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Northern Ireland

Volume 931: debated on Thursday 12 May 1977

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Loyalist United Unionist Action Council

1.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what discussions he has held with the Loyalist United Unionist Action Council; and if he will make a statement.

I hope that the House will understand when I say at the outset that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has deemed it important that he should stay in Northern Ireland today. I hope that the House also understands that no discourtesy is intended.

In answer to the Question, none, Sir. On 2nd May, before the stoppage began, my right hon. Friend met the Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, the hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley), and the Leader of the United Ulster Unionist Party, Mr. Baird, in their capacity as leaders of political parties in Northern Ireland. He asked them to use their influence to prevent the stoppage called by the UUAC and told them that such action could only help the IRA and weaken Northern Ireland's economy. I am sorry that they disregarded this advice; but I am glad that most people in Northern Ireland have courageously rejected the misguided strike call.

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. Does he agree that the people of both the majority and minority communities in Northern Ireland should be congratulated by the House on the sane and sensible attitude they have taken to the atmosphere of thuggery and intimidation which somehow seems to surround the hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) almost everywhere he goes? Does he also agree that a measure of unity in the face of adversity of this nature seems to have pervaded the community generally and that this small measure of unity could grow and become something bigger? Does he further agree that steps of a carefully pre pared nature should be taken to try to capitalise on this position and bring the various communities together to utilise it as best we can?

I think that the people of Northern Ireland have shown their determination to keep life going in the Province. Although they may and do feel strongly about the security situation, they see that the stoppage could only be harmful for Northern Ireland. 'This is a victory for the courage and good sense of the people of Northern Ireland and for responsible leaders of opinion there.

Will the Minister of State convey our good wishes to the Secretary of State in this crisis? Does he agree that it has demonstrated not only the courage and resolution of working people but the splendid calibre of the RUC and the way in which it has become an effective and impartial police force?

There has been a great amount of intimidation. Will the hon. Gentleman tell us how many cases of intimidation have been reported to the police and what charges have been or are being made? We can only hope that the offenders will be dealt with severely.

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his good wishes, which I shall convey to my right hon. Friend later this afternoon.

Well over 1,000 cases of intimidation have been reported to the RUC. I should point out that, of all the people coming out of this situation with a lot of credit, the RUC is certainly coming out with great credit. I repeat that well over 1,000 cases of intimidation have been reported. The methods of intimidation are so insidious—some have been made over the telephone—that it is difficult to get evidence or people to back up the evidence. Over 100 cases have been taken up of which just under 30 involve intimidation charges.

Is my hon. Friend aware that within the last 24 hours one of the leaders of the Loyalist United Unionist Action Council—namely, the hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley)—has made allegations that the SAS was responsible for the murder of the bus driver in the city of Belfast? Is he aware that the hon. Member also alleged that the CIA had had discussions with the RUC in an attempt to defame the Loyalist population? Does my hon. Friend think that there is any truth in those allegations? Alternatively, does he agree with me and with many thousands of people in Northern Ireland that the hon. Member for Antrim, North is in urgent need of psychiatric treatment and that he is more to be pitied than blamed?

Does my hon. Friend agree that over the past few days the RUC—and I am speaking as Leader of the SDLP—has been engaged in actions which have engendered a lot of trust in the Roman Catholic community? Will he congratulate the law-abiding people of Toomebridge who assisted the RUC in the removal of illegal road blocks?

It is not worth wasting the time of the House by replying to any of the absurd accusations made about the murder of the bus driver and other matters. I have attended two meetings with the bus drivers and their representatives. I would sooner take their word than that of anyone else. I was proud to be associated with the bus drivers and the action they have taken. The Toomebridge incident was regrettable. If the obstructions had not been on the road illegally, nothing would have happened.

Political Situation

3.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the Northern Ireland political situation.

8.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he intends to take any political initiative.

15.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will now reconsider his policy towards the restoration of a Stormont Parliament.

