Irish Republic (Political Progress)

Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd November 1990.

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Photo of David Winnick David Winnick , Walsall North 12:00 am, 22nd November 1990

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on recent discussions over political progress he has had with the authorities in the Republic.

Photo of Mr Peter Brooke Mr Peter Brooke The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

My discussions with the Irish Government have produced a significant measure of agreement on a basis for talks which would address the various relationships relevant to the political situation in Northern Ireland. The Irish Government are, at present, considering proposals which I put forward at the last intergovernmental conference for resolving the main outstanding issues.

Photo of David Winnick David Winnick , Walsall North

Does the Secretary of State agree that it is absolutely essential to have the closest possible co-operation between the Irish Republic and this country?

Photo of Mr Peter Brooke Mr Peter Brooke The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

Over almost 16 months I have obtained great value from the discussions that I have had with the Irish Government through the Anglo-Irish Agreement. [Interruption.]

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

Order. I again appeal to the House and reiterate that these are important questions and it is a rare opportunity to put questions to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

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

Will the Secretary of State inform the House whether it is still the Government's policy of the Government to consider an alternative to and a replacement of the Anglo-Irish Agreement?

Photo of Mr Peter Brooke Mr Peter Brooke The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

I am delighted to confirm to the hon. Gentleman the words that I have used to reply to him on previous occasions when he quite rightly made sure that I repeated myself accurately each time.