Northern Ireland Assembly Flax Flower Logo

Northern Ireland Assembly

Tuesday 8 May 2001 (continued)

Another problem which has arisen in recent years is that many of the fireworks being used in Northern Ireland are illegally imported. I read with interest the almost weekly piece in the 'News Letter' which says that the police have raided Nutt's Corner and Jonesborough markets and found that 70% of the fireworks they have seized are illegal. That indicates that 30% of the fireworks are legal. From my experience of reading the papers and watching the court cases, I suspect that the vast bulk of the fireworks sold in these markets are illegally imported. This enables unscrupulous individuals in the Province, who are used to smuggling, to make a large amount of money selling fireworks that are extremely dangerous, particularly to children.

We must take a long hard look at the matter and come up with sensible proposals that enable people to enjoy fireworks - and I accept that a great deal of enjoyment can be gained from watching fireworks. We also need to reduce some of the misery being inflicted on society throughout the Province from the start of September until the end of October or early November. During that period a great deal of police time is taken up in trying to apprehend culprits and reassuring the elderly and those being intimidated by fireworks. Frankly, there is enough ordinary crime on the streets without police time being wasted chasing after these culprits.

I have been told at sub-divisional commander level in Ballynahinch and Kilkeel that during that period in the autumn, the largest number of complaints the police receive is as a result of fireworks.

We had the most obscene example of the abuse of fireworks in Castlewellan last Halloween. There is absolutely no doubt that terrorists used the cover of the illegal use of fireworks in that town to cover up a dastardly attack on a member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary. Five police officers were summoned from Newcastle to Castlewellan to try to control a mob abusing fireworks in the town causing absolute havoc in that community - a strongly Nationalist community who called on the police to intervene and defuse the situation. Whilst all of that was going on, terrorists were using it as a cover to plant a bomb at the entrance to Castlewellan RUC station, seriously injuring a policeman who tried to move it. With the threat of terrorism still hanging over us, the last thing we need is for the attention of the police to be distracted for two months of the year trying to control this situation.

Given the amount of smuggling and the fact that there are cheap, imported fireworks, a lot of black economy is involved in this. If we are going to introduce controls on fireworks, we must not only control their use, but also their import and sale.

Mr McCarthy's motion hits the problem on the head. We are bringing together a wide range of interests. The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, the Department of the Environment and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety need to be brought together to work out a sensible policy, which can then be implemented throughout the Province.

The policy should have the support of district councils, the police, this Assembly and parents' representatives to ensure that this problem is stopped. The one difficulty I see is that this is a growing problem throughout the Province. It is not going to get any easier to control, so we must act now. I congratulate Mr McCarthy on bringing forward the motion and urge all Members to support it. I am glad to say that others have seen the light and are also supporting stricter controls.

From a pure self-interest point of view, this would mean that my time during the autumn would not be wasted in trying to reassure elderly people, the disabled and pet owners, and trying to bring the culprits to book by contacting the police. This is a sensible way to bring the problem under control.

My ultimate fear is that someday one of those "tricks", as they are called, will go tragically wrong. Perhaps a firework will be put through a pensioner's door and lead to a fire; perhaps a pensioner will be so harassed that he or she will have a heart attack. Something tragic will happen if this problem is not nipped in the bud. I give this motion my complete support, and I hope that a working party is established as a matter of urgency.

Mr A Maginness:

I strongly agree with the sentiments expressed by Mr Wells, Mr McCarthy and Mrs Courtney today. However, to describe the problem of uncontrolled fireworks as a nuisance is probably to underestimate the damage and concern that it causes to many in the community, particularly to older people. I frequently receive complaints from retired and elderly people who cannot get a night's sleep and whose evenings are disrupted by exploding fireworks in or around their homes.

Fireworks also pose a considerable problem as regards domestic animals, particularly dogs. We should have concern for pets in our society. They are defenceless in the face of fireworks, and we should afford them a degree of protection which hitherto they have not received.

Fireworks affect a third category - the young people themselves. Whether they realise it or not, they are exposing themselves to considerable danger by using fireworks in an uncontrolled, unsupervised fashion. Although the law is against the sale of fireworks to young people under 16 years of age, the law is honoured more in the breach than in the observance. One wonders what type of responsible retailers would sell fireworks to young people. It is the height of irresponsibility to allow that to happen.