It remains the Government's primary aim to establish in Northern Ireland a system of devolved government that has been built on agreement between political leaders and that has the respect and support of the majority on both sides of the community. If it is the general wish, however, the Government will be ready to consider arrangements for partial devolution provided that what is being devolved is real power and responsibility. There has been much discussion recently of the Macrory gap—between 26 district councils and Government and Parliament at Westminster. My right hon. Friend recognises that this is a matter of genuine concern and is hoping that the political parties in Northern Ireland will want to hold discussions on the issue after the local government elections.

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Does he accept that it is important, even in these difficult times, that one should think about the future of Northern Ireland? My hon. Friend's reply, which indicated that administrative devolution is still on the agenda, is significant. Does he agree that the political future of Northern Ireland is very much bound up with the economic situation? Does he agree that the present problems and difficulties exacerbate the economic problem of Northern Ireland and discourage investment in the Province?

I am in charge of the Commerce and Manpower Departments in Northern Ireland. The recent incidents will do incalculable damage to the economy of Northern Ireland. We cannot calculate the damage. The sooner the present situation is over and we can again spread confidence in Northern Ireland industry, the better.

Have not recent events made quite clear that there is a political vacuum which is adverse to democracy in Northern Ireland? We are pleased about what the Minister said, but can he say whether the Secretary of State will be willing to entertain proposals from the official Opposition for a political forum?

I have not noticed that there is a political vacuum in Northern Ireland, nor has there been one for some time. The possibility of discussions about improving the existing structure of local government in Northern Ireland is in our minds. There are no cut-and-dried solutions. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State hopes that the political parties will want to hold discussions as soon as the local government elections are over.

Administrative devolution has been mentioned. Will the Minister take it from me that the people of Northern Ireland do not want administrative devolution? They do not want a second tier of local government, because it would be bureaucratic and costly. Does the Minister accept that the people of Northern Ireland want the restoration of the Stormont Parliament, despite what certain members of the Unionist coalition say at the moment?

That might be the hon. Gentleman's view. It is certainly not the opinion of everyone in Northern Ireland. The hon. Gentleman will have the chance to express his opinions.

With regard to the concluding part of the Minister's reply, may I ask whether his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State would be willing to assist by putting forward from the Government an outline of the kind of proposals that would be likely to secure the Government's agreement?

As I have said, we intend to hold discussions. We are waiting for the air to clear on the political front after the local government elections.

I welcome the Minister's comments on behalf of the Government this afternoon. Will he shortly announce really positive powers and responsibility for local government in Ulster? Is he aware that during my recent visit to Northern Ireland many complaints were made that there was no real power for local government at the moment? Is he aware that this was much regretted by the able and competent people who wish to administer the Province?

In my time in Northern Ireland I have also been responsible for local government. Local councillors have ways and means of putting forward their views. The hon. Member says that they have no power. One has only to examine certain booklets from local government offices saying how much power they have or look at the amount of money they spend each year to discover that they have plenty of power. There is a gap between local councils and the central Government. We want to talk about that as soon as the local elections are over.

Republic Of Ireland Citizens (Welfare Benefit)

4.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in what circumstances citizens of the Irish Republic may become entitled to supplementary or unemployment benefit in Northern Ireland by reason of the ending in 1977 of the derogation from freedom of movement of labour in the European Economic Community

The termination on 31st December 1977 of the derogation in respect of Northern Ireland in regard to the free movement of workers within the European Economic Community will have no effect on the existing conditions under which citizens of the Republic of Ireland may receive unemployment benefit or supplementary benefit in Northern Ireland. The five-year residence test for supplementary benefit remains in operation.

Is the Minister aware that his reply will help to dispel the quite widespread impression in Northern Ireland that following the end of the derogation there may be a considerable number of citizens of the Republic entering Northern Ireland for the purpose of collecting supplementary benefit and unemployment pay? Is he aware that his answer will be valuable in that context?

I understand the fears represented by the right hon. Gentleman in his question. As he said, they are based only on an impression. Nothing changes as a result of the derogation

Prisoners

5.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many prisoners have broken prison rules; how much remission they have lost; and what is the range of crimes which they have committed, for the latest convenient period.

