that individual voters can make up their own minds. A public information telephone line has already been set up for this purpose.

As the leaked document was an internal working paper I do not intend to place it in the Library of the House.