Farming (Northern Ireland)

Part of Orders of the Day — Part I – in the House of Commons at 10:11 pm on 28th October 1985.

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Photo of Mr Enoch Powell Mr Enoch Powell , South Down 10:11 pm, 28th October 1985

It is an occasion resonant with historical echoes when hon. Members from Northern Ireland come to tell the Government and the House about the potatoes that have rotted in the clamps. Now in 1985, unlike 1845, we have no difficulties in persuading Ministers of reality and the seriousness of what we are telling them. It is not usual for Adjournment debates to be attended by the Minister of State and the Secretary of State. The right hon. Gentleman's presence will be marked and appreciated as a sign of his personal interest in the circumstances that have been described so vividly by my hon. Friend and neighbour the Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Nicholson).

I shall take only a short time to underline one item in the long a la carte menu which my hon. Friend the Member for Newry and Armagh displayed and from which Ministers will have to select a policy that is consistent with their other obligations and with more general considerations, but whereby they may be seen to be. in the words of my hon. Friend, bringing help now to where it is needed most.

My hon. Friend referred to intervention grain. Despite what has happened in Northern Ireland and some other places, opinion seems to be agreed that the coming year will be an even more bumper year for intervention. Hitherto, the economics of utilising storage in Northern Ireland for intervention grain have not been regarded by the Department of Agriculture as favourable. Even in the coming year there may be a balance which tips slightly on the calculations against utilisation of storage in Northern Ireland. Nevertheless, the utilisation of Northern Ireland storage could be at least one method whereby assistance could be given within the framework of existing arrangements to those farmers in Northern Ireland who are most in need of it. We shall be faced with massive intervention in the coming months. Let us use what is an evil offspin of the common agricultural policy in a manner that is helpful to one part of the United Kingdom.