As at 10th May 1977, 99 prisoners convicted of offences committed after 1st March 1976 were refusing to wear prison clothing or to work. Ten female prisoners were also refusing to work. This is a breach of prison rules and an offence against discipline. Adjudications by prison governors take place at regular intervals and as at 10th may 145 prisoners had been punished and had forfeited some 27 years—9,936 days—remission of sentence. This includes loss of remission by 52 prisoners who were formerly refusing to wear prison clothes or to work but who are now conforming to prison rules.

The crimes for which these prisoners were committed to prison include murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, explosions and other firearms and explosives offences.

Will my hon. Friend say how many prisoners are conforming? With regard to his policy of ending special category status, which many of us supported, will he give us some comment, in the light of all these figures, about how this policy is working?

The best answer I can give is that while 99 prisoners are not conforming, 218 are conforming to prison rules and discipline.

As I have said on many occasions before, the ending of special category status is now a fact and has been so for over a year. The Government are formally committed to this policy. From the peak figure of nearly 1,600 special category prisoners, we have come down to 998 at the last count.

To what extent is the breaking of prison discipline a matter for prison visitors? If it is entirely the responsibility of visitors to adjudicate in these cases, will the Minister say whether he is entirely satisfied with the operation of these boards?

I am entirely satisfied with the operation of these boards. The prisoners are allowed a statutory visit, I believe, once a month. If I am wrong in that respect I shall write to the hon. Gentleman.

The prisoners are liable to lose other privileges such as parcels and so on. But I am quite happy and contented with the activities of the prison visitors.

Advance Factories And Industrial Assistance

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many advance factories have been built in Northern Ireland; and how much money has been provided in various forms of assistance to industry in Northern Ireland since 1945

A total of 129 advance factories has been built in Northern Ireland costing £160 million, and just over £602 million has been paid in various forms of assistance to manufacuring industry since 1945. In addition, £268¾ million expended in the same period on selective employment payment—£237½ million—and on training and other employment subsidies—£30¾ million—benefited employers generally but mainly those in manufacturing industry.

I welcome that information. Have the present difficulties in any way endangered—or does the Minister suspect that they are likely to endanger—the further industrial and commercial development in Northern Ireland which he and his colleagues have so vigorously sought? Are there any possible areas of development which currently hang fire depending on an early resolution of the dispute?

There are certain areas of development which are hanging fire in this respect. In my travels and in talking to business men and industrialists throughout the world, I have found that the main factor which we have to build up is confidence.

When we were just getting over the last strike I used to argue that it was a one-off situation. I should find it very difficult to argue that this a two-off situation. But the sooner the strike is over, with the damage that it is doing to the economy in Northern Ireland, the sooner we can get back to doing our job and the sooner I can do my job.

Bearing in mind the difficulty that the Minister mentioned earlier of making a provisional assessment of the damage done in recent weeks, will he comment on the statement by an eminent member of Queen's University that the damage might amount to some £5 million? Does he think that that is roughly the figure?

I think that that is a terribly low estimate. In regard to one development that is now hanging fire, the figure is certainly five times that amount.

Will my hon. Friend tell us how many of the total number of advance factories have been let?

Of the 129 advance factories, 116 are currently in use. There are other premises that we have provided which total another 276—namely, purpose-built factories and factory premises provided for the Local Enterprise Development Units and for purchase and so on. There are not only the advance factories, which total 129. There are another 276 as well.

Education

7.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what percentage of children in Northern Ireland attend selective schools.

In Northern Ireland about 33 per cent. of children of secondary school age attend grammar schools.

Will the Government urge the education authorities, the boards of management and the Church authorities to help to create more equality of educational opportunity for all the children of Northern Ireland by putting an end to the unfair system of selection into these grammar schools and replacing it by a fairer system of comprehensive education?

My noble Friend the Minister of State will be making an announcement in the not too distant future on the very point that my hon. Friend has mentioned. It is precisely in order to introduce greater equality that all the discussions, pronouncements and activity in recent years in regard to education have occurred.

Without dragging the 11-plus red herring across the trail, is it not the case that there is enough strife in Northern Ireland without dismaying the religious bodies, to whom the hon. Member for West Stirlingshire (Mr. Canavan) referred in his question, and the thousands of Ulster people who value their existing good schools?

