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Anglo-Irish Talks

Volume 86: debated on Wednesday 13 November 1985

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4.8 pm

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I wonder whether you can tell the House if you have had a request from the Prime Minister, or any other Minister, to make a statement to the House today about the outcome of the Anglo-Irish talks? I ask because the Dublin newspapers this morning gave the precise details of the agreement—in particular, the front page of the Irish Press, the mouthpiece of the party led by Charles Haughey, one-time paymaster of the Provisional IRA.

Is it not deplorable that hon. Members, who have been systematically and deliberately kept in the dark about the outcome of the talks, should learn of the conclusions from a newspaper published in Dublin? Is it not despicable that hon. Members from Northern Ireland should learn of their betrayal and the diminution of their citizenship from a newspaper published in Dublin?

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. We entirely accept what you said about acting on the basis of press reports. Are you aware that the Irish Government intend to circulate the full text of the agreement tomorrow morning? Is it not intolerable that this House will be kept in the dark until at least next week? Is it not possible for the Leader of the House to arrange that the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland makes a full and comprehensive statement tomorrow when he answers Northern Ireland questions?

The Leader of the House is present and I am sure that he will have heard that question.