Mr. Loyden : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on progress towards the resumption of constitutional talks and his most recent discussions with the Northern Ireland parties and the Government of the Republic of Ireland on this process.
Mr. Ancram : The talks process has been continuing in recent months in the form of bilateral discussions with three of the four main constitutional parties in Northern Ireland and discussions with the Irish Government. My right hon. and learned Friend is meeting the leaders of the three parties concerned and discussing ideas with them for giving direction to further bilateral discussions, across all three strands. Contacts will therefore continue, in the form of bilateral meetings, for the immediate future. Our objective is to return to multilateral talks covering all three key sets of relationships and involving the two Governments and the four main constitutional parties.
Mr. Ancram : My predecessor, the hon. Member for Richmond and Barnes (Mr. Hanley), met the chief electoral officer for Northern Ireland on 3 February last year. After that meeting my hon. Friend wrote to Northern Ireland's main political parties concerning electoral matters which had been raised at the meetings on 15 December 1992 and 5 January 1993 with the parties.
Mr. Tim Smith : By the end of December 1992 the total number of owner-occupied properties was 363,500 or 66 per cent. of total occupied stock. Nearly 57,000 owner-occupiers have bought their houses from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive under its sales scheme while a further 12,400 have entered home-ownership through the co-ownership scheme operated by the Northern Ireland Co-ownership Housing Association.
20. Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he next intends to discuss with representatives of the health service in Northern Ireland matters relating to the organisation of health care.
Mr. Ancram : My noble Friend Baroness Denton is taking forward a review of the way in which the Government's new purchasing arrangements for health and personnel social services are carried out in Northern Ireland. This review should be completed by the end of May 1994.
As part of the review there is consultation with a wide range of health and social services representatives.
Sir John Wheeler : I have already announced my intention to introduce legislation to reinforce the requirement on courts to ascertain and take account of offenders' means when imposing fines. I believe that this will help to reduce the extent of fine default in Northern Ireland.
I am also looking at measures to reduce the use of imprisonment when fine default does occur. Various alternatives are under consideration, but I shall wish to be satisfied that they are likely to prove both practical and cost-effective.
It remains the Government's view, however, that it is necessary for imprisonment to be retained as the ultimate sanction for fine default.
Mr. Ancram : The Government continue to receive a great number of letters and a number of petitions from individuals interested in the prospects for peace in Northern Ireland. In the period since the Prime Minister and the Taoiseach signed their joint declaration on15 December last year, my right hon. and learned Friend and the Prime Minister have received almost 700 letters from residents of Great Britain on this issue. The vast majority of this correspondence expresses a heartfelt desire for peace in Northern Ireland, and a hope that the joint declaration can pave the way for that peace.
Sir Patrick Mayhew : The Government hope that the political talks involving the main constitutional parties in Northern Ireland and the two Governments will continue. Issues such as devolved government for Northern Ireland, and a Bill of Rights, fall within the remit of those talks described in my predecessor's statement of 26 March 1991.
Sir Patrick Mayhew : There are no plans at present to hold a meeting at ministerial level under the auspices of the Anglo-Irish intergovernmental council, although a working group of officials dealing with education and culture is due to meet before the summer.
Eastern Health and Social Services Board--
N. G. D. Ferguson
Non-executive members :
J. C. Morton
D. J. McGuiness
Mrs. G. M. Loughran
Professor R. W. Stout
P. J. McLachlan
Executive members :
P. Kinder-- Chief Executive
Miss A. Paisley-- Director of Finance
Ms A. Lynch-- Director of Planning
E. McCullough-- Director of Operations
R. Moore-- Director of Social Services
Vacant-- Director of Public Health
Northern Health and Social Services Board--
R. J. Hanna
Non-Executive members :
Lady J. Brett
D. J. Clement
J. D. McMullan
M. A O'Connor
Mrs. N. P. O'Loan
Mrs. A. V. Smyth
Executive members :
D. D. Smyth-- General Manager
Miss S. Irwin-- Director of Social Services
Dr. J. D. Watson-- Director of Public Health
A. Hamilton-- Director of Finance
Miss E. McNair-- Director of Quality Assurance and Nursing Services
S. MacDonnell-- Director of Planning and Information
Southern health and social services board--
J. D. Thompson
Non-Executive Members :
Mrs. G. Donaghy
W. F. Gillespie
Mrs. J. Power
C. A. J. Quinn
D. J. Ryan
S. R. P. Wright
Executive Members :
Dr. P. Kilbane-- Chief Executive
R. Blair-- Director of Social Services
B. P. Cunningham-- Director of Finance and Information
M. Doris-- Director of Planning
Dr. A. M. Telford-- Director of Public Health
F. A. Rice-- Director of Human Resources and Nursing
Western health and social services board--
R. G. Toland
Non-Executive Members :
Mrs. M. R. Cooper
W. S. Donaghy
P. J. Kelly
Mrs. C. R. Lavery
Mrs. A. F. Mark
Column 992Executive Members :
T. J. Frawley-- General Manager
Dr. D. Burke-- Director of Social Care
S. Cuddy-- Director of Finance and Information
Dr. W. McConnell-- Director of Public Health
(Acting Director of Health Care)
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many visits abroad each Minister of State made during 1993 ; and what was (a) the cost to public funds and (b) the purpose of each visit.
(a) Mr. Mates
Meeting with EC Commissioner in Brussels.
An Intergovernmental Conference meeting in Dublin with other Ministers.
(b) Sir John Wheeler
Meeting in Dublin.
(c) Mr. Atkins
A transport and air exhibition in Hamburg.
A rugby international in Dublin.
A North South environmental and housing conference in Dublin. Le Bourget air show in Paris.
Anuga Food Festival in Cologne.
A cross border trade conference in Dublin.