Will the Government proceed very cautiously with any proposal based on the Cowan Report? On the assumption that it is Government policy to have eventual devolution, would not education in any case be a matter for a Northern Ireland legislature rather than for this House?

We always proceed with caution in all matters in Northern Ireland, but with regard to social affairs, whatever the political and security difficulties may be in Northern Ireland, we as an Administration feel, as I am sure the hon. Member would feel, that we should do all we can to improve equality of opportunity at every turn.

Security

9.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what representations have been made to him about the need for fresh measures to combat terrorism in Northern Ireland.

12.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the security situation.

My right hon. Friend fully shares the concern felt by many people about the continuation of violence in Northern Ireland notwithstanding the improvement in the security situation which has taken place. Security measures are constantly under review to adjust them to a changing situation and to increase their effectiveness. He is certain, however, that the best strategy is to work through the police, with the support of the Army, to maintain the rule of law. This strategy is achieving real results.

In the first four months of this year the level of violence, measured by the numbers of incidents and numbers of casualties, has been running at half the rate of last year. It is all the more regrettable that the UUAC, in seeking to compel a stoppage of work, ostensibly in part for the purpose of seeking improvement in security measures, should divert the security forces from their prime task of defeating the IRA. Indeed, the UUAC, or men claiming to act in support of it, is itself resorting to terrorism, intimidation and murder. Such action must not be allowed to succeed.

Will the Minister of State look again at the suggestion which has been put to him from the Conservative side that there should be a new offence of terrorism applying in Northern Ireland? Secondly, in view of the con spicuous success of the SAS Regiment, deriving from its particular anti-terrorist training, does he not think that there is a case for increasing the strength of the SAS and increasing the anti-terrorist training of certain units in the Army?

With regard to the hon. Gentleman's suggestions concerning the SAS and the security front, these things are being carried out, but they involve some extensive training for a lot of people within the Army. The hon. Gentleman is basically agreeing with me that it is possibly not numbers that count but the expertise of the people who are there to do the job.

The laws dealing with terrorist offences are fully comprehensive at the moment but are always being reviewed. We do not think that an offence of terrorism, in regard to which the prosecution would have to show political intent, would be useful or appropriate at the present time.

Does the Minister recall that, on the last occasion when we had Questions concerning Northern Ireland and I asked his hon. Friend about the change in emphasis of the crimes within Ulster, his hon. Friend agreed with me? Does he further recall that it was then indicated that the Secretary of State would tell us of the new plans that the Government would have for dealing with a change in emphasis in the violence in Ulster?

Quite apart from the events of the past week—in regard to which I join in the congratulations to the Government—is not the Minister aware that many of us feel that the Government's view as to the way to handle changed security situations in Ulster is now in a rut and needs fundamental rethinking?

I do not agree with what the hon. Gentleman said about a complete rethink of security policy in Northern Ireland. It is constantly under review and progress is taking place. There are no short cuts and there is no panacea to the problem in Northern Ireland. Our policies are continually under review to meet the continuing situation, and they are having the desired effect of eating into the terrorists.

Many people on all sides of the House will share our admiration for my hon. Friend's remarks at the outset about the role of the security forces in Northern Ireland. Will he go back to Northern Ireland and tell the leaders of the strike who have fomented the events of the last few days that it is no good telling the Government that they must tighten security and take murder by the throat when some of the leaders of the strike appear to be shaking murder by the hand in the intimidation they have been practising?

Hansard is read very closely in Northern Ireland, and I have no doubt that my hon. Friend's remarks will hit home.

What specific proposals about security have been put to the Minister by the leaders of the action council? Which of these proposals are already in operation and which has the hon. Gentleman rejected?

Security is continually under review. If we are to keep one step ahead with it, there will be times when it will be best to say as little as possible about the Government's intentions.

Did the Minister of State say just now that there would be more specialist training in anti-terrorist work for the Army? If that is so, we welcome it very much. We on this side have been making representations for a long time for a special force based on the SAS to form an anti-terrorist brigade. Will the Minister consider that in connection with a possible future conference on this matter with the Opposition?

