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Anti-Discrimination Safeguards

Volume 80: debated on Thursday 13 June 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he has any plans to introduce additional safeguards against discrimination in Northern Ireland.

A wide range of laws and powers to safeguard individuals against discrimination have been in place for over a decade. We keep a careful watch on the effectiveness of these measures. I have already welcomed the review to be undertaken by the Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights. I am examining information about the relative social and economic positions of the major denominational groups in Northern Ireland. I shall shortly publish data about that and make a statement about the Government's proposals for further consideration of this matter.

I thank my right hon. Friend for his very full reply. Does he agree that outside interference in that area is not helpful? In particular, does he agree that the adoption by American companies of the so-called McBride principles would not be helpful for employment or equality of opportunity in Northern Ireland?

My hon. Friend is quite right. I have been encouraged by the number of people in Northern Ireland and the United States, usually supporters of the nationalist community, who have seized that point and are explaining to Americans that the McBride campaign could damage the whole community in Northern Ireland.

Discrimination in employment in Northern Ireland is illegal. Therefore the best way to secure fresh jobs for the nationalist minority is to secure fresh jobs for Northern Ireland.