§ Mr. Coe
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he is taking for the holding of elections in Northern Ireland for the purpose of providing delegates to the proposed forum for the discussion of issues relevant to promoting dialogue and understanding in Northern Ireland. 
§ Sir Patrick Mayhew
Now that the Northern Ireland (Entry to Negotiations, etc.) Bill has received its Second Reading in the House of Commons, on 18 April, thereby indicating parliamentary support for the Bill, I have informed the chief electoral officer for Northern Ireland and my officials that they may commence preparations for the proposed elections on 30 May.
This will involve urgent expenditure to meet the cost of conducting the elections, including the recruitment of staff, staff training and equipment as well as costs associated with advertising and publicity for the elections. It will also cover the initial costs of setting up and servicing the forum and negotiations as well as expenditure on allowances for delegates. Its urgency arises from the need to commence, at the earliest opportunity, preparations for the successful conduct of these elections.
Parliamentary approval for this new service will be sought in a summer supplementary estimate for the Northern Ireland Office's administration, law, order, protective and miscellaneous services vote, class XV, vote 1. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at £1,790,000 will be met be repayable advances from the contingencies fund.