There is and will be an increase in SAS-type activities. SAS-type activities are now taking place throughout the Province and as the GOC wishes. The forces in Northern Ireland are undergoing more training to build up their expertise. Expertise is now as important as the numbers of troops involved.

It gives us a great deal of contentment to know that security training is being carried out. Does my hon. Friend realise, however, that the level of security is not directly proportionate to the number of troops engaged? For him constantly to be asked to increase the number of troops will not lead to a solution to the problem. Is he aware that in Northern Ireland we face a political problem and that, important as security is, the politics of the situation must be considered in the search for an ultimate solution?

The politics of the situation are taken into account, but security is the number one priority in Northern Ireland. It is in that direction that people look for improvement. The politics of the situation come second, as has been shown lately to a great extent

Development Control (Rural Areas)

11.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what action he proposes to take concerning complaints about rural planning in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement.

I hope to make a statement within the next few weeks about a form of further review of development control policy in rural areas. Such a review would afford an opportunity for the whole matter to be reconsidered and for general complaints about refusal of planning permission to be assessed and taken into account.

Will the Minister accept that, in spite of the temporary inconvenience suffered by the people of Northern Ireland over the last few days, it is mundane matters such as this which concern them? Will he bear in mind that, whatever his policy, we are concerned that the countryside of Northern Ireland should not be depopulated and that people should receive adequate consideration in their planning applications?

I agree that this is an area of controversy and it is precisely because it is an area of controversy—some of which I believe to be unfounded—that I shall be making an announcement within the next few weeks.

Licensing Act (Amendment)

13.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he intends to introduce the proposed order amending the Licensing Act (Northern Ireland) 1971.

I am considering several matters in connection with the amendment of the Licensing Act (Northern Ireland) 1971. There are serious problems facing hotels which, as a result of losing their accommodation facilities through terrorist action, are unable under existing law to renew their licences, and there have been representations about the licensing of sports and leisure centres. My right hon. Friend and I hope to be in a position to publish proposals for amending legislation towards the middle of this year.

Is the Minister aware that his promised action will be welcomed by undertakings which are anxious to reinstate themselves and to continue making a contributon to the tourist industry? On the question of licences for community and recreation centres, will he bear in mind that, since these centres are used mainly by young persons, in framing the order he should take account of the need to safeguard their interests?

I am aware of the interest and concern being expressed over a misunderstanding that there would be a much wider amendment of the licensing law. We are aware of the concern which exists about alcoholism, particularly among the young. I assure the hon. Gentleman that we shall take that into account.

Will my hon. Friend indicate whether it is the Government's policy to continue to grant licences to UDA, Provisional Sinn Fein and all sorts of other clubs which are run by illegal organisations and which attract a lot of young people in Northern Ireland, thus involving them in para-military activity. Is it the Government's intention to get rid of these illegal drinking dens and to restore licences to bona fide business people?

We shall make every effort to deal with the illegal activities of these organisations, particularly on the question of licensing and the non-observance of the licensing law. The existing law needs to be reviewed, however, since several inadequacies in it have emerged. We will not agree, even under a revision of the law, to licensing anything that is illegal.

Housing

14.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will outline the measures he is considering to increase the housing options in Northern Ireland.

Priority must continue to be given in the allocation of resources to those in greatest housing need. I believe, however, that more should be done to encourage owner-occupation and to develop alternative forms of tenure to bridge the gap between owner-occupation and renting. There are a number of possibilities.

There might, for instance, be an option mortgage scheme in Northern Ireland like that in Great Britain. There could be greater scope for co-operatives, co-ownership and equity-sharing. I am reviewing the categories of public sector dwellings which might be sold to tenants. I also believe that owner-occupation would have a role to play in the new drive to tackle the problems of Belfast.

Does my hon. Friend agree that Northern Ireland is suffering from one of the most appalling housing problems in Western Europe? Does he agree that a young married couple have no chance of getting council accommodation because of the rehabilitation redevelopment schemes that are taking place? Can he announce any measures to alleviate the distress of these young people, and what help can be given to enable them to purchase their own accommodation?

