§ 9. Mr. Hunter
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he will next have discussions with Ministers of the Republic of Ireland; and what matters will be discussed.
§ Mr. Tom King
Another meeting of the Intergovernmental Conference is likely to be held shortly. A full agenda has not yet been prepared, but I expect security matters to be one of the items on it.
§ Mr. Hunter
Will my right hon. Friend take the opportunity to reassure the House that in all his dealings with Ministers of the Irish Republic he stresses, not only the need for full cross-border co-operation with regard to security, but the nature of the threat posed by the IRA both to democracy and decency in the Republic of Ireland and to democracy and decency in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland?
§ Mr. King
There is no doubt that there is an awareness of the importance to both our countries of the closest co-operation. That has been so in the past, but has been increased since we learnt of the very substantial arms shipments that have reached the island of Ireland, bearing in mind the threat that they pose of greater terrors in Northern Ireland and the Republic.
§ Mr. Flannery
When the Minister discusses security matters, will he discuss the decision of the Northern Ireland Police Authority, by a majority of only one, not to undertake prosecution or even to inquire into what the Chief Constable and his immediate subordinates have done about the shoot-to-kill policy? After what has happened and the ups and downs of the Stalker-Sampson report, is it not necessary that we have a judicial inquiry into precisely what has happened and why these people are not even going to be inquired into?
§ Mr. King
That is manifestly untrue. The Police Authority made a very thorough inquiry indeed, conducted over two years and more by Deputy Chief Constable Stalker and Chief Constable Sampson. There has been the most exhaustive inquiry. What was being considered was merely whether an investigating officer should be appointed to conduct any further investigation.