§ Mr. Watkinson
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has for the office of Agent for Northern Ireland in Great Britain.
§ Mr. Merlyn Rees
It is my intention that the office should concentrate on an industrial and commercial rôle under the direct control of the Department of Commerce for Northern Ireland. The office will assist the Department and its agencies to foster business confidence in Northern Ireland industry on the part of investors, customers and suppliers in Great Britain. It will similarly assist the Department of Agriculture for Northern Ireland and its agencies to promote the sale in Great Britain of Northern Ireland's agricultural produce and manufactured foodstuffs. It will assist other Northern Ireland Departments as appropriate and will have a small information staff to provide support for all these activities. The office will be ready to co-operate with Northern Ireland manufacturers in providing them with facilities in London for displays and other promotional activities. It will provide a London base for the Northern Ireland Tourist Board for tourist information and promotion.
The present Agent for Northern Ireland, Sir Harry Jones, CBE, has expressed his wish to retire on 31st July 1976. The name of a new head of the office will be announced in due course.