I hope that what I have already said indicates that we share my hon. Friend's concern about young married couples and low-wage earners who want to purchase their own homes. In Belfast we shall be doing all we can within the rehabilitation redevelopment programme, for example, to encourage a diversity of the housing stock, and we shall do what we can to encourage more home owner-occupation, greater competition in the private sector and so on.

Will the Minister take steps to ensure that in the allocation of houses proper preference is given to local people, particularly to young married couples who see new homes being erected in my constituency and then see them snatched away by outsiders who have no connection with the area? That creates a real hardship for them.

I do not agree that this is a question of hardship, because most people on the housing waiting list ultimately get accommodation. I am aware of the criticisms of the points scheme. and it is currently being reviewed. Hopefully, the problem referred to by the hon. Gentleman can be dealt with within that review.

What about Question No. 15? On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I am here.

The hon. Member's Question has been answered, and I called him for a supplementary question.

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Some of us are waiting to hear the Minister's answer to Question No. 15.

That question was answered with Question No. 3. I called the hon. Member for Down, North (Mr. Kilfedder) for a supplementary question because his Question was answered.

Civil Expenditure

16.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the current rate of annual civil expenditure by the Exchequer in Northern Ireland.

In the financial year 1976–77, the grant under Section 16 of the Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973 was £360 million. In addition, expenditure by the Northern Ireland Office, chiefly on law and order, was £170 million. Grants and subsidies from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to Northern Ireland farmers were £32 million. This gives a total of £562 million.

Expenditure from the Northern Ireland Consolidated Fund during the same period was £1,207 million. This was partly financed by the grant of £360 million. The total civil expenditure by both United Kingdom Departments and Northern Ireland Departments was therefore £1,409 million. This figure does not include expenditure out of the Northern Ireland National Insurance Fund.

What have we got to show for all this vast expenditure? Have we had any thanks from anybody for it?

I would have thought that the events of recent days answered that question.

Is the Minister aware of the current annual rate of civil expenditure by the Exchequer in the borough of Lambeth? In many parts of the United Kingdom similarly large sums would be quoted if they were registered separately and available for inspection.

Police (Firearms)

17.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he is satisfied with the amount of training in the use of the firearms issued to the Royal Ulster Constabulary; and if the weapons at present issued are of a satisfactory quality and standard.

All training is entirely a matter for the Chief Constable. However, I am informed that the Chief Constable is satisfied with the weapons training given to members of the RUC. As the hon. Gentleman will recall from my replies to similar Questions on 2nd May 1977, I take the view that it would not be in the interests of security to provide information about weapons used by the RUC.

In these circumstances, can the Minister deny reports which are circulating in Northern Ireland to the effect that the small number of M1 carbines supplied are defective and that difficulties have arisen over the supply of the remainder of the order? It is claimed that the only ammunition available is the stocks that are captured from terrorists.

I do not wish to make any comments in relation to these matters. All weapons must be checked. In cases where one or two have been found to be slightly defective, they have been replaced.

Does the Minister agree that the RUC Special Patrol does a specialised job in Northern Ireland? Would he not agree that this force should be increased from 300 men to 1,000? Is he aware that the RUC is sick and tired of listening to Government Front Bench spokesmen and the news media saying that the police are getting better weapons and more vehicles? If they were, this might save more policemen's lives. We would like to know from the Minister when these weapons and vehicles will be delivered.

All these matters are the prerogative of the Chief Constable and the Police Authority. If there are any requests for specialist equipment, these will be considered and receive support. I have no information which indicates that the hon. Member's complaints are correct.

The whole House welcomed very much the tribute paid to the RUC by the SDLP Member for Belfast, West (Mr. Fitt). May I ask the Minister whether there is a full supply of light intensifiers and special sights that the RUC may require for their firearms?

I repeat that this is a matter for the Chief Constable. If the Chief Constable wants any further equipment, the request will be made through the Police Authority. No opposition would be put to those supplies being made available. These are sets of circumstances which need very special care. As far as the RUC is concerned, I repeat what my right hon. and hon. Friends have said on this matter. In the last few days the RUC's behaviour has been a shining example to all in the Province.