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Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 8 May 1990


Economic Development

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list by year for the last five years, the economic development that has been made available in South Yorkshire by (a) the EEC and (b) by central Government.

Mr. Norman Lamont : The question as drafted calls for a major exercise of economic impact assessment which could only be provided at disproportionate cost. The hon. Member may have a more specific query in mind, in which case he may wish to rephrase the question.


Mr. Viggers : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list, in a manner consistent with the reply to the hon. Member for Gordon (Mr. Bruce) of 31 March 1988, Official Report, columns 604-6, for each privatisation

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measure since 1987, the Government's merchant bank advisers, brokers, reporting accountants and solicitors and details of any advertising agency involved ; and whether any form of competitive tendering was undertaken in each case.

Mr. Lilley : The Government's merchant bank advisers, brokers and solicitors in each privatisation 1987 are listed below. Reporting accountants and advertising agencies employed in the sales were usually joint appointments with the company, and are also listed. In addition, a number of sales of subsidiaries were carried out by nationalised industries. Details of the advisers for these sales are not held centrally.

In each of the privatisations the appointment of merchant bank advisers, brokers and advertising agencies was subject to competition.

The appointment of reporting accounts was subject to competition in all except two of the cases listed. In the case of Short Brothers the company's auditors were appointed without obtaining alternative tenders, to take advantage of their existing knowledge as this was expected to give rise to worthwhile savings in terms of time and costs. In the case of the Skills Training Agency, Deloitte, Haskins and Sells were appointed on a single tender basis, following the appointment of Deloitte Corporate Finance as merchant bank advisers. In each case a competitive rate was negotiated.

The appointment of solicitors was subject to competition in all cases except Rover, where Slaughter and May were appointed jointly with Barings Brothers.

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Company                    |Date of sale   |Government     |Government     |Reporting      |Advertising    |Solicitors                     

                                           |Merchant       |Broker         |Accountant     |Agency                                         

                                           |Bank Adviser                                                                                   

                                                                            (Joint appointment unless                                      

                                                                             otherwise stated)                                             


Professional and Executive |1988           |Lloyds         |-              |Coopers and    |-              |Field, Fisher                  

 recruitment                                                               |Lybrand                        |Martineau                      

Rover Group                |1988           |Barings        |-              |-              |-              |Slaughter and                  

                                           |Brothers                                                       |May                            

British Steel              |1988           |Samuel         |Rowe and       |Coopers and    |Saatchi and    |Norton Rose                    

                                           |Montagu        |Pitman         |Lybrand        |Saatchi                                        

General Practice Finance   |1988           |Hambros        |-              |Peat, Marwick  |-              |McKenna and                    

 Corporation                                                               |McLintock                      |Company                        

Harland and Woolff         |1989           |Lazards        |-              |-              |-              |Lovell White                   


Short Brothers             |1989           |Kleinwort      |-              |Deloitte       |-              |Norton Rose                    

                                           |Benson                         |Haskins and                                                    


Water Companies            |1989           |Schroders      |Rowe and       |Touche Ross<1> |Collett        |Clifford Chance                

                                                           |Piman                          |Dickenson                                      


Skills Training Agency     |1990           |Deloitte       |-              |Deloitte       |-              |Field, Fisher                  

                                           |Corporate                      |Haskins and                    |Waterhouse                     

                                           |Finance                        |Sells                                                          

Tax Share (Northern Ireland)

Mr. Flannery : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish the formula used to calculate Northern Ireland's attributed share of United Kingdom taxes.

Mr. Lilley : The ways in which certain taxes are collected means that, for Northern Ireland, a share of the revenue yield must be attributed by applying a set formula. These are set out in Statutory Instruments 1975/1313, 1977/1879, 1983/1599 and 1988/1667, made under section 15 of the Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973.

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Oil Taxation

Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimates were used by the Inland Revenue in concluding in paragraph 9 of a press release of 20 March, entitled "Oil Taxation", that the longer-term revenue effects of the taxation charges discussed in the press release are expected to be broadly revenue-neutral overall.

Mr. Lilley : Costings of this sort, involving many projections well into the future, are inevitably extremely uncertain. Estimates of abandonment expenditure are

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based on surveys of industry intentions. The revenue effects of the measures referred to in this part of the press release also depend on a wide range of other assumptions, such as about oil prices and production levels and about other expenditure.

Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the longer-term annual revenue effects of the measures proposed in (a) clause 52 and clause 53, (b) clause 54, (c) clause 55 and clause 56, (d) clause 96 and (e) clause 97 of the Finance Bill.

