Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 3 Dec 1970

Vol. 250 No. 3

Ceisteanna-Questions. Oral Answers. - Inter-Departmental Unit on Northern Ireland.


asked the Taoiseach if he will indicate the number of personnel in the inter-Departmental unit set up to deal with developments in Northern Ireland; and whether the unit maintains contacts with other Departments.

As I stated in this House on the 22nd July last the inter-departmental unit on the north reports to me through the Minister for External Affairs. It comprises a senior official from my Department and from each of the Departments of External Affairs and Finance, with alternates. It does not operate on a full-time basis. The unit works in conjunction with the section of the Department of External Affairs concerned with Anglo-Irish political matters. That section has the full-time services of two senior officials of that Department and the necessary supplementary staff. Its principal functions are to consider and to deal with all matters of a political nature which affect relations between this country and Britain, including matters relating to Northern Ireland. Both the unit and the section maintain contact with other Departments.

Are there any meetings of Ministers which connect with this committee?

There is not a specific committee of Ministers in connection with this committee. The committee reports to me through the Minister for External Affairs. From time to time, we have consultations about the activities of the committee.

Is this the committee which will be examining the question of any possible changes in the Constitution?

It will have regard to possible changes but that is being done by an inter-Departmental committee chaired by the Attorney General.

Does the Taoiseach envisage from this committee any new elements in our approach to the north?

Suggestions will come from the committee from time to time and we shall take account of them.