HL Deb 27 July 1998 vol 592 cc161-2WA
Lord Hylton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they welcome the establishment of a civic forum in addition to the elected Assembly in Northern Ireland; how they understand its purpose; what consultations are under way on the subject; and when it is likely to be functioning. [HL2878]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Northern Ireland Office (Lord Dubs)

The Government certainly welcome the forthcoming establishment of the civic forum. Its purpose will be in line with the terms of reference set out in the agreement; that is, it will act as a consultative mechanism on social, economic and cultural issues. In the period before devolution we will be consulting with the First Minister designate, the Deputy First Minister designate and the Assembly, so that arrangements can be put in hand to help secure its earliest appropriate establishment.