Orders of the Day — Northern Ireland Act 1974

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:10 pm on 26th June 1985.

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Photo of Ian Paisley Ian Paisley Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party 9:10 pm, 26th June 1985

I comment first on the New Irish Forum, which was so eulogised by the hon. Member for Foyle (Mr. Hume). Unionists and Protestants had every right to examine the report. It told us of the magnanimity of southern Irish Governments to the Protestant population there, and said how well Protestants were treated in the south of Ireland. But where are they? At partition, 10 per cent. of the population was Protestant, but that figure has fallen to less than 3 per cent. In contrast, the Roman Catholic population in the north of Ireland is increasing all the time. There is a great difference between the two forms of rule that were suggested in the New Ireland Forum report.

The right hon. and learned Member for Warley, West (Mr. Archer) accused the Government of going back on the Prime Minister's "Out, out out" statement. He said that the damage caused by the brick that she had thrown was now being repaired by the Government. That is not what the Secretary of State told me and the right hon. Member for Lagan Valley (Mr. Molyneaux) only a few days ago. He said that the Government stand by the Prime Minister's "Out, out out" speech. The story told to the right hon. and learned Gentleman is different from the one told to the Unionist representatives who meet the Secretary of State. I hope that when the hon. Member for Middlesbrough (Mr. Bell) replies, he will comment on the matter, because such mistakes do not help confidence in Northen Ireland.