Mr. Lilley : I have nothing to add to the aggregate estimates in the annex to chapter 4 of the Financial Statement and Budget Report 1990-91 and, as far as clauses 55 and 56 are concerned, in the 22 January 1990 Inland Revenue press release entitled, "North Sea Oil--Restriction of Capital Losses".

United States (Foreign Investment)

Mr. Oppenheim : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the latest available figures for (1) annual and (2) total direct foreign investment in the United States by (a) Great Britain, (b) Japan, (c) the Netherlands, (d) West Germany and (e) France.

Mr. Norman Lamont [holding answer 1 May 1990] : Information is published by the Central Statistical Office on United Kingdom outward foreign direct investment by United Kingdom companies in the United States. Figures are also published by the United States Department of Commerce on inward foreign direct investment into the United States by a number of countries. Because of differences in coverage, country attribution, accounting practices and methods of compilation, figures for United Kingdom direct investment in the United States from these two sources will not correspond. The latest available information from both sources is as follows :

|c|United Kingdom information|c|                                                                        

United Kingdom direct     |Net outflow              |Book value of                                      

 investment in the United |1988                     |investment                                         

 States                                             |end-1987                                           


£ million                 |9,854                    |30,635                                             

(equivalent to $ million) |(17,536)                 |(57,808)                                           

Source: CSO Business Bulletin Overseas Direct Investment (28/90).                                       

|c|United States information|c|                                                                                                 

Direct investment in the United |Net inflow 1988                |Net investment                                                 

 States by:                                                     |position                                                       


                                |United States                  |United States                                                  

                                |$ million                      |$ million                                                      


United Kingdom                  |18,774                         |101,909                                                        

Japan                           |17,838                         |53,354                                                         

Netherlands                     |4,766                          |48,991                                                         

West Germany                    |2,306                          |23,845                                                         

France                          |962                            |11,364                                                         

Source: United States Department of Commerce: Survey of Current Business.                                                       

European Monetary Union

Mr. Shore : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, following the meeting of the 12 Finance Ministers in Galway on 31 March and 1 April, what proposals have been made for the timetable of introducing phase 2 and phase 3 of European monetary union.

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Mr. Major [holding answer 3 May 1990] : No such proposals have been made. It was agreed at the special meeting of the European Council on 28 April that the preparations for an intergovernmental conference on economic and monetary union which will begin in December this year should be intensified with the objective of finishing the work of that conference in time to permit ratification of the results before the end of 1992. It is too early to say how feasible such a target will be.


British Museum (Research)

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Minister for the Arts what

responsibilities he has in respect of the level and type of academic research carried out by the British Museum (Natural History) ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Luce : The day-to-day running of the Natural History museum, and decisions on the museum's research programme, are matters for the director and trustees of the museum.

I understand, however, that the Natural History museum fully intends to continue to undertake a wide range of academic research work, but that it plans to concentrate research effort primarily into important scientific programmes relevant to contemporary needs and issues such as the environment and human health.


Administration Trainees

Mr. John Garrett : To ask the Minister for the Civil Service in 1989 what percentages of successful applicants for the Civil Service administration trainee direct entry scheme were (a) educated at Oxford and Cambridge, (b) arts graduates and (c) attended fee-paying schools.

Mr. Luce : Of the 65 candidates recommended for appointment as administration trainees/higher executive officers (development), 55 per cent. were educated at either Oxford or Cambridge and 56 per cent. were arts graduates. The identity of schools attended by candidates is not recorded for statistical or other purposes.


British Rail

Mr. Pawsey : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will obtain for his Departmental library a copy of the Consumers Association's report on British Rail services dated March 1990 ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Atkins : My right hon. Friend received a copy of the Consumers Association's report on 1 March. He will be meeting representatives of the Consumers Association on 24 May to discuss the article.

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Driving Tests

Mr. David Marshall : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which driving test centres had (a) the 10 highest percentage pass rates and (b) the 10 lowest percentage pass rates per annum for each of the last five years ; and how many people these figures represent.

Mr. Atkins : It is not the Department's policy to publish comparative pass rates for test centres.

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The average percentage pass rates for the Driving Standards Agency regions for the last five years for which figures are available were :

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                          |1985   |1986   |1987   |1987-88|1988-89        


North Eastern (Newcastle) |47     |49     |51     |55     |54             

North Eastern (Leeds)     |46     |46     |48     |48     |51             

North Western             |50     |50     |52     |54     |54             

West Midland              |48     |47     |49     |48     |49             

Eastern (Nottingham)      |50     |50     |51     |51     |52             

Eastern (Cambridge)       |47     |48     |50     |51     |53             

South Wales               |49     |50     |50     |51     |53             

Western                   |51     |51     |52     |52     |54             

South Eastern             |49     |48     |49     |50     |51             

Scotland                  |50     |50     |53     |53     |54             

Metropolitan              |47     |47     |48     |50     |50             


National average          |49     |49     |50     |51     |52             

Noise Pollution

Sir Dudley Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will review procedures for dealing with complaints from those whose personal environment has been badly affected by noise from new motorways.

