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Present: Danny Kennedy (Chairperson)
Naomi Long (Deputy Chairperson)
Tom Elliot
Dolores Kelly
Francie Molloy
Stephen Moutray
Jim Shannon
Jimmy Spratt

In Attendance: Damien Martin (Assembly Clerk)
Joe Sloan (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Antonia Hoskins (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Lynda Mulholland (Clerical Supervisor)
Marion Johnson (Clerical Officer)
Eileen Regan (Senior Researcher)

The meeting opened at 2.06 p.m. in Public Session.

1. Apologies

Barry McElduff, Martina Anderson, Jim Wells

2. Chairperson’s business

Members agreed that the Committee would move into closed session at item 9 if considered necessary to enable questions relating to the business case for the Maze/Long Kesh regeneration.

Mr Elliot joined the meeting at 2.11 p.m.

3. Draft minutes of the meeting held on 20 June 2007

The minutes of proceedings for Wednesday 20 June 2007 were agreed by the Committee.

4. Matters arising

Mr Spratt joined the meeting at 2.24 p.m.

Terms of reference for the review of the Office of the Commissioner for Children and Young People

The Committee noted the information provided on the terms of reference for the review of the Office of the Commissioner for the Children and Young People and agreed to write to the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) for clarification on the scope of this review and the review of legislation conducted by the Commissioner. The Committee also agreed to invite the Commissioner for Children and Young People to attend the Committee early in the next session to discuss matters relating to the reviews.

Letter to First Minister and deputy First Minister seeking clarification following meeting of 20 June 2007

The Committee noted the letter from the Chairperson to the First Minister and deputy First Minister thanking them for their attendance at the Committee meeting on 20 June 2007 and seeking further information on the Programme for Government. The Committee agreed to seek further clarification on priorities for government during 2007-2008.

Letter to statutory committee chairpersons on the Executive’s emerging priorities

The Committee noted the letter from the Chairperson to the chairpersons of other statutory committees, advising them of the outcomes of discussions with the First Minister and deputy First Minister on the Programme for Government.

Response from OFMDFM on forward work programme

Members noted that a response had been received from OFMDFM on the Lifetime Opportunities strategy, the Public Reform Bill and the Cost of Division research. Members were advised that responses to requests for information relating to the North/South Ministerial Council, the British Irish Council and the gifting of further lands to the Executive are still outstanding.

5. Review of Civic Form

The Committee discussed the letter from OFMDFM which advised that the draft terms of reference for the review of the Civic Forum were still under consideration by Ministers and were unlikely to be available to the Committee before the recess. Members agreed to write to OFMDFM seeking confirmation that the Committee will be consulted on the terms of reference before the review commences.

6. Single Equality Bill

The Committee considered a research paper from Eileen Regan (Senior Researcher) on issues relating to the working paper produced by OFMDFM on the Single Equality Bill before being briefed by departmental officials, Dr Gerry Mulligan, Orla Ward and Patricia Carey, on work to develop the Single Equality Bill. Officials advised the Committee that work was ongoing to update OFMDFM’s pre-consultation discussion paper to reflect the policy of the Executive. The Chairperson thanked the officials for the briefing and the Committee agreed to return to the issue when policy relating to the Single Equality Bill has been further developed.

Mr Moutray left the meeting at 2.55 p.m.
Mr Molloy left the meeting at 3.00 p.m.

7. Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPANI)

Members noted the response from OFMDFM to its letter of 1 June 2007 on issues relating to legislation on public appointments and the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments. The Committee agreed to forward a copy of the letter to the Commissioner and to schedule an update on the review of the Commissioner’s Office for early in the next Assembly session.

8. Forward Work Plan

The Committee considered a paper provided by the Secretariat and agreed prioritisation of a number of issues scheduled to be brought before the Committee in the next Assembly session. The Committee undertook to further consider the draft Forward Work Programme and potential areas for Committee review and inquiry at its next meeting.

Members agreed that they would wish to explore how best to ensure that issues relating to dealing with the past and the overall strategy for victims and survivors are effectively connected and that it would therefore be helpful for the Committee to engage with the consultative forum on dealing with legacy of the past recently established by the Secretary of State.

9. Any other business

The Committee noted the additional interest declared by the Deputy Chairperson.

The Committee noted that the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment would be calling witnesses from the Economic Research Institute of Northern Ireland.

The Committee considered correspondence from the Community Relations Council and agreed to invite the Community Relations Council to attend the Committee when it is considering reports from OFMDFM on Shared Future and Racial Equality.

The Committee considered correspondence from Relatives for Justice and agreed to respond indicating that the Committee is still formulating its approach on the issue of dealing with past and will be considering the involvement of key stakeholders as part of this process.

Mrs Kelly left the meeting at 3.30p.m

10. Maze / Long Kesh regeneration

Departmental officials Paul Priestly and Alan Maitland were questioned by the Committee on roles responsibilities for the regeneration, the regeneration proposals and alternative options, financing and implementing the development and on matters relating to the timetable for decisions on the Maze/Long Kesh development.

The meeting moved into Closed Session at 4.20 p.m.

Officials updated the Committee on progress in procuring a potential private sector development partner and on business plans for component parts of the Maze/Long Kesh Masterplan and the overall business case / economic appraisal. The Committee agreed to write to the First Minister and deputy First Minister seeking consultation on the business case before its consideration by the Executive.

11. Date of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 4 July 2007 at 2.00 p.m. in Room 144 Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 4.35.p.m.

Mr Danny Kennedy
Chairperson, Committee of the Centre

20 June 07 / Menu