Mr. John Mark Taylor
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to ensure that Government financial support for community activities is not used to foster the aims and objectives of paramilitary interests.
§ Mr. Hurd
It is the Government's policy to encourage voluntary and community-based activity which has the genuine aim of improving social, environmental or economic conditions in areas of need, and various grant-aid schemes exist for such purposes. However, I am satisfied, from information available to me, that there are cases in which some community groups, or persons prominent in the direction or management of some community groups, have sufficiently close links with paramilitary organisations to give rise to a grave risk that to give support to those groups would have the effect of improving the standing and furthering the aims of a paramilitary organisation, whether directly or indirectly. I do not consider that any such use of Government funds would be in the public interest, and in any particular case in which I am satisfied that these conditions prevail no grant will be paid.