Not only shopkeepers are at fault; perhaps street traders who are selling those items to young people are more at fault than shopkeepers. As Mr Wells pointed out, many of the fireworks that are sold in Northern Ireland are extremely powerful foreign imports. Their explosive contents are unregulated. As a result, young people are exposing themselves to even more danger.

The use of fireworks in streets and other public areas is prohibited by law. Again, the law is honoured more in the breach than in the observance. Society must demand zero tolerance of the unauthorised use of fireworks. We must change the current culture of tolerance to a culture of intolerance towards the unauthorised use of fireworks. We are too tolerant about it.

We are too tolerant. We say "Where is the harm if some youngsters let off a few squibs? Are they not entitled to a little fun?" It is not a little bit of fun for elderly people, domestic animals, and so forth. Young people are also exposed to serious danger.

11.30 am

I welcome the motion and the idea of setting up a joint working party with the Northern Ireland Office. It is important that we look at the whole area of the unauthorised use of fireworks and bring forward a series of measures to deal with the problem. We should do it now, and do it quickly, because the next season of unauthorised fireworks will soon be upon us. Any working party set up should report quickly and come up with practical measures to deal with this mischief.

Mr J Kelly:

Go raibh maith agat. I support the motion, Cheann Comhairle. Mr Wells said that he had been to Disneyland. As I listened to his trying to extrapolate out of this debate a stick with which to beat Sinn Féin, I wondered whether he was still there. That is no way to support this motion.

Fireworks have been a part of life in most communities - not just in this part of Ireland but in the rest of Ireland and in England, Scotland and Wales. When I was a young man, Halloween was not Halloween without fireworks. What I am going to say may be nostalgia, but there did not seem to be as many injuries or as much mischief relating to fireworks.

I am glad that Kieran McCarthy is not proposing the banning of fireworks. Under controlled conditions, fireworks can offer a very acceptable form of amusement and even an art form. A controlled fireworks display is as entertaining as a musical show that is watched on television or at a live display. There is nothing wrong with fireworks, providing experienced people use them in a controlled manner.

The tormenting of old people through the misuse of fireworks has become increasingly prevalent - that is brought up at council meetings year in, year out. In my day, you tied a piece of thread to someone's door knocker, hid around the corner, knocked the door and ran away. Nowadays it seems that you light a bundle of fireworks and put them through a person's letter box - or, worse still, you break a window and throw them in. That is not an appropriate form of amusement at a time when there should be enjoyment. There is a need for control, and we must ask where that control should come from. Should it come from the parents? They must know, because they give children the money to buy these things.

Mr B Hutchinson:

One of my concerns is that people are talking in general terms, implying that every young person is a thug. We need to be careful, because many young people have a great deal to contribute to this society; they are the future. I am not opposed to what is being said in general, but we need to recognise that not all young people misuse fireworks.

Secondly, some parents buy fireworks for use in their own back gardens. That is a degree of control. I want to point out to some Members that we should not be tarring all young people with the same brush, or tying them all to the one rocket.

Mr J Kelly:

Mr Hutchinson intervened at the wrong time. I was going on to suggest that many young people and many parents behave in a responsible way with regard to fireworks. I was not making a general statement about how some young people abuse this as they abuse other substances such as drugs and alcohol. I was going on to say that in controlled circumstances, young people and parents can have a good, neighbourly display of fireworks in their front or back gardens or in the street.

My comments were about those cases that are increasingly becoming the rule rather than the exception, where old people are tortured and tormented by young people abusing fireworks. There is no question about that - it happens. It happens on every estate, certainly on the estates in my area. I know from experience and from conversations I have had that it happens on other estates.

How we deal with it and legislate for it is another question. I suggest that parents have a responsibility, as they have in other areas of parental control, to ensure that if their children are buying fireworks, they know what kind of fireworks they are buying, what they intend to use them for and how they intend to use them. Fireworks endanger the lives of those who use them and those whom they are being used against.

I welcome Mr McCarthy's motion. On a good morning like this, it is perhaps not timely, in seasonal terms, but it puts down a marker for the Assembly to ensure that we take cognisance of the concerns that people are expressing, and have expressed, about this very emotive subject.

