Orders of the Day — Shipbuilding (Northern Ireland)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:56 am on 26th July 1982.

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Photo of Ian Paisley Ian Paisley Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party 12:56 am, 26th July 1982

The Minister has cast great gloom over the shipbuilding industry in Northern Ireland. I believed that we were hearing an obituary notice for the shipyard, because if the ultimatum that he placed before it is taken seriously, the shipyard must close. It is not possible for it to cut its costing seriously, nor is it possible for the shipyard to become competitive because of what has already been said by both Conservative and Labour Members about the unfair competition from the Far East. If the shipyard is to obtain orders and to sell itself to those who are interested in giving orders for ships, the Minister should carry the flag and inject confidence into the industry. But by his speech tonight he has cast a great question mark over the future of the shipyard.

The fact that the shipyard is not part of British Shipbuilders is a great disadvantage. I agree with the hon. Member for Antrim, South (Mr. Molyneaux) that those of us who sat together in bygone days were all worried about the isolation of Harland and Wolff. What we said has now come true.