Mr. Atkins : I am satisfied with the procedures for dealing with complaints from those affected by noise from new motorways and that the Department handles these complaints sympathetically.


Mr. Gerald Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will outline his Department's policy on the provision of ribbed edgelines on motorways ;

(2) what regional differences of policy exist in his Department on the provision of ribbed edgelines on motorways to reduce the number of accidents on motorway hard shoulders ;

(3) what plans he has to introduce ribbed edgelines onto all motorways in the United Kingdom as standard carriageway markings.

Mr. Atkins : The Department has encouraged the use of ribbed edgemarkings on motorways since 1987 following experience earlier on. The extent of installation in each region is influenced by the need for replacement and maintenance of existing lining systems. We are shortly to offer advice to English regional offices which should encourage further installation of ribbed edgemarkings on motorways and appropriate all- purpose dual carriageway trunk roads. It is our intention to include these markings in our consultation document on the traffic signs regulations and general directions, due to be circulated in the early autumn.

Mr. Gerald Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the success of experimental schemes to fit ribbed edgelines on motorways in reducing the number of accidents on motorway hard shoulders.

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Mr. Atkins : The Transport and Road Research Laboratory is encouraged by the results of earlier experience and trials conducted so far. On the basis of the available evidence it is not possible to establish the likely balance of costs and benefits across the network as a whole. Conclusive research would take many years to yield results. Operationally these lines appear to offer benefits in terms of enhancing visibility and driver awareness of the edge of the carriageway. Both these factors help to reduce the risk of accidents.

Driving Offences

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he proposes to create any new categories of driving offences.

Mr. Atkins : Our proposals for the reform of road traffic law are set out in the White Paper, "The Road User and the Law" (Cm. 576). These include the creation of a new offence of

"causing death by careless driving while unfit through drink or drugs"

and the reformulation of the reckless driving offences. Legislation to implement these proposals will be introduced at the earliest opportunity.


Mr. Day : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if his approval was required for the exemption given to the helicopter companies operating over the North sea from the new rules against excessive fatigue for pilots.

Mr. McLoughlin : The statutory responsibility for the safety regulation of United Kingdom civil aviation rests with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). I understand that of the 540 pilots employed on offshore helicopter operations on 1 May 1990, the date of the new requirements, 10 were in excess of the new limit of 800 hours flying time in any 12-month period. Of these, the highest had completed 835 hours and was inside the old limit of 900 hours maximum.

In order to avoid grounding these pilots for approximately three months, the authority has issued

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exemptions valid until the end of August 1990 when all 10 will be within the new reduced maximum 12-monthly flying hours limit.

Channel Tunnel

Mr. Gerald Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with British Rail and the developers of the King's Cross site about the choice of the London terminal for the channel tunnel rail link.

Mr. Freeman : The choice of preferred location for the second London terminal for channel tunnel rail services was made by British Rail. My approval to British Rail's investment plans for the station will be required before they can proceed. The terms of the agreement with the developers and other land owners are a matter for British Rail ; but this Department has had discussions with British Rail and the developers on the implications for the road and public transport networks in the King's Cross area.

Traffic Forecasts

Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will give a geographical breakdown of the traffic forecasts which have produced the average estimates for 2025 of 83 per cent. to 142 per cent. increase in road traffic.

Mr. Atkins : The national road traffic forecasts 1989 (NRTF) apply to Great Britain as a whole. Local forecasts, consistent with the NRTF, are made where necessary when particular problems and improvements are considered. These forecasts take into account local differences and can be lower or higher than the national forecast.

London Underground

Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the closure of the Circle line at Liverpool Street station on Wednesday 2 May.

Mr. Freeman : London Underground Ltd (LUL) tell me that Liverpool Street Underground Station was closed and evacuated on Wednesday 2 May betwen 09.45 and 10.20 whilst the London fire brigade attended following a report of smoke. The current was discharged to allow the firemen on to the track. The cause of the smoke was found to be burning paper, probably ignited by a train "arcing". The fire brigade extinguished the burning paper, the "all clear" was given and the station was reopened.

I understand that LUL is currently carrying out a programme of improved cleaning measures, in particular, to remove litter from the track. It is also looking of eliminating or minimising arcing of trains.

Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many fires have been reported on London underground in each of the last 12 months ; for how many the fire brigade was in attendance ; and how many required evacuation of the premises.

Mr. Freeman : London Underground Ltd. (LUL) tells me that the latest 12-month period for which details of fires are available is April 1989 to March 1990. The record consists of four-week periods rather than calendar months. The figures are as follows :

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Period       |No. of Fires             



<1>29.4.89   |464                      

<1>27.5.89   |584                      

<1>24.6.89   |456                      

<1>22.7.89   |436                      

<1>19.8.89   |385                      

<1>16.9.89   |398                      

<1>14.10.89  |370                      

<1>11.11.89  |276                      

<1>9.12.89   |393                      

<1>6.1.90    |259                      

<1>3.2.90    |303                      

<1>3.3.90    |339                      

<1>31.3.90   |424                      

<1> Four weeks ending                  

The London fire brigade was in attendance at all fires. LUL do not keep records of evacuations of stations as a result of fires, though in 540 cases the train service either did not stop at the station or was suspended, which suggests that the station was evacuated. It was not necessary for LUL to report all fires to the Secretary of State. Those which had to be reported fell into the categories at Schedule 1, Sections 6(d), 6(e), 7(e) and 7(f) of the Railway (Notice of Accidents) Order 1986. This was set out in the answer to the hon. Member on 23 March 1990, Official Report, c. 774-75.

Supply Index

Mr. Devlin : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement about his Department's decision not to participate in the Government supply index.

Mr. Atkins : The Department makes use of GSI by sharing facilities with DOE. The driver and vehicle licensing agency in Swansea has its own subscription.

Heavy Goods Vehicles (First Aid Kits)

Mr. Burns : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if his Department proposes to introduce legislation to compel heavy goods vehicles to carry first aid kits ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Atkins [holding answer 3 May 1990] : Knowing the right thing to do when serious injury occurs can make the difference between life and death. I welcome the steps taken by responsible employers and by individuals themselves to spread this knowledge. Carrying a first aid kit is something that many road users sensibly already do, but it is no substitute for human common sense and knowledge and I do not propose to make it compulsory.

Nuclear Waste (Transportation)

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has concerning the draft code on nuclear waste transboundary transport drawn up by the experts panel of the International Atomic Energy Agency ; how the United Kingdom was represented on the experts panel ; and how the report will affect current safety regulations for nuclear materials transport in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Trippier : I have been asked to reply.

An official of the Department of the Environment attended the meeting of the expert panel which drew up the

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draft code of practice. Current safety regulations for the transport of all radioactive materials in the United Kingdom comply with the recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Any proposed changes to these recommendations resulting from the adoption of the code of practice will need to be agreed by the IAEA before they are embodied into United Kingdom law.


Rural Regeneration

Mr. McGrady : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what work has been undertaken by the inter-departmental committee on rural re-generation under the chairmanship of the permanent secretary in the Department of Agriculture ; and when it will report its findings, proposals and recommendations.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : The inter-departmental committee on rural development has been in operation since January 1990. It continues to work to its general remit of preparing advice for Ministers on how best to carry forward action to tackle the social and economic problems in the most deprived rural areas.

Discussions have taken place with district councils, the rural action project and the promoters of rural development projects. Following a recommendation from the committee it was agreed to fund the rural action project for a further year to 31 March 1991. The committee will report to Ministers as soon as possible commensurate with a comprehensive review and positive


Natural Gas

Mr. Beggs : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what is the estimated cost of providing the necessary infrastructure in Northern Ireland to ensure maximum availability of natural gas in the main centres of population in Northern Ireland ;

(2) what is the estimated cost of linking Northern Ireland by pipeline to the national gas grid of Great Britain.

Mr. Needham : No information is available on these costs which could only be obtained through detailed and expensive financial and technical studies.

Mr. Beggs : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what evidence exists of the likelihood of natural gas reserves in (a) Northern Ireland and (b) off the coastal areas of Northern Ireland.

Mr. Needham : Small amounts of natural gas have been encountered in hydrocarbon exploration wells in County Fermanagh but work on enhancing the yields to commercial levels was not considered warranted by the prospecting companies as gas shows were so small. Elsewhere in Northern Ireland some geological features exist which control the formation and accumulation of hydrocarbons but to date exploration has not confirmed the presence of any significant traces of natural gas or oil. Exploration is continuing under three prospecting licences for areas in Co. Antrim.

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Little is known of the geology of the off- shore area but from what evidence is available the prospectivity of the off -shore area in the vicinity of Rathlin and East Antrim is similar to the adjacent on-shore area.

