asked the Prime Minister if he is aware that Northern Ireland is handicapped in endeavouring to attract more visitors particularly by the fact that visitors to Northern Ireland sailing from United Kingdom ports have to have a sailing ticket whereas no such restriction is put on visitors sailing from United Kingdom ports to the Continent of Europe; and, in view of the hardship involved by this and other handicaps, if he will set up an inter-departmental committee with representatives of the Home Office, Board of Trade, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Civil Aviation, the British Transport Commission, British European Airways and the Government of Northern Ireland to consider what steps can be taken to encourage both the people of Great Britain and visitors to Great Britain to take holidays in Northern Ireland.
Experience has shown that sailing tickets are the best method of minimising inconvenience to passengers at peak periods when traffic exceeds capacity. Every endeavour will be made to arrange additional sailings whenever possible. The Departments and other agencies concerned are in constant touch with each other on questions connected with travel to Northern Ireland and I see no need for the appointment of an inter-departmental committee.
The hon. Member knows some of the difficulties in regard to the checking of passengers to Northern Ireland owing to there being a frontier on the southern side of Northern Ireland. With regard to the other Question, perhaps the hon. Member will put it to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that last year several thousand people from this country were prevented from going to Northern Ireland because they could not get sailing tickets, and that they had to cancel the rooms they had taken in hotels and boarding houses, to the very great inconvenience of those people who were looking forward to receiving them?