I propose to take Questions Nos. 13 and 15 together.
The Executive Bodies of the ITGWU and the FWUI have announced their intention to amalgamate and have expressed the hope that the new union will formally come into existence on 1 January 1990. However, the final decision in the matter rests with the membership of both unions and the proposals will be circulated to all members for consideration and voting upon later this year. It would, therefore, be inappropriate for me or the Government to anticipate the results of the ballot and the questions of marking the merger does not arise at this stage.
I would like, however, to take this opportunity to welcome the proposed amalgamation and to congratulate the leadership of both unions on this historic development. I think this development bodes well for the rationalisation of Irish trade unions and it is my fervent hope that it will lead to an accelerated process in the direction of a unified and cohesive trade union movement.