Mr. Beggs : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the nearest identified source of natural gas in Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

Mr. Needham : Previous studies of the options for the supply of natural gas from Great Britain to Northern Ireland indicated that the most convenient route would be a supply via the west coast of Scotland. The studies also concluded that such a supply would not provide the basis of a viable gas industry for the Province.

DNA Profiling

Mr. McNamara : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether any scientist at the Northern Ireland forensic science laboratory has published articles in peer-reviewed journals on the subject of DNA profiling.

Mr. Cope : No such articles have been published.

Mr. McNamara : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many samples have been taken from how many persons suspected of (a) scheduled offences and (b) non-scheduled offences, distinguishing between (i) samples taken with the consent of the suspect and (ii) samples taken without the consent, and further distinguishing between intimate, and non- intimate, excluding mouth samples, and mouth swabs as defined in schedule 14 to the Criminal Justice Act 1988, under the terms of schedule 14 to the Criminal Justice Act 1988, and subsequently under the Police and Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1989, since the commencement of schedule 14 to the Criminal Justice Act 1988.

Mr. Cope : The information requested could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. McNamara : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he will publish in the Official Report the administrative guidelines for records of DNA samples taken from persons acquitted or not proceeded against in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Cope : Guidance to the police on the identification, by body samples, swabs and impressions, of persons detained under the general criminal law has already been published in the codes of practice issued under the Police and Criminal Evidence (NI) Order 1989 (copies of which are in the Library of the House). Guidance on the identification, by similar means, of persons detained under emergency legislation will be published shortly.

Second-level Students

Mr. Mallon : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many students in second-level education reached their 19th birthday and completed their courses in each year since 1980.

Dr. Mawhinney : The information is as follows :


School year |Number of              




1979-80     |542                    

1981-82     |615                    

1983-84     |705                    

1985-86     |789                    

1986-87     |672                    

1987-88     |695                    

Figures are not available for the school years 1980-81, 1982-83 and 1984-85 and not yet available for 1988-89.

Irish Language Teaching

Mr. John D. Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many copies of the proposals for the teaching of Irish in Irish -medium schools were sent out by the Northern Ireland Curriculum Council ; how many schools were consulted ; how many questions there were in the consultative proposals to be answered ; weeks each school was given to reply to the consultative proposals ; what was the closing date for replies ; how many schools replied to the consultative proposals ; and if he will make a statement.

Dr. Mawhinney : Copies were sent to all grant-aided schools and to other bodies. A total of 7,800 copies were issued and 165 responses were received, of which 50 were from teachers or schools. The copies were issued on 19 February and schools were asked to reply by 30 March, a total of six weeks. To assist the analysis of comments, the council issued a proforma which contained 25 questions but respondents were at liberty to comment also on other matters.


Mr. Maginnis : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many applications relating to terrorist offences have been made for extradition from the Irish Republic to Britain (a) between 1972 and 14 November 1985 and (b) since 15 November 1985 ; how many have been refused ; how many have been granted ; and for how long any outstanding cases have been under consideration.

Mr. Cope [holding answer 23 March 1990] : The information is as follows :

Applications |Persons     |Extradition |Other<1>                 

 submitted   |returned    |refused                               



1 January 1972 to 14 November 1985                               

80           |3           |38          |<2>38                    


15 November 1985 to date                                         

32           |4           |3           |<2>26                    

<1> The category "other" includes cases where warrants were      

returned or withdrawn for a variety of reasons; or where the     

person sought was found to be deceased (2 cases) or was          

subsequently arrested in the United Kingdom (15 cases). There    

were 19 applications outstanding as at 3 April 1990; since the   

majority of these persons have not so far been arrested, an      

account of time spent by each under consideration would not be   


<2> The figures within each category do not tally because in one 

pre-15 November 1985 case the individual concerned was returned  

after that date.                                                 

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Mr. Maginnis : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which organisations were responsible for the 37 terrorist killings which have been carried out in the constituency of Fermanagh and South Tyrone since 15 November 1985 ; and in how many of these killings (a) someone has been convicted for murder by the courts, (b) there is a murder charge presently outstanding and (c) there has been a failure to charge anyone with murder.

Mr. Cope [holding answer 23 March 1990] : Republican terrorist groups are believed to have been responsible for each of the 37 terrorist murders about which the hon. Gentleman has asked. One person has been convicted in respect of two of them ; and five persons are awaiting trial charged with two additional murders, as well as related serious offences. Police inquiries still continue in respect of the remaining 33 murders, but to date no-one has been charged.

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