Mr Nesbitt:

As Mr McCarthy said this morning, this is perhaps not an opportune day to be discussing fireworks. It is the month of May, with nice temperatures and not a cloud in the sky, and here we are having a debate on fireworks.

Fireworks are not unknown to this Chamber in the word's metaphorical sense, never mind its literal one. However, this is a very serious matter indeed. All those who spoke supported the motion, and they all recognised that there is enjoyment to be had with fireworks. I note that Mr Wells referred to Disneyworld. I am sure that many of us have witnessed the wonderful fireworks there. Mr John Kelly talked about the nostalgia of the old days. I too remember Halloween. Halloween would not have gone past without bangers or "squibs", as we called them in the vernacular. Yes, we did enjoy ourselves. There is enjoyment to be had with fireworks.

However, there was also a theme running through the debate this morning of the misuse of fireworks, whether about young people or the elderly, in a sense, or about the law's not being adhered to, as Mr Maginness and Mrs Courtney mentioned.

We must also recognise - and Mr Billy Hutchinson made reference to this - that we are not in any way castigating all of the youth for what happens today. I, for one, and others recognise that the youth of today probably face more challenges than we ever faced in our youth. Today's youth are to be commended for how they react in the environment in which they find themselves. We do not in any way condemn them. I have no doubt that Mr Billy Hutchinson's interjection is resoundingly supported by all. None of the Members who spoke tried to give the impression that the youth of today are to be condemned.

Of course we have witnessed the misuse of fireworks, with the odd rocket suddenly going off in the quiet of the country and disturbing people. Mr McCarthy and Mr Wells referred to senior citizens, who probably suffer most. As Mr John Kelly said, there are those who do not just tie the cord to the letter box, pull it and run but put the firework through the letter box and much more besides. Senior citizens have a concern, and we must reflect that concern and endeavour to make sure that it is dealt with.

Mr McCarthy also mentioned pets. Pets are also innocent, and, in a sense, those who wish to do evil do it on pets as well. That must be a concern for us. Rev Robert Coulter asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety about the number of injuries last year, and it was reported that 100 people were treated in accident and emergency departments for injuries caused by fireworks. Thankfully, no one was killed during that autumn period, but, nonetheless, that is 100 injuries too many. Therefore, the Assembly - and the Administration in particular - must not be complacent.

(Mr Deputy Speaker [Sir John Gorman] in the Chair)

Let me refer to what Government Departments and the NIO have been doing over the period. Since 1996, the NIO has funded, and has been closely involved in, the annual fireworks safety media campaign. That campaign results from collaboration with agencies throughout the United Kingdom, and also the Department of Trade and Industry, working closely with the Northern Ireland Fireworks Safety Group.

I will put on record how that group is made up. It comprises the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), Home Accident Prevention Northern Ireland, the Departments of Health, Social Services and Public Safety and Education, the NIO, the Fire Authority for Northern Ireland, the RUC, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, the health promotion agencies, district councils and Crimestoppers. There is a co-ordination group working there. We must give recognition to the work that is being done thereand not lose sight of it. We must not, through this motion, give the impression that no one out there is doing anything. It is quite the reverse.

In general, the campaign has focused, through those various agencies, on children, because every year over half the injuries caused by fireworks are sustained by schoolchildren. Last year it was decided to introduce a schools resource pack, designed primarily to teach the safe usage of fireworks. That message was taken to the classroom. It was covered in Key Stages 1 to 4 and was distributed to both primary and post-primary schools.

The Northern Ireland Fireworks Safety Group is always seeking ways to increase children's awareness of safety: I emphasise that again. It is considering having seminars and is working, as is the Department of Health, to develop a hard-hitting fireworks safety drama for this autumn. Work is being done, and I wish to put that on the record.

Mr McCarthy mentioned the darkening nights of early autumn. I understand that the NIO is entering discussions with representatives of the fireworks industry to consider ways of restricting the period during which fireworks are available. We note that.

That fits in with what Mrs Courtney and Alban Maginness said about the law's being honoured more in the breach than in the observance. Alban Maginness said that it was the "height of irresponsibility" to sell fireworks to under-age children, and that has been noted by the Office of the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister.

