Dáil Éireann - Volume 355 - 24 January, 1985

Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Trade With South Africa.

8. Mr. Gregory-Independent asked the Minister for Industry, Trade, Commerce and Tourism if he will outline Government policy regarding trade with South Africa; and if he will detail the amount of trade involved at present and Government policy towards Irish firms who import South African products.

Mr. J. Bruton: The Government's policy is not to interfere with the activities of individual firms in Ireland who engage in either import or export business generally with South Africa. However, no assistance is given by Coras Tráchtála, which is charged with the development of exports, to traders doing business with that country.

The Government strictly observe a United Nations Security Council resolution which forbids the export of arms and ammunition to South Africa. The Deputy is aware that information on both import and export trade is available, on a country by country basis, from the Central Statistics Office.

Mr. Gregory-Independent: The Minister's reply suggests that Government policy is not favourably disposed towards trade with South Africa, but I fail to understand what Government policy is towards firms trading with South Africa. Therefore, would the Minister be disposed to intercede with Dunne's Stores in Henry Street where some staff have been on strike for more than six months because they refuse to handle South African goods?

Mr. J. Bruton: This is a matter of industrial relations and it is for the Minister for Labour to intervene.

[659] Mr. Gregory-Independent: I am aware of that, but is the Minister aware that a number of Dublin stores, including Clery's, Best's and Roches Stores, withdrew South African goods from sale when the matter was brought to their attention? In furtherance of Government policy would the Minister be prepared to request Dunne's Stores to do likewise? It would do something practical about Government policy.

Mr. J. Bruton: I am not aware that arrangements made by individual stores are as a result of interference by the Government. My belief is that these arrangements were made by the individual stores. Obviously the Government do not interfere with the activities of individual firms. The Government are strictly observing international obligations in regard to trade with South Africa.