§ 8. Mr. Powell
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will institute an inquiry, of which the results could be made public, into the state of equipment and plant and the conditions of work in the water service supplying the southern part of the counties of Down and Armagh.
§ Mr. Carter
No, Sir. We are aware of the state of equipment and plant at the Fofannybane water treatment works which supplies the southern parts of the counties of Down and Armagh, and we are taking urgent steps to improve working conditions there.
§ Mr. Powell
Is the Minister aware that it is widely believed, whether or not cor- 1658 rectly, that the recent industrial action was partly due to the state of the equipment and the management of the service in the area? Would it not be in the interests of both the Department and the Government to make the facts known as objectively as possible, whether that is done by means of an inquiry or otherwise?
§ Mr. Carter
The recent industrial dispute was not connected in any way with the state of plant. That has been known for years. We have had reports, and we are working on them. Recommendations have been made to bring the plant up to modern standards. The tragedy of the dispute was that it held up the process of bringing the plant up to modern standards. We do not see the need for a report, because we are well aware of the deficiencies.