11.45 am

Members have had a good discussion this morning. The Office of the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister has noted where problems are to be found and where they are not to be found. Lack of education is part of the problem, as are those who abuse the law in selling fireworks. Those two issues must be addressed, and the law must be more strictly adhered to.

However, links have been established throughout Northern Ireland's administrative structure. From 1999 to 2000 firework-related injuries fell by 28%. However, one should never take statistics in isolation. One year does not establish a trend, but that is an optimistic figure nonetheless.

The Administration are not complacent. They will continue to develop and work on what needs to be done. All participating Members spoke in favour of the motion; no one dissented. Therefore the Executive will carefully consider the motion.

Mrs E Bell:

Mr McCarthy and I are grateful for the participation of Members in the debate and their recognition of the issue's seriousness. We are also grateful to the Junior Minister for attending; his words are heartening. It is only right that Members have had the debate and that it is pushed along so that the situation may improve.

My Colleague Mr McCarthy has outlined the reasons for tabling the motion. We want action to be taken before the outbreak of the fireworks season. From August to Christmas there are bangs at all hours of the day and night. Legislation should look at that. The fear and terror that elderly people, families and pets experience is dreadful. The Assembly must take that on board and ensure that it is stopped.

It may be difficult to set up an interdepartmental working group, but that should not deter the Assembly. The NIO will also have to be involved, and Members must acknowledge the role of the police, who have great difficulty in dealing with the many incidents that occur. Alban Maginness is right in saying that the message should be one of zero tolerance for the misuse of fireworks.

Mr Shannon:

Does the Member agree that rather than being a source of pleasure and fun, fireworks have been turned into weapons and used against senior citizens, animal owners and families? Does she agree that the working group needs to achieve a balance between the legitimate use of fireworks and ensuring that people do not live in fear of them?

Mrs E Bell:

As a councillor on North Down Borough Council I must say that fireworks are a wonderful form of entertainment if properly supervised. However, they are being seriously misused in some instances - as some Members have mentioned - and that must be addressed.

We must look at all the possible causes and solutions and at the legislation concerning the sale of fireworks to individuals. Police must be afforded more manpower and resources to deal with the problems and to identify the people causing them.

As Billy Hutchinson rightly said, not every young person in every estate - private or council-owned - misuses fireworks. However, the numbers are increasing every year, and we must be concerned about that. Members have graphically outlined concerns about their constituents' safety. We do not wish to ban fireworks, but we must ensure that the situation is improved.

Remember, this problem will involve the RUC and even the Fire and Ambulance Services at times. Public safety and the danger to the environment are other issues that we need to look at. We require collective action. Mr Wells is quite right in outlining all the other possible repercussions of allowing fireworks to be freely available. I witnessed an example of these repercussions: a banger was thrown into the hallway of pensioners' flats. One resident was taken to hospital and was never able to return to his home afterwards, while the others required attention and reassurance from police and the community.

The buzz phrase is "community safety". Community associations should therefore be involved in this problem. Not all of our young people are involved in the misuse of fireworks, but if this problem is not dealt with, it will become an issue as serious as drugs or alcohol. Legislation does not solve the problem. I hope that immediate and effective action will now be taken and that today will be not just a marker, as Mr John Kelly suggested.

The National Campaign for Firework Reform and other relevant agencies state that their work would be easier with obvious support from the Assembly. The work that is already being done is not recognised by those directly affected. More public relations work needs to be done, and I appreciate the junior Minister's statement on the need for seminars.

Let us be under no illusions about this. If this problem is not dealt with effectively, more serious accidents and fatalities will occur. When they hear bangs at all hours of the day, elderly people will remember terrorising noises in the past - as will Members. That cannot continue. What use are we as a locally elected Assembly if we cannot deal directly with these problems for the safety of our people?

We do not wish to ban small family fireworks displays. Some of these are very good. I do not want to put problems in the way of families, charities and councils such as the North Down Borough Council who want to organise such events. I ask the Office of the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister to take all these comments on board. I am glad that the junior Minister has made that commitment today, and I ask him and the Assembly to please support this motion.

Question put and agreed to.


That this Assembly calls on the Executive to establish an interdepartmental working group in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Office to examine ways in which the nuisance caused by fireworks can be abated.

Mr Deputy Speaker:

The House will now suspend until Question Time at 2.30 pm.

