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Volume 958: debated on Wednesday 22 November 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the supply of cement in Northern Ireland; and what further steps he is taking to solve the present crisis.

The present cement shortage results from the mechanical breakdowns at the Blue Circle group plants at Cookstown and Magheramorne and from an interruption of cement imports from the Republic of Ireland.I have asked the Blue Circle group to take urgent action to remedy the situation and I understand that steps have been taken to increase shipments of cement clinker from Great Britain. Imports from the Republic are due to recommence as soon as possible and it is hoped that repairs at Cookstown and Magheramorne will restore production before the end of the week.The Northern Ireland Construction Industry Advisory Council is meeting today to discuss the problem.Urgent consideration is being given separately to longer term solutions involving the provision of new facilities for the production of cement in Northern Ireland.