Republic of Ireland

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd November 1978.

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Photo of Mr John Biggs-Davison Mr John Biggs-Davison , Epping Forest 12:00 am, 22nd November 1978

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a statement about relations with the Irish Republic.

Photo of Mr Frank Judd Mr Frank Judd , Portsmouth North

Our relations with the Republic of Ireland are close and friendly. There are regular discussions with the Irish authorities at all levels on matters of common interest, and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister will be meeting the Taoiseach on 27th November.

Photo of Mr John Biggs-Davison Mr John Biggs-Davison , Epping Forest

Since the Taoiseach's last visit, have not terrorist outrages in the Republic further demonstrated the need for common action against the common enemy? While acknowledging the improved police cooperation, may I ask whether the Prime Minister will be discussing with Mr. Lynch the frustration of law and order throughout Ireland by the refusal of extradition and also the failure of the Irish Republic to adhere to the European convention on the suppression of terrorism?

Photo of Mr Frank Judd Mr Frank Judd , Portsmouth North

My right hon. Friend will be discussing the whole range of relations with our Irish friends and colleagues, but I can say from first-hand experience that there is every reason to believe that the Irish Government take the security question every bit as seriously as we do. We are anxious to maximise practical cooperation in every way that we can.

Photo of Ian Paisley Ian Paisley Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party

Will the hon. Gentleman give the House an assurance that the next time these talks take place strong representations will be made about the continual closing of the rail link between the North and the South, as armed terrorists from the South are continually closing this link? It is closed at the moment and this is hindering emergency supplies of cement coming to Northern Ireland to keep the construction industry in business.

Photo of Mr Frank Judd Mr Frank Judd , Portsmouth North

We naturally regret the closure of communications between the North and the South. We shall do anything that we can together to ensure that they are kept open regularly in future.