Mr Tierney:

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. Is it not possible to move the 4.00 pm business up the Order Paper and proceed with it now? There are one-and- a-half hours left for debate, and we could extend that for a further half-hour. As Mr Speaker stressed this morning, the times on the Order Paper are indicative.

Mr Deputy Speaker:

As you say, the indicative times suggested a close at 1.30 pm, and it is now just coming up to 12 o'clock. Ministers are advised to be here at 2.30 pm for Question Time. I have no intention of switching that programme. The House will suspend until 2.30 pm.

Mr Tierney:

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. The Ministers are advised to be in the Chamber at 2.30 pm for Question Time. There is no reason why a two-hour debate could not last from 12 o'clock until 2.00 pm.

Mr Deputy Speaker:

Mr Tierney you know my views.

The sitting was suspended at 12.01 pm

2.30 pm

On resuming (Mr Deputy Speaker [Mr McClelland] in the Chair)

Oral Answers to Questions


Enterprise, Trade and Investment

AVX Coleraine (Grants)


Mr Dallat

asked the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment to outline the value of grants made available to AVX Coleraine in each of the last three financial years and to indicate the net gain in jobs to date.

(AQO 1412/00)

The Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (Sir Reg Empey):

The offers of Government assistance made in the last three financial years, including training and Industrial Research and Technology Unit (IRTU) support, amount to £10,664,300. In that time frame employment has risen from a low of 835 in the year ending March 1999, to a high of 1,349 earlier this year. Current employment is 1,238.

Mr Dallat:

I thank the Minister for his reply and for his continuing interest in employment in Coleraine. Is the Minister aware that people who were made redundant from the textile industry in the last year have again been made redundant by AVX? Given that this company has moved part of its operations to the Czech Republic, where labour is much cheaper, can he understand workers' concern that the electronics industry might follow the same pattern as the textile industry? Can he assure the House that everything possible is being done to ensure that AVX continues to prosper, and that there is a broader base of industry in Coleraine?

Sir Reg Empey:

I am conscious that some people have moved from textiles to telecom and other information communication technology (ICT)-related sectors and that they have found themselves in similar circumstances as before. This has been the case for some Nortel employees, for example. The Czech operation is currently controlled from Coleraine. While I understand the point about labour costs, we are going to face that problem as a result of competition from all Third World and developing countries. The only way to stay ahead is to have better innovation, technology and practices than those found anywhere else.

Offers of assistance do not necessarily mean that money has been, or will be, paid. Offers of assistance are drawn down systematically over a period, if targets are reached. The fact that this figure has been mentioned does not mean that it has been obtained. I accept the Member's point and assure him that I intend to visit the Coleraine area soon. I have visited the area frequently, and I am aware that many people in that district are concerned, particularly those in the tourism sector.

Mr McClarty:

I am aware of the Minister's deep concern for employment matters in Coleraine and other regions in Northern Ireland. The Minister will know, as Mr Dallat said, that AVX employees are gravely concerned about their future. Can the Minister assure the House that every possible means of assistance will be given to AVX during its present difficulties, and that it will continue to be given to them?

Sir Reg Empey:

The figure that I quoted in response to Mr Dallat's question - a sum in excess of £10·6 million, including IRTU support -illustrates my Department's commitment to this company's development. This company has been in Northern Ireland for a considerable number of years. It is not a fly-by-night operation, and we believe that its technology is of the highest possible calibre. The last financial year was its most successful ever. In spite of the announcement of its cutbacks, its employment levels are still above the targets set out in its letter of offer from the IDB. Therefore, there is no clawback happening at this stage.

We are in touch with them regularly, but we have to remember that we are part of an international market. Things that happen in North America affect us, because many of AVX's customers are in North America. We are not insulated from any of these effects. I assure Mr McClarty that the IDB and IRTU are doing everything in their power to ensure that this company receives all the assistance that the state can provide.

Foot-and-Mouth Disease
(All-Ireland Initiative)


Mr McElduff

asked the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment to work in close co-operation with the Minister of Tourism, Sport and Recreation in the Irish Government to devise an all-Ireland initiative aimed at countering any damage caused to the tourism industry by the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.

(AQO 1378/00)

Sir Reg Empey:

I have already discussed with Dr McDaid ways in which he and I might work together to counter damage to the tourism industry caused by the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. I said that I would be happy to participate in a joint promotion with him, especially in the United States of America.

Mr McElduff:

Ba mhaith liom mo bhuíochas a ghabháil leis an Aire as a fhreagra; cuirim fáilte roimhe. Ach dar liom féin go bhfuil comhoibriú ar an ábhar seo fíorthábhachtach.

I thank the Minister for the information. Has he any further update for tourism-related industries, hotels and restaurants and farmers who have diversified into agritourism? All have experienced cancellations and suffered great consequential loss. Is any mechanism in place, or likely to be in place, to allow them to obtain compensation packages?

Sir Reg Empey:

I refer the Member to an answer I gave last month to Mr Shannon. I said that the impact of foot-and-mouth disease on the tourism sector is widely acknowledged. Economic consequences are included in risk analyses and constantly reviewed by the Executive group chaired by Ms Rodgers. We are co-operating fully with other Departments.

The issue of compensation has raised its head and is a matter of concern. However, I stress to the Member that the solutions to the industry's problems do not lie in compensation, which, by definition, is going to be at the margins. The only way that we will resolve the problems in the industry is to get the visitors back, which I also said last week. Dr McDaid takes that view, which is also the view of other tourism ministers in the UK, with whom I met two weeks ago in Glasgow. They all said that we have to concentrate on getting the tourists back.

The Executive, in a statement last week, said that they had discussed the economic impact of foot-and- mouth disease on business in Northern Ireland and agreed that a grant aid scheme in lieu of rates relief should be developed, details of which the Executive hope to announce shortly. It is likely that my Department, among others, will be handling that scheme, because, as the Member knows, the legislation concerning rates relief in Northern Ireland is different from that in Great Britain. That scheme will be designed to help in some way. However, it is not the solution to the problem.

Job Losses (Fermanagh)


Mr McHugh

asked the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment to detail what progress has been made by IDB and the local task force in tackling recent job losses in the Fermanagh area.

(AQO 1415/00)

Sir Reg Empey:

The task force is a council-led initiative, supported by local industry, to analyse Fermanagh's competitive position for a range of opportunities and to identify barriers to growth. The IDB, LEDU, and the Training and Employment Agency are working with that group, which I met on 4 May in Enniskillen to receive a report highlighting local priorities.

Mr McHugh:

A LeasCheann Comhairle, I thank the Minister for his answer and also for meeting with the delegation from Fermanagh and South Tyrone and myself this morning to discuss job losses. One point that he made to me was that many of those businesses closed without asking for any help from the IDB, the Assembly or anyone. That is a fairly important factor.

Is there anything that the new grouping, or the local task force, can do to project the risk of other businesses closing in a similar situation?

Sir Reg Empey:

As the Member said, I met him and his Colleagues this morning. I also visited the County on Friday to receive the report, sent from the task force, which was prepared by Peter Quinn Consultancy Services. That report sets out a route map and strategy for the county. A very high-powered task force has been established, to which the IDB, LEDU, and the Training and Employment Agency are contributing.

I want to emphasise a point that is not often understood and one that I hope he, his Colleagues and Members will get across. On many occasions lay-offs are announced to the workforce at the same time as they are disclosed to us. Frequently we may find out from the press or via a telephone call from a councillor or MLA. In most cases, companies do not ask for help. I suspect the reason is that they do not want help. I say to the Member that if he knows where such a situation exists, our agencies would be happy to provide help.

Mrs Courtney:

There have been job losses and hardship caused, particularly in the Fermanagh area. However, the Minister will agree that other areas have also suffered, particularly the Derry City Council area. Last week, we had further job losses in the textile industry with the loss of some jobs at Desmonds. Will the Minister assure us that he and his Department are doing all they can to alleviate the hardship that these job losses cause?

Mr Deputy Speaker:

I remind Members that the question was not directly related to Fermanagh.

Sir Reg Empey:

The Member makes a point that many of my Colleagues have made in the Chamber. I am acutely aware of this problem, particularly in the textile industry. If any information is available to Members, please let IDB or LEDU know so that we can do something about it in time.

Foot-and-Mouth Disease
(Impact on Tourism)


Mr McCarthy

asked the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment to detail the impact of foot-and- mouth disease on the tourist industry.

(AQO 1385/00)


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